I’m just not crafty. Sure, I can design a website (hello there, gorgeous) and know my way around Photoshop, but hot glue guns and chevron fabric terrify me. My 7th grade home-ec circular pillow turned out to be an amoeba. On occasion, I’ve used duct tape to hang curtains. And every time I move, my sister visits right away so she can rearrange my furniture. (Annoyingly, her way is always better, but we’re talking about a woman who sewed her own beyond-beautiful wedding dress. Seriously. She sees things in a way I cannot.)

So when it’s time to decorate my classroom, I’m usually at a loss. I have a few stock posters and a ton of previous students’ work that I post along my back row of cabinets, but I wanted something fresh this fall. What to do? Turn to the Google machine, of course. Inspired by librarian Sarah Brown, I built Epic Opening Lines, a bulletin board creation that requires no crafty talents whatsoever.

I’ve taken great opening lines from 30 classic and contemporary novels to show kids how we can be hooked with just a sentence or two. Students know a few of the lines, but they’re also introduced to talented writers they don’t yet know. Who knows? One of these just might become someone’s next SSR grab.

Want to create a board of your own? It’s super-easy!

Stuff you’ll need:
This free PDF of print-and-go materials
Colored and white printer paper
Scissors
Tape
Stapler

Directions:
1. Print pages 2–31 of this PDF on brightly colored paper and fold at the marked seam.

stuff2
2. Print pages 32–39 on white paper and cut into quarters as marked.

3. Tape (or glue) the answer quarter-sheets inside the fold of each correlating quote sheet. I prefer tape because glue sticks tend to give up their sticky over time and, let’s face it, this display will probably remain posted quite a while before I have time to circle back around and redecorate.

stuff3
4. Staple to a cork wall (or tape to a standard wall) and enjoy. (Yes, I repurposed leftover pink-blue-green garland. Gotta use what you got, right?)

BulletinBoard.jpg

Also, don’t be shy to ask some student volunteers for help; they’ll likely be very happy to build this for you. Let’s delegate, people.

Hope your school year has launched nicely and that you’re close to memorizing all of those new names. Teach on, everyone!

Book/heart image used with permission: Vlastimil Koutecky, Flickr, CC2.0

Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. Love it! You should actually sell this as task cards – would make a great game, test review, trivia, exercise, etc!

    As for learning names……………..hmmmm………..maybe by the end of the school year….LOL!!!

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  2. Oh my, I just realized these are free! Me and my big mouth! LOL! Hope I didn’t spoil it for anyone!

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  3. Oh yeah, Carolyn, these are (and will remain) a freebie! Love that my non-crafty bulletin board inspired your creativity. Great ideas! 🙂

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  4. Yep, I’m creative but can’t use a pair of scissors to save my life! The artist in me only works mentally! Your bulletin board is brilliant – simple, colorful and brainy!

    Sounds great to me! 🙂

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  5. Thanks, Carolyn! You remind me of my all-honors, all-A.P. student last year who could NOT cut a straight line with scissors. “We all have different gifts,” I told her, gently taking the scissors and handing them to another student. 🙂

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  6. I love this! Do you think I can do this in a 7th grade class? I haven’t downloaded them just yet but I figure it would spark some curiosity right?

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  7. You are so generous, Laura. Thank you for making this bb so easy to do.

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  8. Sure, Jerry! I don’t see why not. Some of the actual books themselves would be way too high-level for your middle schoolers, but it might be a great conversation starter. I say, give it a go and see what happens. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My pleasure, Rho! 🙂

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  10. You’re back! Yay!
    Also, I just created a similar bulletin board using your “Write Like A Pro” techniques. I took the examples and put them up, and underneath, when kids found a good example in their SSR reading, they added it to the bulletin board! Easy and self-building. Hooray for participle phrases!

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  11. Yup, I’m back after taking a little time to catch my breath! Loving the idea of turning Write Like a Pro into an evolving list/bulletin board. Why didn’t I think of that!? 🙂

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  12. I want to be you when I grow up (even though I’m probably older than you). Your creativity is so inspiring, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that you share with all. I have to say: Of all the activities I do with my classes, they all enjoy yours the most.

    I’m glad you’re back! Call me selfish, but I missed your blogs. 😉

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  13. Ah, Michelle, thanks so much for note. It’s heartening to know these things are a good match for your kids. Success! And, yes, it’s good to be back. I can’t keep that breakneck pace of last spring anymore (seriously, three posts a week was c-c-crazy!), but I’m never too far away from the blog. Promise. 🙂

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  14. Thank you!!!

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high school English, Uncategorized

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