Bulletin board ideas got you down? I’m that teacher. You know, the one. I plan everything for back to school before the year ends so I can fully enjoy my summer vacation. This year was no exception. As the 4th marking period was coming to a close, I kept pondering bulletin board ideas until I had the perfect plans: I used one of my drawing games to create a hot air balloon display in my hallway. These games are great because they make drawing for kids so much fun. This particular game is great for both the beginning and end of the school year because it involves minimal prep and materials!
Practice Makes Perfect
Students are given a game board which has columns and rows with different designs or decorations on them. They roll the dice to pick up all the elements they’ll need to create their hot air balloon.
Now, some kids will want to cheat. Honestly, when a student in my class, who I know has limited skills does this, I don’t flinch. And by “limited” I mean, they have special needs that make it difficult for them to perform at the same ability level as others. Sometimes I will go around and quickly recommend certain shapes on the page for them. But that’s in more rare circumstance. I like for every child to feel like they have the same shot at doing well so I try not to interfere.
When they begin practice drawing, I position myself at the front of the room by my Elmo/enoboard. I will call out if anyone has a particularly difficult shape and then we problem-solve how to tackle it. I demonstrate for those students while others continue drawing. Then I move on to the next difficult shape and work with whoever is tackling that one, and so on. I never want my students to feel like I’m giving them this hard task and I’m over at my desk painting my fingernails, making a shopping list, or texting all my BFFs (as if!)
Designing the Hot Air Balloon
Once they’re finished practicing, they draw and cut out two balloons on white paper and fold them to make sections. Each design will be drawn on a different section with the backside of one of the two balloons left empty. It’s the back. No one will see it!
For this next part, regular ol’ markers are fine. I prefer to use the thick markers wherever possible. But if all you have are thin ones, that’s fine, too. I tell them to take their time and outline all the shapes they drew. They can also outline the negative spaces (think: the inside of a doughnut) in a different color for fun. If they want the background area to be anything but while, they’ll have to outline that, too. Yes, this takes much longer. But in the end, they look great like that.
Color the World
Here’s where the magic begins. Give every student a small cup of water. Don’t be cheap and give them a dinky little short cup. Kids like to put their brush in the water; if the cup is too short, the brush will hang out and likely fall. Ask an art teacher how she knows!
They will then use the brush to paint in the shapes they outlined. Yes, I said, “paint!” The marker acts like paint. They can use the brush to push around the “paint,” too. Trust me when I tell you how bright and wide your student’s eyes will be once they realize how simple and fun it is. They love the idea that they can “paint” with markers. It’ll change their life. The key is the barely wet the brush. If it’s too wet, the paper will buckle. That’s fancy art teacher talk for bend and look all wavy. It looks like frizzy hair in a heat wave. No one wants that.
Then they can cut out a simple basket shape from construction paper and prepare two pieces of yarn of a similar length. Next, assemble and glue all the pieces. Just make sure your students flip up the inside balloon section so it pops out and has that 3D effect. If you find you can’t get that effect from regular white glue, go the hot glue route. A couple dabs just to keep it in place will do, if need be.
Your student’s balloons are ready for display!
Bulletin Board Ideas
I teach Art so I went with, “Soar Into Art This Fall!” as theme. But you can come up with other bulletin board ideas to match these balloons such as, “Whiz Into Fourth Grade” or “Flying Into Fifth Grade!”
If you’re short on time, students can pair up with one another to create one balloon. Breaking up the work will divide the time immensely.
Hot air balloons are a lot of fun to design but are even more exciting when designed using the element of chance. Check out my “Hot Air Balloon” roll-a-dice game to add that extra dash of excitement to your next art project. It comes complete with a game board and step-by-step picture instructions that illustrate every part of the process. Leave it with a substitute teacher and no worries.
Bulletin board ideas don’t have to be so hard to come by!