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How do I create a digital 6-Traits bulletin board?

november 17, 2020

For years, Smekens Education has been advocating for teachers to kick off their introduction to the Six Traits of Writing with a bulletin board that grows and evolves as the school year progresses. What starts with simple labels for each trait grows to include trait icons, images of mentor texts used to introduce the traits, and eventually trait-based skills that are taught during writer’s workshop.

This strategy has worked in the traditional, in-person classroom for teachers across the K-12 spectrum. But now that so many educators are teaching remotely, the Six-Traits bulletin board can function in the virtual world as well.

Using Jamboard, a free app from Google, teachers can create their own digital bulletin boards that function just like the traditional bulletin board. With Jamboard’s online whiteboard tools, it’s easy to replicate the same content that would have been posted in the traditional classroom.

Here’s the process:

  1. Create a new Jamboard document and label it “Six Traits of Writing” or some other label of your choice.
  2. As you introduce each trait, upload and place the corresponding Six-Traits Icon Poster onto your Jamboard. (If you’ve already introduced the traits, add all six posters.)
  3. If you use picture books to introduce the traits to students, place an image of the book cover on the Jamboard next to the matching trait icon poster. This helps to create a visual trigger to help students remember what makes each trait unique.
  4. As you teach specific writing skills during whole-class mini-lessons, add those skills to the Jamboard using a digital “sticky note.” Label the skill on the sticky note and then place it next to the corresponding trait poster. (If you have already taught several writing skills, add those sticky-note skills to your digital bulletin board to show the progress already made.)

After each digital update to your digital Six-Traits bulletin board, be sure to share it with students. This tool is most relevant for students when they are working independently. (NOTE: Make your sharing settings as “view only” so that students don’t inadvertently change your Jamboard content.)

To access a free empty template, click here and then go to “file” and “save as” to create your own copy. If you want to see a mocked-up version of a bulletin board that’s already in progress, check out our example.

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Jada Gilleylen
Jada Gilleylen
2 years ago

Thanks so much for the idea! I was creating a Bitmoji classroom for my digital bulletin boards, but this is so much easier (for my students & myself). It’s an added plus that Jamboards are my JAM!!!

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