January Bulletin Board: “My Winter Break,” with magnets!

Since bulletin boards up till now have taken me a long time to put together, I’ve been looking for ways to both simplify them and make them more “interactive” at the same time. I found this page on Everything2.com (a site I know nothing about) where the author suggested using magnets to let students match captions to pictures, and I think it was a hit!

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Interactive bulletin board, with magnets!

To make the board, I printed and cut out 11 pictures from my winter vacation that summarized what I did during Christmas, and wrote corresponding captions to go with each picture. I feel like I tend to overdo the amount of English I use on my boards because there’s always so much information I want to share, but this time, I did my best to keep it simple enough for even the first year students to understand. (At my middle school, there are two English classrooms where 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-year students have their classes, so I have to consider all three levels.)

I got some adhesive magnet sheets from Daiso, and cut them into squares, putting one beneath each picture with pins, and one on the back of each index card (the magnets were adhesive).

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I’d gone to see the Nutcracker in San Francisco, and this was the entryway on the first floor.

Although the page where I got the idea recommended attaching paperclips to the backs of the cards to stick onto the magnets, I didn’t trust them to hold, and I went all-out and stuck magnets on the back of each card as well. I figured I could always rip off the cards from the magnets at the end of the month, and just glue new cards to the magnets the next time I want to use this idea.

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If there was a word that they maybe possibly wouldn’t understand, then I wrote it in Japanese underneath just in case. This made a couple of the cards really easy to match, because all you need is the subject, but I didn’t want the board to be hard at all–I just wanted students to notice the board and try.

Results:

I was happy when I glanced through the window of a class I wasn’t teaching that day before it started, and saw a group of students gathered around the bulletin board :) That always makes me happy.

I’d put up a card under one of the pictures as an example, and I was confused at first because when I came back to check on it later, that card had been returned back to the group of cards on the blackboard to the right. I think students were doing the activity and then returning the cards. Later on, someone finished matching them (in both classrooms) and left them all up, so I know someone was trying!

I consider this the second fully-interactive board I’ve been able to put together, after the Halloween one. It still took time to put together, but finding the ideas is half the battle, and it was much simpler than most of my other ones. Since you can put the magnets back, different students can have a chance to try matching the captions and pictures. I think it was fun for them!

F.M. Static, “Dear God”

4 thoughts on “January Bulletin Board: “My Winter Break,” with magnets!

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