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Dollar Store Bulletin Board Hacks

Like many teachers, I love a great bargain.  Dollar stores and discount stores are great ways to decorate and stock your classroom without breaking the bank.  Here are a few dollar store hacks for decorating your room and adding some pizzaz to your bulletin boards.

Many dollar stores already carry education supplies like flashcards, letters, charts and border.  They can help put up bulletin boards, class job charts and come in handy when creating folder activities or workstations.  Let's walk a litter farther through the store and see what we can find that may be a little out of the box.

Wrapping paper makes excellent bulletin board backgrounds.  Many are fadeless and instantly add color, texture and interest to your bulletin board displays.

Another great bulletin board background source is tablecloths.  Most dollar stores carry a variety of inexpensive plastic tablecloths.  Patterned tablecloths are great to use when decorating with a theme or color scheme.  My favorite is to use the birthday tablecloths and then add Music K-8's composer and musicians' birthday calendars

Of course, solid colored tablecloths provide a bright pop of color and don't fade like regular bulletin board paper if you are using it in a sunny area.  These flannel backed tablecloths are quite sturdy an you'll want to use a box cutter or scissors to trim the edges.  Be sure to look for a rectangular one to fill all of your bulletin board.
BONUS:  I use these to define areas on the floor for centers.  In this way, students keep all of their things in this area and it is a snap to clean up!

Pom poms are a great way to add texture and dimension to your bulletin boards.  Add one in each corner or staple them up close together to make a border for the entire board.  I like these pom poms because they are inexpensive, but they are a little frustrating to pull apart and fluff.  With a little patience, you'll have them ready to go in no time.

Letter stickers are an easy way to add a headline or captions to your bulletin board.  Here's how to keep them straight.  First adhere just the bottom to a ruler or yardstick.  Sticking just a quarter of an inch or so, make sure the letters and words are spaced how you want them to be on the bulletin board.  Press the yard stick to the bulletin board and press the top of the letter stickers to the bulletin board.  Gently roll the yardstick towards you so the letter stickers come off and then press them firmly to the bulletin board paper.  

I am a big fan of adding dimensional objects to bulletin boards.  I have tied them, stapled them, hot glued them, tacked them and once even added packing peanuts behind bulletin board pieces to make them stand out.  I look for objects that are easy to staple to the board like hats, flags, plates, balloons and pom poms.  Summer is a great time to find patriotic objects to use for your patriotic music or American composer bulletin boards.  I like THIS bulletin board that is simply lyrics to some popular patriotic songs that you may teach in your classroom.

I have an unusually large collection of paper plates in various sizes, shapes and colors.  I use them for movement activities for props when deciphering form and for bulletin board borders.  Yes!  They make the easiest and fastest border ever.  I start with a plate in each corner and add the other plates to fill in.  They are fast to take down and you can reuse them time and time again.

Just like paper plates, paper hats as a border are just fabulous.  They add extra interest and color. I've used a variety of hats and my students always love the displays.  In addition to dollar stores, I have found many great options at Oriental Trading and local party stores.

Occasionally I will post a bulletin board that is interactive.  When I do, I usually ask students, parents and teachers to color part of the board, leave a message, answer a question, etc...  With a couple of Command Hooks, this basket could hang near the board and hold markers or crayons.  FUN!

Poster board is a great way to create bulletin board pieces, letters or signs that you'll place on your bulletin boards.  For teachers on a cart, a piece of poster board could be turned into a bulletin board on the go.  You can evening use poster board to create a clever awning for your bulletin board.  Check it out here.

This is a weird one, but stay with me.  Playing cards make a creative border for your bulletin board.  Any order, number side up or back design up they are eye catching.  Try a title like "A Great New Year is in the Cards" or "Stacking the Deck for a Great Performance" and you've got a great bulletin board.

The last great dollar store find for bulletin board is tissue paper.  It makes a great background, but with a little bit of creativity you can make an even bigger statement.  Fold the tissue paper into paper fans and staple to the corners of your bulletin board.  Take individual pieces of tissue paper, crumple them and staple as a 3-D border.  Follow THIS tutorial and create beautiful flowers.

Looking for more dollar store hacks?  Check out these Dollar Store Deals for Music Teachers.

I hope you've been inspired to decorate your bulletin board with some of these tips.  PIN THIS for later!

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Friday Favorites: Pillows, Chickens and Music Stuff

Fridays are for favorites!  I hope you enjoy reading about some of my favorite things this week.

Customized Pillows - I use a reading center in almost every one of my center rotations.  I usually have some kind of rug, a few pillows, a funky lamp and books!  This year I made a few customized pillows with Vista Print.  I LOVE the way the turned out and they colors are bright and beautiful.  To create your own just upload a logo, graphic or picture.  You can put the same picture on both sides or mix it up a bit.  Don't purchase anything on Vista Print without a coupon.  There is always a coupon!

Squeezy Chickens -  Look what I found at Walmart this week!  They are cheaper than ones I have found on Amazon.   I love squeezy chickens and so do my students!  I use these as fun props in relay racing games.  On their feet I right a letter from the musical alphabet.  Then I create tiny rhythm cards or tags and tie them on to their necks.
Next, I lay them in a line at the front of the room.  If we are working on pitch names, I'll show a flashcard or pop one up on the screen that has one note on the staff.  When I say "go" a student from each team runs to the front and grabs the chicken with the correct letter and squeezes the chicken.  If we are working on rhythm, I clap one of the rhythms on the chicken then say go.  This is great for review and for times when you might have a few extra minutes.  My students ask for the game all the time!

We Shall Overcome - I learned this song in elementary school and a few years ago I added this beautifully illustrated book to my classroom library.  I think I am going to read/sing it to my classes this year.  I found a video on Youtube video of an elementary music teacher reading and singing this book that you might like to hear.  Click here for the video.  

Rainbow and Clouds Bulletin Board Border - I really have SO many sets of border that I don't need to buy any for another ten years, but they keep making the most beautiful sets so I keep buying.  This year I used it with a black and white scribble patterned border for my Have a Magical Time in Music bulletin board.  I think that next year I may use it to border my desk. It is created by Creative Teaching Press.  LOVING it!

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