You are currently viewing Watch Us Soar Bulletin Board, the Perfect Way to Welcome Kid Back to School

Watch Us Soar Bulletin Board, the Perfect Way to Welcome Kid Back to School

Over the course of last school year, my good friend and coworker, Kristen, and I were slowly working on transforming some of our school’s bulletin boards into being more functional, meaningful, and eye-catching. Our school mascot is a Hawk, and after some thinking (and digging around on the trusty internet), we decided to make our very own Watch Us Soar bulletin board – a trendy image that has become popular in many cities and across many alley walls.

The Watch Us Soar bulletin board was a perfect fit for our school, and we loved the message that it sent. Kristen and I worked our butts off so that we could collaborate with all grade levels and staff at our school, and have the new Watch Us Soar bulletin board up and ready for families and students to take pictures in front of it for our school’s spring Parent/Teacher Conference!

It took a lot of work and collaboration, but I am happy and excited to share some of the details with you below, if you too are interested in making this type of bulletin board at your school! This summer, we were very excited to be featured in We Are Teacher’s post about Back To School Bulletin Boards (check us out, we’re number 22!). If you don’t want to check out that list, see our gorgeous bulletin board below that we created.

mATERIALS FOR THE wATCH uS sOAR bULLETIN bOARD:

  • Feather template
  • Colorful cardstock (we used at least one of these packs, and other packets that included variations of some colors – ie, a purple packet with different shades of purple, etc.)
  • Copy Machine, or a very diligent printer
  • Measuring tape
  • Time & lots of patience!

Watch Us Soar bulletin board STEP 1-STUDENT-MADE FEATHERS

First, you will need feathers. And a lot of them. Kristen and I broke down our student body based off of classes for the Primary kids, and homeroom for the Middle School kids (we are a PreK-8th grade school). We made sure that all of the students would have an opportunity to make a feather by teaming up with our school’s Art and Music teachers, who switch off seeing different classrooms halfway through the year. In doing this, we made sure that all of our bases were covered, and that all students would have the opportunity to make a feather!

Since we are the Hawks, and were going for a Wings design, we asked our older students to reflect on the message of: “What lifts you up?” or “What helps you soar?” For the younger students, we asked that they write and/or draw about their favorite part of school. Students could write their names on the feathers, but in all honesty, many of the feathers are going to be covered up in the layering process. We expressed that students have complete creative control over their feather. Some feathers had glitter, others had rainbows, some showed images of what they liked about school – all unique to each child. HAVING THE STUDENTS CUT OUT THE FEATHERS IS A HUGE ADVANTAGE!!

In some cases (our own preschool students), we just asked them to design the feather after we cut them into strips of 3, and then we cut out the feathers ourselves. But for every other grade level, the instructions we left the teachers were for the students to cut out the feathers themselves – saving us endless and needless amounts of cutting! Grab the feather template here!

step 2-staff-made feathers for the Watch Us Soar bulletin board

From start to finish, it took us about 2 and a half months to complete this bulletin board project. Our only deadline was that we wanted to have it up in time for spring’s Parent-Teacher conferences – which we miraculously did :D. Depending on your school situation, expect your board to take you some time to complete. We printed the feather template on cardstock, and checked out our school calendar – once every other month, teachers stay after school for an hourlong PD session. We spoke with our principal beforehand, who allowed us to use the 15-minute grace period before the PD started, as well as the first 5 minutes.

Prior to the meeting, we cut out enough feathers per table, left this note on each table for early arrivers, as well as markers, crayons, pencils, and scissors. Kristen created a brief PowerPoint presentation, where she shared what our ultimate vision was for the board, so that everyone knew what we were working towards. Staff were able to quietly work on their feathers while we attended our PD, and at the conclusion of the PD, they handed the feathers to Kristen and myself.

We also made sure to cut out feathers for members of our cafeteria staff, custodial staff, clerks, SPED team, security guards, counselors, admin, and more! We attached the note above to each feather, and asked that they turn them into our mailboxes when they were complete. We wanted everyone to have the opportunity to participate in our school project.

Step 3-Organizing the Watch Us Soar bulletin board

Now comes the more tenuous portion of the bulletin board.

Since we used so many different colors of cardstock (a little more than 20 colors total), we had to organize each of the feathers into the specific color category that they belonged to – regardless of the colors that the students used to color them. Of course, you can organize your feathers however you want – we just found it easier this way, so we had the same amount of colors in each section, and that way we could create a gradient “ombre” effect.

step 4-prepping the Watch Us Soar bulletin board

The bulletin board prior to us using it was in a bad way. We spent a night after school, pulling out old staples, tearing down the old paper, and prepping it for our new look. We used Fadeless paper that we bought at a local teacher supply store, trying to ensure that our board lasts as long as it can. We put up the new border, and it was ready to go. At home, I cut out the phrase that we had decided upon, as well as our school name, using the Cricut machine and A Perfect Blend’s fonts.

Step 5-creating the wings

Now that we have all of our feathers organized into piles, we measured our bulletin board space. We took those measurements, cut them in half, and approached our board. We wanted there to be enough space in the middle for a person to stand, and we needed that to be at the appropriate height. Our bulletin board was higher off of the ground than other boards, so we knew we wanted the wings to go as low as they could. With our new measurements written down, we had to now create the wings!

First, we cut off a large ream of black butcher paper. During our lunch, we were able to use an empty room in our school that had both a projector, laptop, and projector screen. We searched for wing shapes on Google that we liked – this one looks the most similar to the shape that we wanted. We displayed it on the projector, pulled the projector back as far as we needed it to be to measure it and make sure that it was the measurements we needed for our board. We then taped the black butcher paper up on the screen, and using a pencil, lightly traced the outline. Then we took that wing down, and did it again.

When we traced them, both wings were facing the same direction. For our purposes, we needed to flip one of the other wings around, so after we later cut it out, we turned it over. Both of our wings were then ready for feathers!

Step 6-laying out the feathers for the Watch Us Soar bulletin board

Now that we had two wings on black butcher paper, we had to lay them out. We picked a color flow that we wanted, and had all of our organized piles of feathers ready to go.

We continued to layer in the feathers, using glue to stick them down. Kristen was a complete pro at this, and had a good system going as she layered down each feather. Considering we had so many feathers (close to 1,000), we had to do some layering that would at times cut off part of a student’s picture or message. This was difficult to avoid, considering the space we had to fill.

step 7-hanging the wings for the Watch Us Soar bulletin board

We brought both wings into the hallway, where we had large tables waiting for us. Since we had already overhauled the bulletin board, it was ready for our wings. We used push pins, and a lot of back-and-forth observations to make sure our wings were in the right place. We centered the wings, and had a little bit of overlap in the purple area, which is where people would stand to take their pictures.

These wings were HEAVY. We were very liberal with the amount of push pins we used, tucking them behind the feathers so that they wouldn’t be too obvious or get in the way of the kids’ work. However, we didn’t want to take any chances that the bulk of the feather might be too much, so we made sure to use a lot of push pins.

step 8-watch us soar bulletin board complete

We beat our own plan, and had the bulletin board up a week before Parent-Teacher conference. Since the board sits a little bit higher off of the ground, we brought out a step stool so that smaller kids could stand on it. We also made a bilingual sign, encouraging families to take a picture in front of the board.

After each bulletin board that we do, Kristen and I like to be cheesy and take high five photos in front of them, celebrating our hard work!

final thoughts

At the end of the school year, we wrapped our bulletin boards with garbage bags that we cut open, and taped to the wall. Lots of construction and weather changing can definitely affect the board, and we wanted to preserve it as best as we can.

The Watch Us Soar bulletin board was a work of love, and we were so happy to display it at the entrance of our school! We’ve seen so many of our students clamber up the step stool to take a picture, and many of the older students taking time to stop by and read what their peers had to say. It’s eye-catching, a great conversation-starter, and was a special way for us to celebrate our school, students, and staff members. 🙂 I hope that this has been a helpful tutorial for you! If you make one of your own, we would LOVE to see what your final product looks like!

Thoughts, questions, comments? Feel free to leave them below! For more ideas, you can find preschool ideas HERE and primary ideas HERE

Thanks for checking out our first blog post!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Cora

    What is the font you used for the Watch us Soar Bulletin Board? Thank you

Leave a Reply