Posts Tagged ‘Bulletin Board Ideas for K-5 Teachers’

A Show of Hands

March 11, 2013

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

In my corner of the world Daylight Savings Time has just begun, marking the near start of spring. I love the resulting longer hours of sun in the afternoon – more time to spend outdoors digging in dirt to plant flowers.

Kids and adults alike “dig” digging in every season, don’t you think? In the spring, we dig to plant vegetables as well as flowers; in the summer heat, there’s digging in sand; in the fall gardeners dig to plant bulbs for the next spring; winter snow makes for digging out, at least for many.

Digging with my hands yesterday got me thinking about the awesome tools that our hands are – all of our hands – adults and children in every nation.

Digging plants seeds and builds foundations, and those thoughts of hands at work made me remember a visit last fall with a special group of first graders.

Their HAND-i-work offers a cool attentionology trick that you can use too…

A Tree of Seasons Bulletin Board is a "show of hands!"

A Trees of Seasons Bulletin Board is a “show of hands!”


Look at the row of beautiful trees in my blog pic here and you’ll see a show of hands.

This is easy-to-make art work, perfect for students in early grades.

  • Start the activity by inviting your class to raise their hands high with their fingers spread wide apart.
  • Ask them to note how their hands look like the branches of a tree.
  • Pass out large sheets of construction paper and instruct the kids to place one hand towards the top of the sheet and trace around their hand with a crayon or marker. NOTE: The teacher whose bulletin board is shown above had the kids dip their hands in poster paint and print the treetops – another option for you.
  • Pass out brown paper and have students cut long tree trunks to glue below the handmade branches.
  • Invite kids to choose which season they want their trees to be in and give them art supplies that they can cut and glue to the branches to suit their chosen seasons.
  • Post the finished Trees of Seasons on a bulletin board with a header.
  • Optional: Use the “visual feast” as a prompt for a writing activity related to trees and/or seasons.


"Our hands are amazing tools! Let's make them dig."

“Our hands are amazing tools! Let’s make them dig.”

Look at the teacher in my blog pic here.

She’s engaging the class in an attention-getting  HANDS-on activity that helps kids explore the amazing tools that hands are.

The teacher and students are acting out the process of digging.

This activity is leading into a discussion about the many ways we use our hands.

Think of it! The curriculum connections between hands at work and subjects in elementary education are endless and wonderful.

"Let's sort through these books to find something special for each of you."

“Let’s sort through these books to find something special for each of you.”


Are there any hands busier than those of a teacher?

Look at the teacher in my blog pic here, helping her students find books in the school library.

Have you and your students ever talked about the power of hands?

Throughout history, strong hands have created communities, cared for people, animals and the land itself, carved spectacular works of art, crafted communication devices…the list goes on and on.

Teachers and parents know, too, that one of the best things that hands can do with arms extended is give hugs. No doubt about it…hugging always catches and keeps attention!

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting.

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet


EXTRA Attention-Getters

November 19, 2012

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Do your students sometimes race through their work like mine TRY to do?

I wrote the word TRY because I make a point to explain to kids in my writing classes that good writing, really good quality work of all kinds takes time…EXTRA time…that is to say EXTRA from a child’s perspective.

When children raise their hands after just five minutes of quiet, private writing time and call out, “I’m done!” I quickly reply, “When you think you’re done, you’ve only just begun.” I add this attention-getting command: “I want you all to take EXTRA time with your writing this week with me!”

Many teachers I’ve talked with agree that it’s important, especially in a competitive global marketplace, to help students learn to take the EXTRA time to produce the best results possible. Simply stated, “employers look for stand outs; demonstrating extra effort is one way to shine in a crowd.”

The need to instill this reality in children, beginning at a very young age, can place enormous pressure on kids (as well as teachers), as we all face growing challenges in the classroom.

I’ve had some success helping kids “buy in” to spending EXTRA time on their work using the following tools and tricks to catch and keep their attention.  I hope that the menu items below help you too. Each offers an opportunity for you to encourage your students to “go an EXTRA mile” with their work in school or at home…

“I’ve found a new important detail to add to my report.”

ADD EXTRA DETAILS – Send students back with their first drafts of non-fiction writing with a request that they do a little EXTRA research about their subject and add in EXTRA details to support and elaborate around the focus of their writing.

EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT! – Most elementary schools schedule library time each week. At the beginning of a school term, challenge your third, fourth or  fifth grade class to read more than one book about a single topic during that term. Ask your school librarian (one is shown in my blog pic below)

“Class, this book is about Alaska, one of the places you’ll be learning about in Social Studies this term.”

to support this plan.

Post a Bulletin Board with the header, Extra, Extra, Read All About It! Write subjects your class will be studying on individual cards and post them on the bulletin board. For example, you could write Planets or Weather as Science subjects and Multiplication as a Math subject.

Invite students to choose a card and borrow more than one book about that subject to read during the term. Request a written summary of each book. Consider offering EXTRA credit for EXTRA reading.

Challenging students to explore a subject in more than surface detail sends an important message…EXTRA work gets EXTRA attention!

MISSION POSSIBLE – Offer another opportunity for students to earn EXTRA credit by writing Study Challenge Cards, one for each student. Make up the challenges based on your curriculum and the class’ ability levels. Slip the cards into color-coded envelopes; for example, white for

Make a Mission Possible Extra Credit Assignment Box or Grab Bag.

fairly easy, yellow for moderately difficult, and green for difficult.

Drop the envelopes into a box, like you see in my blog pic here, or into a bag.

Invite students to take an envelope, accept “the mission” and get the work done.

NOTE: This blog pic shows a box titled Fun Zone Answers because the teacher that made this box decided to challenge her fifth grade class to figure out the questions that match the answers they picked…another attention-getter for EXTRA class work.

THE BIG E IS FOR MORE THAN ENERGY! – You may have read my blog posts about showing “The Big E”

“The Big E is for more than Energy; it also stands for EXTRA EFFORT!”

to remind kids that you need to see them using energy to get good work done in school.

Hold up a giant letter E, like you see me doing in my blog pic here, and tell the class that The Big E stands for more than Energy; it’s also The Big E for EXTRA EFFORT!

I love attentionology tools with multiple uses; don’t you!

WHO’S GETTING AN EXTRA EFFORT AWARD? – A local television station offers a weekly Extra Effort Award to a high school senior in the viewing area that holds an exemplary record in sports and academics.

Consider offering an Extra Effort Award to a deserving student at a designated time such as the end of a school term or before a holiday break.

Awards send a message…extra effort gets noticed and rewarded. Other concepts for Extra Attention-Getter activities to consider:

  • extra special helpers
  • extra thanks at holiday time or other special times
  • extra treats for hard-working kids

Focus some extra attention on UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY – NOVEMBER 20 – According to event promoter, Association for Childhood Education International™ (ACEI), Universal Children’s Day is observed as a day of activity devoted to promoting ideals and objectives related to the welfare of all children of the world.

Sponsored by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), this year’s campaign is Love Me, Teach Me. Google UNICEF or ACEI to find ways that you and your class can participate in a global conversation about children.

Children around the world benefit from love and education! Join UNICEF’s Love Me, Teach Me campaign.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Talk with you again soon,

BarbaraThe Lovable Poet