Author: Guest Writer

“Bulletin Board Brenda” Strikes Again

Halloween Bulletin Board

Here is another spectacular bulletin board idea from Brenda. This one is great for Halloween. I love how Brenda used lime polka dot border trim to make the traditional Halloween colors stand out.

Halloween Bulletin Board Close Up

And look closely. Caught in the web are the students’ spiders with numeral 8’s for bodies, and of course, 8 legs.  The jack-o-lanterns and the corn are student-made as well. Plenty of opportunities her for skills practice in math, science, following directions, eye-hand coordination, and cutting and pasting.

Brenda used Lime Mini Polka Dots Scalloped Border Trim and Halloween Scalloped Border Trim to complete this look.

“Bulletin Board Brenda” Has Been Busy!

Fall Bulletin Board
Fall Bulletin Board

Need some ideas for a Fall bulletin board?  Take a look.  I sent my pre-k teacher friend Brenda an assortment of decorative items and within 2 weeks, I had a treasure trove of ideas to share with you.  She just can’t stop—does she sleep?  Her classroom is amazing and the halls around it are, too!  And the best part is, she incorporates the students’ work into her boards.  Each one is a collaborative project.  Here is the first of many!

Fall Owls
Adorable Owls

Don’t you just love those adorable owls?  And so simple for little ones to make!  She lets the kids pull off a handful of fiberfill or quilt batting for the owl body.  Then she put a dab of glue where the eyes, nose and talons go and they glue it on.  The eyes are circles with a black hole punch dot.  The nose is a small triangle and the talons are almost crescent shaped.  Then, they read the book, Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, which is a great book if you have never read it.  Oh, and she made the word FALL using silk leaves!  So creative.

Along with the fiberfil and silk flowers, Brenda completed the project using our Halloween Border Trim and our Seasonal Tree Bulletin Board Display.

Incentives for Good Behavior and Staying On Task for Middle School Students

As children grow older, we often assume that small rewards won’t suffice, especially during the middle school years. Contrary to that belief, however, middle school-aged kids sill love being rewarded for their ability to behave and stay on task—although the type of rewards change just a bit. What follows is a list of some incentives that middle school teachers can use to encourage these behavioral expectations.

Board Games

Using some down time after instruction and assignments have been completed can be a wonderful incentive to keep students behaving and on task. Whether you choose to use educational board games linked to your curriculum or other strategic games, the skills used and educational value are quite beneficial to students’ cognitive and reasoning abilities. Playing quality games to develop skills is a great use of time for students of all ages.

Structured Computer Time

Computer time is something students will always work for, regardless of what they are allowed to do once they log on. Put together a list of appropriate sites that are relevant to your particular content area that includes informational sites as well as sites that feature curriculum-based games. This is one treat they will certainly look forward to if they have been on their best behavior and completed all of their work.

Library Passes

Once the work is done, allow students to visit the school library. When they are allowed to change the scenery for even a few minutes to get a new book to read, students will appreciate the respite. Encouraging them to read or browse the library is beneficial to students in many ways and keeps them going back outside of structured class library visits. Make sure this reward is okay with your school librarian and work out the details ahead of time.

Alternate Seating Choices

Middle schoolers like to be able to move about from time to time, as any middle school teacher will tell you. That said, allow well-behaved students to find their own place to sit during silent reading time or journaling. Whether it’s on the floor, a special couch in your classroom, or a simple area rug, your students will appreciate being able to change things up from time to time. As long as they stay on task, it doesn’t really matter where or how they sit as long as it’s safe.

This post was contributed by Courtney Phillips, who writes about the online BA degree. She welcomes your feedback at CourtneyPhillips80 at