Digital Bulletin Boards: 16 Ideas for Library Content

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This post about Digital Library Bulletin Boards was originally published in 2015. Back then, I called them “Scrolling PowerPoints.” I know the sample slides are outdated, and they definitely do not look like the slides I would use now. But the concept is awesome and quite popular in my library! I’ve even had visitors and school administrators comment on how much they enjoy the boards.

If you like this idea but don’t have time to create slides, I’ve got a free 20-slide presentation to get you started. This one is for the first week of school and is themed for Back to School specifically. Give it a try in your library!

The following post was originally published on May 16, 2015:

I play these scrolling PowerPoints–also called Digital Bulletin Boards–throughout the school day when I am not using the equipment to teach a lesson. Slides can be booktalks, quotations, trivia questions, reminders, school/library announcements, etc. You can have as few as 5-6 slides or over a hundred slides. My record number of slides is 116 slides, which took 33 minutes to scroll!

Digital Bulletin Board slide reminding students to prevent spills in the library

WHAT YOU NEED

  • TV or computer projector with screen
  • Computer that can be hooked to the TV or projector. This can be a screen dedicated specifically to the Digital Bulletin Board, or it can just scroll as your classes checkout.
  • The computer or laptop needs to have the ability to play PowerPoint slides.
  • Slides! As many as you want to make!

I included some of my slides below to give you some ideas.

Digital Bulletin Board slide of what I was reading when I wrote this post

HOW I DO IT

The first thing I do every morning when I get to school is set up my Digital Bulletin Board for the day. I keep the PowerPoint presentation on a USB stick so I can easily transfer the new PowerPoint onto my presentation laptop. I keep the file (called “Daily”) on the desktop of the presentation laptop. When I load the new presentation, which is slightly different every day, I just replace the previous one. This also keeps an extra copy of my presentation in case–gasp–something horrible should happen to my USB stick.

The second thing I do each day is set up my circulation computer. Along with opening up Destiny for circulation, I open my Digital Bulletin Board so it’s ready for any new slides I may want to add. During the day, if I notice an outdated slide (such as “This Week in History” from three weeks ago), I already have the presentation open on my circulation computer. It just takes a second to delete the old slide.

Throughout the day, I try to add at least a couple of new slides. It doesn’t always happen, but some days, I am able to add five or ten new slides.

Slides can also be from my library lessons. For example, I recently did a lesson and booktalk on the Fantasy genre. Our library is genre-fied, and I split Fantasy into multiple smaller genres (light fantasy, high fantasy, paranormal, mythology, and horror). Since I used PowerPoint for that presentation, it was easy to copy some of the slides and add them into my Digital Bulletin Board. This also helps reinforce the characteristics of the genres I taught that day.

Digital Bulletin Board slide of Maberry's horror novel Rot and Ruin

WHAT TO PUT ON THE SLIDES? HERE ARE 16 IDEAS…

Yes, I know creating so many Digital Bulletin Board slides is time-consuming. You don’t have to start with a whole lot of Slides though. The first day I did this, I had maybe 8 slides. They scrolled all day, and the students saw them over and over and over. But the next day, there were a couple of new slides. Then more the next day. Before long, I had loads of slides! Over the course of a few months, I had added more slides than I had removed. Some ideas for things to include in your presentation:

1. Booktalks

I include the book’s front cover image and a quotation or the first line. I also put the call number of the book underneath the cover image.

2. Quotations

These can be from inspirational leaders, authors, or characters in books.

3. Funny cartoons

Find these online or–even better–publish your students’ work!

4. Trivia questions

There are lots of daily trivia websites out there for kids and teens! I put the question on one slide, then have the answer come up 2-3 slides later. This gives the students a chance to think about their answers and encourages them to watch the slides in between.

5. This Week in History

You could do “This Day in History,” but it will need to be changed frequently. I also have a couple of “This Month in History” that need even less-frequent changes.

6. Word of the Day or Week

A new, interesting vocabulary word for your students to learn. You never know when they will encounter the word again in a book or on a test!

7. Facts

Students love wild, wacky, and interesting facts! Animal facts are always a hit, as are facts about astronomy, extreme weather, sports, dinosaurs, food, the ocean, and how things work in other countries. You can even do sets of facts that go together. For example, for Earth Day one year, I created 10 slides for each of the ten most endangered animals in the world.

8. Caught ya reading! photographs

Take photos of students reading in the library and around school. Please be sure to permission from the students before using their photos in your Digital Bulletin Boards. For some of them, this could be quite embarrassing.

9. Other photos from around the library

This could be pictures of students playing Checkers at lunch, from your morning book club, or students making silly faces. Again, please get permission from any people in your photographs first.

10. Friendly library reminders

I allow my students to have drinks in the library. Spills mostly aren’t a huge problem, though they do sometimes happen. For this reason, I have a slide reminding them to “Keep a cap on your drink in the library!” along with a photo of a water spill on the library carpet. Other slides are things like “How many books do you have checked out? Now is a great time to check your account!” or “Don’t know where a book is? Check the Destiny search stations on the circulation desk!”

11. Current events

Many students do not read the news or know much at all about world events. Help them out by sharing some of the bigger headlines of the week.

12. School announcements

“Picture Day is this Friday” along with one of those “Worst Yearbook Photos” I’ve seen all over Facebook lately. Or, “Congratulations to our Wildcat Football team on their 36-12 win over the Meadowside Badgers. Go Cats!” Include a photo from the game or a pep rally.

13. Jokes

Really, who doesn’t love a good joke? As with the trivia slides, put the joke question on one slide, then share the answer a few slides later. This will give students a chance to think about their answer and formulate a guess.

14. Logic problems

These will need to be simple questions that do not require students to stare at the slide for a long time. Find some examples of what I mean here and here.

15. Genre or Author Spotlights

Highlight your library collection! Give some characteristics of the “genre of the month” or information about the “author of the week.” Add some slides to booktalk some books in the Spotlight.

16. Staff Spotlights

Do your students know the name of your school’s custodians? How about the school counselor? The cafeteria staff? Recognize these important staff members on a slide in the library! How great will it be for the students to start saying hello to the crossing guard or the school secretary as they walk by?

 

BACKGROUND MUSIC

YouTube is full of instrumental music compilations. Behind my Digital Bulletin Board, I play classical instrumental music from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Lizst, Tchaikovsky all day long. You can sort by >20 minutes and find many playlists that last for two hours or more. Look for instrumental movie music such as The Lord of the Rings, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Disney instrumentals, and Braveheart. Watch for audio ads though–they can sometimes be inappropriate for school (beer ads, for example) or simply just a lot louder than the music.

OTHER TIPS:

Change your slides often. I cannot emphasize this enough. Some slides can stay indefinitely (booktalks, reminders about drinks having caps on them), but others will need to be deleted after a certain period of time. A current event from two months ago is no longer “current” and should be changed out for another newsworthy event. “This Week in History” should actually be THIS WEEK. If you don’t want to change it that frequently, make it “This Month in History.”

Time your slides. My slides automatically advance after 20 seconds.

Make your slides colorful and visually appealing. Include at least one large image and colorful text.

Look for images with high-resolution. You don’t want blurry, pixelated images on your presentation. If you use Google images, you can click on Search Tools and sort by size (select Large or Extra Large for the highest resolution).

Let your students and teachers create slides and send them to you via email. I just started this at my school, but I’ve already had one slide submitted from an 8th grade girl. When introducing it, we talked about what made a slide good/interesting versus boring/not interesting. We talked about color and image quality and large text size. I will be doing this with multiple classes over the next couple of weeks, so we will see how it goes.

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Do you use Digital Bulletin Boards in your classroom or library?

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