Category Archives: Bulletin Board

January Rearrangement: Resetting Your Classroom for the 2nd Half of the School Year

By Zemen Marrugi, M.Ed.


January is a great time of the year for teachers, school administrators and parents. It is a time to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate what has worked and what needs to be revised to move the students closer to proficiency.   For starters, the teachers have just come out of a two week holiday break, a much needed vacation that rejuvenated our faith in making a difference in our students’ lives. Let’s be honest. By mid November, our exhaustion made us question why we chose such a tiring profession.  However, the holiday break does a great job reminding us that we love being in the classroom.  Here are my top five tips on how to rearrange your classroom for the second half of the school year.

#1 Time to reorganize

Although we are in the middle of the winter season and the idea of spring cleaning seems like a lifetime away (especially for my fellow Michiganders), but it is time to clean the classroom. Let us rearrange the glue bins, take down old posters, and get rid of all of the extra scrap paper that we know our students are not going to use by June.  Allocate classroom jobs that give the students the opportunity to help keep the place spick and span from organizing the bookshelves to throwing out broken crayons.  Also, this might be a good time to rearrange the students’ teams based on updated test scores and putting down new name tags since the ones you used to label desks and cubbies back in August are probably all torn. You would be amazed on how excited students get by seeing their names on new nametags. Remember, a dirty classroom is not a kid problem-it is an adult problem so teach the students to keep their learning environment clean.

#2 Update classroom supply list

Send out an updated supply list to all the parents and guardians in your classroom. This is a great time to send out a classroom newsletter, notifying all of the parents and guardians on what type of supplies their child will need for the remainder of the school year. Encourage students to save their old notebooks and to use them as their personal reference material when completing homework and studying.

#3 Reevaluate parent communication outlets

While you are sending the updated classroom supply list, you need to also think about what method of communication has worked with this year’s parents.  Every classroom is different so the same communication that worked last year might not necessarily be the best way to send out important notices to parents this year.  Whether it is by email, notes home, voicemail, or newsletter, keep track of what has worked and what has not so that you are being efficient and effective. Also, if you have not already done so, make sure you keep track of all the communication you have with the parents in your parent communication log.

#4 Update class data

By now, you have a great idea of where each student is performing and chances are, your school is probably going to participate in some type of a midyear assessment. Use the updated data to drive your instruction.  Dig deep in the scores and figure out exactly where most of your students are struggling academically.  For example, look at your math data. If your students scored low in measurement, then figure out exactly what part of measurement do most of them not understand. Are they having a hard time telling time? Or possibly, they are struggling with converting units from ounces to gallons or feet to inches?  The more you understand their deficiencies, the more you will be able to help them grow because you will teach them what they have yet to master.

#5 Time to have those serious conversations

Reviewing the data will give you the opportunity to differentiate instruction so that everything you teach is intentional. However, if you have a couple of students that continue to struggle despite all interventions, then you need to have some serious conversations with the parents and perhaps the RTI team. Sometimes, a pair of eye glasses is the missing key to solving a student’s academic needs since they are not able to see the board clearly. Perhaps, they are staying up late watching too much television without their parents’ permission and that is why they keep falling asleep in class. Or maybe, they are having a hard time staying focused and regardless of who is sitting next to them, they continue to be distracting and repeatedly blurt out during instruction. Whatever the case may be, you need to have these important conversations with their parents especially if it retaining to retention. It is never too early to have these important conversations with parents and the more updated they are about their child’s education, the more supportive they will be in the long run.

In August, we get so excited about putting up new bulletin boards, sending the first supply list and contacting our students for the first time. However, by November, teachers, like everyone else, become overwhelmed with their personal lives preparing for the holiday season that we get burned out. Take this time to reenergize your spirits about closing the achievement gap and remember that regardless of how stressful it may be at times, your work in the classroom is appreciated.

About Zemen Marrugi

Zemen Marrugi is the Founder/President of Those Who Can, Teach! and an experienced teacher and national presenter.  Marrugi has worked as a classroom teacher and has presented workshops on topics like differentiated instruction and the writing process.  In addition to working with elementary/middle school teachers, Marrugi has also presented workshops for college activities personnel at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Association for Student Advancement and the National Association for Campus Activities.  Click here for more information on Zemen Marrugi.

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lesson Plans and Bulletin Board

This is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Quiz Bulletin Board I created in front of my class. Students were encouraged to text their knowledge of the content we had learned all week.

This is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Quiz Bulletin Board I created in front of my class. Students were encouraged to text their knowledge of the content we had learned all week.

By Zemen Marrugi, M.Ed.

This week, we will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As a classroom teacher, I am always passionate to speak about Dr. King’s past and of his contribution to the Civil Rights Movment because he not only paved way for African Americans, but stood as a wonderful example of peace and brotherhood amongst all American.  I put together this lesson plan for my sixth graders and I think the rest of you might enjoy. Feel free to use the information below and my bulletin board design to teach our young people of the significant role Dr. King played to making our great nation what it is today.

Approximate Length of Time: 50-70 minutes

Students will be able to understand the important role Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had on the Civil Rights Movement and why he is still celebrated as one of the most influential people in American history.

1. Students will be able to reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
2. Students will be able to identify why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life mission for peace and equality is celebrated today.

MLK Lesson Plans by Zemen Marrugi martin luther king jr
Book: Martin’s Big Words, The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By Doreen Rappaport
Movie: The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306
The Witness Quiz
Construction paper
Bulletin Board Boarder
Colored envelopes
Favorite MLK Photos
Favorite MLK Quote
Glue Sticks

Anticipatory Set/Hook:
A great way to start this lesson would be to dress up as MLK and begin reciting the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Ask questions like who was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? What role did he play in the Civil Rights movement? Why was the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech so significant?

1) Hook the students’ attention by performing the ‘I have a dream’ speech to them.
2) Read the book Martin’s Big Words, the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport.
3) Watch the movie, The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306 and discuss the role MLK played in the Civil Rights Movement.
4) Give the students an opportunity to complete The Witness quiz.
5) Set up the MLK Quiz Bulletin Board and encourage students to quiz their knowledge.

Why is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remembered today as an important figure of the Civil Rights Movement? What can we do to commemorate the life of MLK?

1) Encourage the students to take the MLK quiz on the bulletin board.
2) Assign the students to complete the Witness worksheet after watching movie, The Witness.

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Filed under Bulletin Board, Classroom Teachers, Education, Politics, Social Studies, Teaching, Uncategorized

Science Bulletin Boards

By Zemen Marrugi, M. Ed.

As a classroom teacher, I am always interested in creatively displaying my students’ work. Here are three different types of Science bulletin board I created for my classroom that you may find helpful to use in your classroom. Remember, productive bulletin boards catch the students’ attention with a colorful and original layout, engages them in the content and proudly affirms their individual work.

I designed this bulletin board to creatively display a cross-curriculum assignment I had my students work on in Reading and Science.

I painted this full wall display in the hallway because I wanted all of the students in the grade level to predict what our next unit was going to be about in Science. Needless to say, they were not only on point with the predictions, but also very enthusiastic about the content we were going to learn.

I made this bulletin board at the beginning of an ecosystem unit. The display was a great way to remind the students the important role photosynthesis played in the environment.


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Classroom Bulletin Boards

This sentence express bulletin board creatively displayed our student work.

By Zemen Marrugi, M.Ed.

As you prepare your classroom for the new academic year, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding your classroom bulletin boards.

Front of the Classroom Bulletin Boards

The bulletin boards in the front of the room need to contain information that will be changed or updated on a consistent basis. The information on these boards will be frequently viewed by the student so you want them to be fresh and relevant to the current curriculum. In the past, the front bulletin boards in the front of my classrooms have been covered with word walls, parts of speech and even  concept/question (Open Court).

Middle of the Classroom/Side Walls Bulletin Boards

The bulletin boards that are on the side of the classroom can display poster boards that contain information regarding the content that is being taught during that specific month. These bulletin boards should be updated once a month. The side bulletin boards can also display a data board that displays target academic scores or at grade level proficiency expectation.

Back of the Classroom Bulletin Boards

The bulletin boards on the back of the classroom can display great examples of student work or an Effort Creates Ability concept that displays student work that has demonstrated great amount of improvement over a certain period of time.  You can also display a current news bulletin board here and give students the opportunity to bring in news clippings of material that is discussed in the classroom.

Outside the Classroom Bulletin Boards

Make the decor on these bulletin boards more seasonal and creative so that it not only grabs the attention of your students, but for every other student, teacher, parent and visitor that walks through that hallway. Artistically display student work on these bulletin boards, while providing formative feedback on how they can improve their work.

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