I am an occupational therapist (OT) that travels between five buildings. It can be really challenging to decorate my rooms like homeroom teachers do. However, when you have a “happy place” that feels like your own, it can definitely reduce stress. See an example of what my rooms look like in my room tour blog! I am going to discuss 3 types of bulletin boards that I typically have in my rooms. Let’s face it, you probably have more than one board to fill! I hope this blog gives you some ideas on how you can make your own bulletin boards that achieve the following:
- Easy to make
- Work year-round
- Reusable from year to year
- Can be utilized in therapy sessions
Visual Perceptual Skills Bulletin Boards
It always helps me to “take on” the project of doing a bulletin board if I know that it will be used! OTs often work on visual perceptual skills during therapy sessions. This includes things like seeing things in a busy back ground [visual figure ground], picking out the differences between visuals [helps with things like b/d reversals], noticing where things are in relation to one another, etc. So activities that incorporate these skills or other similar ones [like scanning] serve as great OT treatment activities! These are some of my bulletin board ideas:!
- I Spy
- Word Search
- Maze [I have one on our sensory path, not bulletin board]
- Where’s Waldo [or where’s the OT?]
- Spot the Difference
Student Work Bulletin Board
As OTs, we are often working on cute crafts with our students since they target so many skills! Rather than coming up with your own original idea, and crafting everything on your own, why not use your students’ work as a bulletin board! Not only will your student be so proud that their work is displayed, but you will always have something new with which to update your board! Simply Special Ed crafts are a great way to do this! It is since because they come in monthly themes [see October for an example], so you can easily swap them out each month! Starting this month, I plan to pick out a “star student” craft each week for the 4 weeks of the month [each with a different craft]. Then, by the end of the month, I will have all the crafts on display! This would be a great to send out to parents in a monthly newsletter/update as well! Get a sample visual craft here for FREE!
Daily Encouragement Bulletin Board
You may have seen in my in my room tour blog that I mentioned how I keep notes of encouragement that I have gotten my students, principals, colleagues, etc. above my desk for encouragement. I think our kiddos need that kind of encouragement too! You can never go wrong with an “affirmation station” bulletin board, or something with a generic encouraging message that everyone could benefit from hearing more than once! I’ve had students pick an affirmation to add to a wall each session [sometimes having them write their own to address handwriting goals]. I laminate all of the pieces of these daily encouragement boards and rotate them between my schools each year. That way, the same students aren’t always looking at the same boards, but I don’t need to keep making new ones! Sometimes I try to tie them into the school theme/mascot and/or PBIS, however, I always make them generalizable so that I can still rotate them between schools!
If you need more ideas for bulletin board, check out Whitney’s blog with hacks for special education bulletin boards! Remember to always work smarter, not harder to make your spaces feel comfortable and functional for your students!