Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Importance of CHARTS

My 2011-2012 Writing Center.  The shelves below housed a variety of paper choices.  The green folders you see are the students' writing folders, organized by writing groups. 

Reading groups- I have greater things in mind for this display next year!  My classroom doesn't have any bulletin boards.  Instead, I have wall to wall chalkboards, and they're not even magnetic!  The first, most time consuming, part of my classroom set up is taping bulletin board paper over every board.  My reading groups change quite often, so I use velcro over laminated sheets of paper.  My group names for that year were animals.  As you can see, the first letter of each animal group correlates with the F&P reading level of each student.  Students on the left side of the picture have just begun reading at this level.  Students on the left are close to reaching the next level up.

Since all of my students speak Spanish at home, they can never have too many models of proper English sentences.  An ESL support teacher suggested I add examples of sentence structure that the students could relate to by putting pictures of the class in action with sentences describing the picture.  My kids loved seeing themselves all over the windows!  This year I will use the same idea but in a time-line so it looks more organized. 

This chart was a great visual for my students to refer to when comparing numbers.  I used it with the song "Number Eating Alligator," found on youtube. 

There's nothing too exciting about this chart, but it serves a purpose.  It helps students become fluent in recognizing numbers in other forms.  When playing math games, I expected my students to know the numbers on a die without counting the dots.

I copied the idea from this chart from my colleague, Alison.

This chart comes from Pinterest!

I had several blend and digraph charts that rotated throughout the year.  The charts my students referred to the most were sh, th, wh, and ch.

I LOVE this chart, which helped me decide where to start during writing conferences.  I've seen many versions of this chart on Pinterest.  Following a writing conference, students would put their name next to the goal they were supposed to focus on until our next conference.

I believe the idea for this chart came from Cara Carroll!

Another chart idea from Cara Carroll.

An example of how I display my charts on a clothesline. 
I made this poster on snapfish, featuring a photo of each student in my fourth grade class.  Although it was not educational, I loved how it looked on my classroom door!

This quote, above my fifth grade chalkboard, comes from a speech to students that Obama gave on the first day of school. 


With so many beautiful charts circulating the Internet, it’s easy to get carried away!  It is important, however, to keep in mind WHY we post charts in our classrooms.  Our charts should serve as teaching partners.  They should guide, inform, and inspire our students.  If they are not used in our instruction and referred to when reviewing key ideas, they will not serve this purpose, and instead become a distraction to our students.  I have found that the most child-friendly charts are teacher made.  When children contribute to the charts, they are even more effective.  Sometimes I will spend hours on a chart, and students will never refer to it!  As hard as it can be, I try to take a classroom environment walk each month and pull down any charts I have not seen my students actively using.  Although they are not the most visually appealing charts I have created, this post includes some of the charts that ended up being used most often in my classroom.  My word wall, however, was referred to more than any chart in the room.  Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of this before tearing down my room!  Other charts they referenced quite often listed transitional words, color words, and holidays. 


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  2. I am happy that I found your post while searching for informative posts in which there is description about Importance of CHARTS.

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