Grow a plants bulletin board! It’s easy. First, purchase baggies with flaps and bean seeds. Second, staple a series of baggies to your board. Then add a few seeds with damp paper towel to one baggie daily. Your students (and colleagues) will be astonished!
Ms. Sneed Wants a Plants Bulletin Board
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, wanted to add some wow to her science displays. Earlier she had tried bulletin boards using trade books, clip art, and interactive elements. Now she was considering a living, growing board for her plant unit.
“Have any of you ever grown seeds on your classroom wall?” Ms. Sneed asked her teacher friends at lunch one day.
Mrs. Abdullah looked up from her soup. “Unfortunately, the seeds we taped to our classroom window shriveled then died.”
“We put sunflower seeds in Ziploc baggies, but they molded,” added Mrs. Cordova.
Ms. Sneed looked thoughtful. “That’s actually helpful,” she said. “It sounds like conditions on the window are too extreme. Additionally, zipper bags don’t allow enough circulation.”
Ms. Sneed Creates a Plants Bulletin Board
That evening, Ms. Sneed headed to the grocery store. She found dried bean seeds in the soup aisle. A few rows down, she added a package of sandwich bags with flaps instead of zippers. Then a little farther down she found a roll of absorbent paper towels.
The next day, she stapled 12 baggies to her black bulletin board. Then she folded paper towels in fourths and slid them inside. Next, she labeled each baggie. Beginning in the upper left, she wrote Day 1, Day 2, etc.
Finally, she was ready to germinate the first set of seeds. She moistened the paper towel in the baggie at the lower right. Then she placed three beans in front of it.
Just then, the bell rang. As usual, Ms. Sneed’s students noticed something new right away. They hurried to the plants bulletin board right away. Questions fired away:
- What’s this?
- Will these seeds really grow?
- What kind are they?
- Can we keep them until the end of the year?
Ms. Sneed broke into one of her famous teacher smiles. Yep, this would be fun.
The Seeds Grow
As time went on, plants (and excitement) grew in the classroom. Every morning, the students raced to the display to observe the changes. Ms. Sneed noticed increased engagement in the plant activities she planned for her students.
Key Factors in a Growing Plants Bulletin Board
During this time, Mrs. Cordova visited Ms. Sneed’s classroom. “Hey!” she exclaimed. “How did you get those seeds to grow so well?” She hurried over to the bulletin board and checked it out.
“I found that a few key factors make this display effective,” responded Ms. Sneed. “First, you need to buy baggies with flaps like this.” She pulled out the box and handed one to her friend. “The top of the baggie must be stapled so it’s slightly open to allow air to circulate. Otherwise, the seeds will rot.”
“Second, the paper towel needs to be sopping wet but not dripping. That allows the seeds to germination. After the first few days, you need to keep it damp, but not with standing water. I use this small film canister and an eye dropper to water them.” She pointed to a shelf near her desk.
“Third, the baggies must be stapled to a bulletin board. Unfortunately, baggies taped to a window can get too hot or cold. Here, let me give you a set of directions. I typed them up so I would remember what to do next year.
“Remember to start in the lower right-hand corner of your bulletin board. That way, the youngest plants will be at the top of the board.”
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.