Celebrate Our Differences! Jellybean Bulletin Board
I’m just going to admit right now that this has been one of the most fun and engaging bulletin boards that I have ever come up with. I’m so excited about how this turned out and excited that I was able to highlight and celebrate student diversity! I created this bulletin board for a specific concert BUT anyone could take the idea and make this a bulletin board about diversity, caring, differences, or a lot of other topics!
Here’s the backstory and reason for the bulletin board. I received the amazing opportunity to host a program called the “Jellybean Conspiracy.” Jellybean is non-profit organization that is billed as a “theater of kindness” and helps to teach kids about how to treat others and show respect to people who might look, act, or sound different. We put on a musical called “No Such Thing As Normal” which taught students about autism and how to relate to and respect kids who have autism and other special needs. One of their tag lines was “we’re all special and all have special needs.” Love it! The show was an amazing success and was so much fun for my kids!
I wanted something out in the hallway that would get ALL of my students excited about the upcoming show and get them thinking about jellybeans. So, I created this bulletin board to drive their interest and get them involved. The main idea was this phrase, “The World Would Be So Boring If Every Jellybean Were Exactly The Same.” I would explain this to my classes and would say, “Would you want a jellybean jar that was completely full of just red beans?” They would generally say, “NO! That’s too boring!” We would talk about how jellybeans were awesome because there were so many different kinds and flavors. Jellybeans are great because of their differences. With that background I headed to the copier!
Beans for Everyone! Color, Cut Out, Put on the Wall.
I copied these little smiling jellybeans and gave one to every student in the building. Each kid was told to color the bean in whatever way they wanted, cut it out, and return it to their teacher. I copied the beans 4 to a page for kiddos and 2 to a page for adults so that you could see a size difference (slightly larger) for the adults. I handed them out to teachers and sent a short email with instructions. Then they started flooding in. I was afraid that kids would make solid colored beans like the beans I had on my bulletin board. Instead I got an amazing array of beans in all colors, patterns, and styles. Some had googley eyes and glitter, some were patterned or striped, and some had extra arms, wings, or antenna. It was amazing. I’m including pictures below of a tiny fraction of the different beans here so that you can see the amazing responses that I got from kids. There were too many to show you ALL the cool ones.
I took all the beans and (with the help of a couple 4th graders) taped them all up on the wall surrounding the main bulletin board. It looks so amazingly cool and I still catch kids walking down the hall and stopping to stare at the variety and try to find their own bean. I usually put a class of little student beans near the larger “teacher” beans so that kids are able to find their bean if they want.
I used a couple of big pieces of foam board to create the hanging jellybean jars on either side of the bulletin board. All I did was trace out the outline of a jar, shade in the edges, and then cut out a “lid” to put on the top. I printed out some big jellybeans in the colors that I wanted and pasted them to each jar: one to represent a jar of beans that were all the same color and a jar to represent beans with lots of different colors. I tied string to two of the corners and suspended them on top of the bulletin board, anchoring them to the wall with 3m hooks. I did this so they would “pop” off the wall and give a 3d effect.
I loved this bulletin board so much that I bundled it up, tweaked a few little things, and made it into a bulletin board set for you to print and use if you want. It has honestly been one of the most interactive and wonderful hallway displays that I’ve tried out and I absolutely plan on using it again! Check out the bundle and click “Preview” to see more details about what is included.