The greatest benefit of posting learning objectives is to increase student engagement! Post learning standards to create a VISUAL focus that students can refer to throughout a unit. Post learning goals to give your students access to the curriculum so they can take ownership of their learning. It becomes possible for your students to become aware of their progress and set personal goals for themselves. Post learning scales so that YOU have a VISUAL reminder to implement teaching strategies such as: reviewing concepts, making connections, or quickly differentiating a task. Leveled learning scales help you and your students gain and maintain a sense of orientation. I post proficiency scales with examples to show students what each level means, and give them daily opportunities to demonstrate mastery. Let’s see some examples!

Growth Mindset is a huge theme in elementary and middle school classrooms. Luckily there are already tons of ideas to create attractive bulletin boards in your classroom. Some of my favorites theme ideas come from Pinterest. Things to think about when creating a perfect back-to-school bulletin board:

Tips for an Effective Bulletin Board

  1. The theme should last at least one half of the year. (Who has time to be changing decor?)
  2. The Heading should be encouraging; quotes or phrases related to growth.
  3. There should be ample room for proficiency scales posters AND student work examples.
  4. The posters and work should be easy to switch out every 6-9 weeks. You want examples long enough to reinforce the standard, but not so long that students lose interest.
  5. The bulletin board should be interactive! If kids aren’t reading it or adding to it, it will be lifeless.

Let’s make your Bulletin Board Eye-Catching!

Here are some cute bulletin board headings you can copy. These banners were made in You can also make them on your computer or using a Cricut, which might be one of the most fun teacher tools ever!

Interactive Bulletin Board Content

Once you have a cute theme and Heading, you’re ready to fill it up! Don;t worry, you won’t be filling it yourself. The simplest thing to do is to print your Proficiency Scales for the standards you want to emphasize first quarter. (Some standards really last all year, so choose your core content!) Then decide how you will have students engage in the empty space. Here’s a few ideas…

  • Introduce one standard at a time. Divide students into teams to think of examples for level of the standard. (You might also assign kids if you know they’re higher or lower.)
  • Give your students a simple pre-test such as a writing or problem sample. Sort student responses by level and post to the board. Invite students to explain why each sample matches a specific level of mastery.
  • Give your students sticky notes and ask them to look for 1-2 examples of the levels during the class lesson. Give them a reminder every 10 minutes or so to stop and find one. Then collect the sticky notes and post them next to each standard level.
  • Peer Review – Give students small post-its or stickers and initial each person in their discussion group, including themselves. After the discussion, students rate each other’s participation (see Speaking & Listening Scale #1) according to their level. Fun and informative!

These ideas may work better or worse for you depending on the age and disposition of your students. As a rule, I usually do not post level 1 work, and definitely not with students names on the front. I don’t want to embarrass students who are actually trying, but just offer some useful examples to guide their progress.

Thank you to Jodi Hansen and Tressa D M. who reviewed…

5th Grade Math Marzano Proficiency Scale Posters for Differentiation – Editable

“What a timesaver! It helped my students understand as we transitioned to standards based grading.”- August 2023

“You must know how much I love this resource! I now have the ELA and Math for the 3 grades in my room! Thanks, too for your timely, thoughtful response to my inquiry about my 3rd grade posters!”
5th grade Learning Goals and Scale for 5NF1 Image with 4 levels of learning goals for this standard.

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