How to Make a Display Board for Classroom Activities

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Find a Frame

Find a frame and remove the back. Websterlearning

The first step of creating this board is to find a suitable frame.  I got the frame pictured above for $1.82 at the Salvation Army Store in Henderson, Nevada (and they discount for teachers!)
I went for something snazzy:  you might find a more distressed frame somewhere that could use some gold spray paint.  A sculpted frame could be under-painted with bright colors before spray painting it with gold paint.

Once you have found your frame, you will want to remove the back and the glass.  If the backing is strong enough to carry the fabric, you will want to flip the art over, as in this case the matting was securely attached to the art.  I like Van Gogh as well as the next person, but this faded print was one of the reasons for the good price. You will need pliers and a screwdriver to remove the back. 

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Wrap Your Back Board with Felt or Tempo Loop

Mounting the fabric and finishing the board. Websterlearning

You can wrap the fabric around the back board, or as I did, cut the fabric to size.  I attached my Tempo Loop with spray adhesive.  Tempo Loop is a Velcro product made to hold the hooked part of the two part closure.  You will mount your pictures or words for your activity with the hooked part of the closure. 

You can use a staple gun, as I did, or glazier's points to reattach the back board.  The depth of the felt or tempo loop will take up the space left by the glass. 

You may also mount a banner (the pdf is attached) with hot glue, as I did to mine. The point is to make it an attractive item that will have value attached to it, in a way the will reinforce participation, much as the magic finger pointer does.

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Using the Finished Board

Use the finished story board. Websterlearning

The central purpose of the Story Board is to give your students opportunities to participate in story telling, or to respond to stories. Rhymes and songs are ways in which we teach language to small children, but children with disabilities, especially children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, or developmental delays (often the same thing) are not attending to this sort of interaction as infants. They don't make eye contact and won't play patty cakes, so they have missed out on these important function. At the same time, I find children on the spectrum love music and like to have opportunities to choose and place a picture, both because it engages them and because it has some "social capital" for them-it makes them the center of attention during a preferred group activity. 

There are basically two ways to use the board: to take off and to put on. 

Take Off:

  • When you read a story or lead an activity, you can put a card up on the board with the positive part of the hook and loop attachment on the card, and prepare to have students pull the pictures or words as you ask for them or use them. Examples:
  • Tell a "Math Story" and have students give you the math sentence that answers the math story, i.e. "John has three blue marbles and six red marbles. How many marbles does John have altogether?" 3 + 6 = 9.
  • Read a story and have the students pull pictures as you read to encourage good listening: Read "Three Billy Goats Gruff" and have the students pull each Billy-goat as they appear in the story.
  • Tell or read a story that asks children to identify the tools that go with a task. "John made a big hole in the yard. What did John need?" Have pictures of tools, like a shovel, hammer, screw driver, etc.

Put On

In activities that involve putting on, you ask students to listen to a song or a story and ask students to put something on the board as the item, number or letter appears in the song or story. You can hand out the pictures before you begin the activity once children know what the picture depicts (Teach first, us the activity for review.)

Some examples: 

  • Songs that involve lists or counting: This Old Man, The First Day of Christmas, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, etc. Hand out the pictures and have the student holding the card place it on the story board.
  • Stories with hook and loop story figures: There are a number of story kits with characters or parts of the story available for purchase. They recommend using a glove, but you could have the students pick up the pictures and place them on the story board.
  • Counting and Math Activities: Give students a number or math fact and have them order the parts on your story board.

There are lots of things you can do with your board as you move it around the room to support instruction! I'm sure that any practitioner will have lots of ideas.