Color Me Impressed

As I prepared my room for the new school year back in August, I did a lot of thinking about the hallway bulletin board that is under my control. I hate doing bulletin boards, generally speaking. A joke I often make is that I chose to teach high school in order to avoid having to create bulletin board displays. Then a Facebook ad crossed my feed (clearly big tech is reading my mind now 😀) about buying (for a lot of money) bulletin board-sized color sheets.

One way, or another, I’m gonna find ya

Hmmm. While I didn’t want to spend over $60, I was intrigued. I discussed my idea for the bulletin board with a colleague, and she suggested I find color sheets online or from a book (I actually have some adult or more complex coloring books), scan or download the pages I want, then email them to the secretary to print on the poster printer in the office, so I did. The secretary was intrigued with my idea also, so she helped me refine my choices for the first three that would be on the board. When selecting the color sheets, it is important to make sure that any material from online sources is free to use and not copyrighted or restricted, so I searched carefully.

This picture was taken right after set up. I adjusted it a bit later to even out the spacing and height alignment.

I’m gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya

I envisioned a fun design, a tiger-related one (the school mascot is a tiger), and then a whimsical one. I did my best on the search, sent them to the secretary, and asked her nicely to print 3 vertical large poster-sized color sheets which I evenly-ish spaced on the board. And just like that, hallway magic was born. Well, it took a hot minute for students to realize that the bulletin board message, “Color Me,” actually meant they could color on it. A few staff members were also intrigued, and they wanted to color on it as well. It was decided, however, that the honor for the first coloring should go to the students, so we watched and waited then rejoiced when the first tiny piece of one of my chosen three was colored during the first week of school.

This picture was taken during the second week of school. The tiger was the first to get colored.

One way, or another, I’m gonna win ya

There are a few negatives to consider when putting up an interactive bulletin board display like this one. Be prepared for the possibility that some student will draw or write something inappropriate on it. That hasn’t happened yet on mine, but when it does, I have my black Sharpie ready. Another drawback is that students are sneaking in a coloring moment on the way to or from the bathrooms during instructional time, and they could take too long when coloring during passing periods, causing them to be tardy to class. We have a lot of students stay after school for various clubs and tutoring, so I have noticed that the bulk of coloring is done during that time. So far I have not experienced any negatives, but I am aware and prepared for them. Those possible negatives did not prevent me from trying this. As George Couros, learner, author, keynote speaker reminds us,

I’m gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya

So prepare but push forward with ideas for interactive bulletin boards. To have an impact, the content needs to stay fresh or people in general, students in this case, stop looking at it. The idea for a coloring bulletin board is to allow students to relax and enjoy creating something fun and beautiful that can be enjoyed by many. Coloring is a fun way to de-stress for a few minutes, and that positive should definitely be so loud that the negatives are all but silent. I believe the best surprise from creating this type of bulletin board is how many teachers and paraprofessionals have been coloring here and there also. That is an impact that goes beyond my original idea, though the company advertising for bulletin board-sized coloring sheets did show their product in offices and hospitals too, so I should not have been surprised when a teacher confessed to coloring a tiny part, or when a para told me she had brought in more colored pencils so that she could have options when she colored on it.

This picture was taken during the 6th week of school.

One way, or another, I’m gonna see ya

As interactive bulletin boards go, this is a winner. Once a color sheet is finished, I will laminate it and hang it in the hallway. Low prep with a high yield is something that I am always looking for and embracing when I find it, and when I find it, I share it. Already tried this? Great! Tag me on Twitter at @SteinbrinkLaura and share out your Color Me board.

Section headings are partial lyrics from One Way Or Another by Blondie.

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