It’s Monday and time for another edition of The Organized Classroom Blog’s Terrific Teaching Tools! This week, I am going to admit something: I am a bit of a pocket chart junkie. Whew! It feels better to have just said it out loud. In all honesty, I have loads of pocket charts, with most of them still sitting in nice packaging because I haven’t gotten around to using them for anything – YET.
I am not normally a hoarder. In fact, just watching that A&E Hoarders show gives me the willies. I immediately go clean something after watching it. It freaks me out – a lot! So, it is amusing to me that I have stashes of used and new pocket charts in every corner. Actually, I didn’t realize just how many pocket charts I had until quite recently. As most of you know, I have just moved into a new home, and as I was looking through my office boxes last night to start organizing, I kept finding pocket charts everywhere! Perhaps I should donate them to a teacher in need, but I don’t think I can part with my charts quite yet. (We all have weird quirks, right?)
As an ode to my pocket chart collection, I thought I would post some of the types I have and how I use them.
Lets begin with my most important pocket chart in my classroom: the calendar pocket chart. It is always the first thing I put up and the last I take down. I always get so excited to put it up in August, but I sure am happy to take it down in June. This picture shows a set of colorful numbers, but I have the cute kid ones from Carson-Dellosa. I have a different set for each month (you just CAN’T have fall leaves in January!), as well as a set of the holiday/birthday cards to slide on top of the day, if needed. BUT, as I was searching for a picture – these are super cute as well! (hmmmmm…)
The next type of pocket chart is the daily schedule pocket chart. After teaching third grade for about 3.2 days, I quickly figured out that while I knew what the daily schedule was, I quickly tired of hearing the students ask every minute of every day what we would be doing next. Now I save my voice and just point in the direction of my handy dandy pocket chart. Plus, the kids keep me on track if I happen to fall behind somewhere!
Just for the record, I don’t use the fancy time or activity cards that come with the set. I never have such nice schedules in my day. My times are usually whacky like reading 9:05-10:40 or Math from 11:25-11:45 and 12:25-12:50 (because lunch is stuck in the middle). So, I have found that simple colorful sentence strips cut up with my times and subjects seem to work just as well, and as easy to change when I inevitably am forced to change them three times in the first week as adjustments are made.
While I rarely use my counting pocket chart with older kids, when I taught first grade, it was used on a daily basis. I can’t imagine starting the day without counting our straws out and getting closer to that 100th day with every new bundle we created! I do use the equivalent fractions chart with my older math students at a center though. It is good for them to be able to reach the chart and manipulate the different pieces on their own.
Ok – now I feel as though I have to go through my boxes and get my pocket charts out again to check to see how else I can use them. Here is a fun picture library of some new products I haven’t seen before and some I have shown below. Maybe you will get some new ideas as well.
How do you use pocket charts in your classroom?