Monday, August 13, 2012

Do or Die(cut)

The Ellison Die Cut Machine has been a staple in elementary schools for decades. It's not my favorite school supply to use though - I'll save that award for the trusty laminator. The die cut machine so effortlessly cuts through stacks of construction paper requires the strength of an Olympic weightlifting champion to finally obtain your finished product - whether it's a catchy bulletin board title or pumpkins for the upcoming classroom Halloween party. And sometimes, it doesn't even cut all the way through the paper! Do you want to know something that does cut through the paper? The Cricut machine! I think I'll be using mine a lot more this year - more on that in a future post. 

We do have a pretty nifty Golden Gate Bridge die cut though. Maybe I'll make use of it this year. And I always end up using the hearts around Valentine's Day and the shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day. 

But I'm not here to talk about the Ellison. I am writing about the way I create bulletin boards now - sans old fashioned die cut machine. I searched my photo albums to find a picture of the bulletin board above my reading center my first year of teaching. Look at those letters...and the fish...and the sand dollars! I quickly learned that making these letters took a long time. It could take nearly an hour to make ONE bulletin board. My time is valuable and I didn't want to waste it on the die cut machine any longer. 

So - I decided to start TYPING the text for my bulletin boards. What a really simple solution! I cannot begin to tell you the amount of time it has saved me. Another perk? With the die cut machine, you only have a handful of fonts from which to choose. With your computer - the possibilities are seemingly endless. And you can change the font size too - small or large - it's up to you! (My graphic design friends will be happy to hear I've never used Comic Sans for a bulletin board. Well, okay, maybe once before I knew better...)

Here is the process you can use to create bulletin boards within minutes: 

1) Choose the font of your choice and type your desired text. 2) Print and cut out the words. 3) Glue the words to colored paper of your choice. 4) Cut out the words and staple to your bulletin board. 

This bulletin board is hanging above my reading center. Students have the option to sit on pillows or a beach chair while they enjoy their books. 

Here are some bulletin boards that were hanging in my classroom last year:

I have five bulletin boards and plenty of wall space to decorate in my classroom. Typing the text I want has saved me (and my teacher's aide) hours of work!

ABCs & 123s,