The holidays are a great time to go nuts with decorating, including in the classroom. That being said, this is my first year of teaching and I had no idea how to make a good English board so I spent HOURS wandering around on Pinterest. So many white middle aged moms….so many….also what is the obsession with making decorations out of toilet paper rolls??
ANYWAY. For Christmas I didn’t really do a board. Instead I made a Christmas tree and invited the kids to help me decorate it throughout the month. The teachers were super helpful when I explained what I wanted and the kids actually got really into it. The tree turned out beautifully! The tree is all just paper chains taped to the wall with a huge printed out bow on top. I also included some really simple Christmas-y vocab with pictures.
After the semester ended, I had some time to sit around the staff room and pretend to be busy before my actual break started. So I made a Happy New Year/wintery board. This is my first actually put together board (yes, that does mean I did basically nothing with my board from August to December. Hush) anyway, I’m really happy with how it turned out. Even if it did take forever. 2019 will be the Year of the Boar, so I tried to throw in some cute boars where I could. The teachers in the staff room were amazed at my snowflake-making-prowess like it was some secret art form. I didn’t want to ruin it by saying I was actually just folding up paper and cutting random holes in it.
I’ve found that the best way to get kids involved in a board is to include pictures of things that are interesting or funny to them, which is why I have the anime and video game characters talking about what they like about winter. I also have a picture of me with the prefecture’s mascot so we can say things on the board too. I usually include katakana with English vocab words, as most of my students still really struggle with reading romaji. This way they still get a little familiar with the idea of the word. Someday I hope to have more interactive elements, but with my students’ interest and participation in boards thus far I think that may still be a long way off….