Each month I choose a picture book for my students to review. As each student reads the book, they move their picture below the “Thumbs Up” sign or below the “Thumbs Down” sign according to their personal evaluation of the book. I also use a separate basket to hold the multiple copies of the chosen book so that students can easily acquire the book when copies become available. It is fun for students to observe the display throughout the month as they keep track of their classmates’ votes for thumbs up or thumbs down.
Book Recommendation Boards
Students suggest books for their classmates to read by posting their favorite books on our book recommendation board. When students want to recommend a book to a specific person they think would enjoy the book, they use the Peer Recommendation board. I find that these boards generate excitement about books in my classroom and help to strengthen my reading community.
“Thick Question” Bulletin Board
When students are involved in reading partnerships, they must write "thick questions" to bring to their meetings. To help students practice writing thick questions, I also include them in my daily read-aloud. Each day after I read a chapter aloud from a class novel, I invite my students to write a thick question on an index card and add it to the card holder on our "Thick Questions" bulletin board. I pick one thick question to ask the class before I begin reading from the novel the following day and lead a brief class discussion.
Who’s That Baby?
At the beginning of the year, I ask all students to bring in a baby picture of themselves. I create a bulletin board that features all of the baby pictures with a number next to each picture. Students spend a week studying the pictures before trying to match their classmates with the correct baby picture. This is fun for students and helps build community at the beginning of the school year.
Since my class studies the regions of the United States, we play a Mystery Photo game each week. I print out a picture on photo paper of a certain landmark in a city we will visit and cut it into puzzle pieces. Each day, I add a new piece of the puzzle and a new clue. On Friday, students guess the identity of the Mystery Photo.