Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Anchor Charts

Anchor carts.  Where do I even begin? When we began Writers and Readers Workshop all those years ago, I don't think I realized the extent to which my teaching day would revolve around Anchor Charts.  I have come to love and appreciate their use and existence in my everyday routines.  I love how students can give input to create the charts and reference the charts when necessary.  Over the years, I have had to come up with a procedure for how long to keep charts and when to take them down.  I have also gone through those rough stages of charts becoming like white noise.  The students no longer see or use them!

2 years ago, I was fortunate enough to participate in a Professional Development about the book Smarter Charts by Marjorie Martinelli and Kristine Mraz.

I loved the way this PD forced me to really think about what the purpose for my charts were.  I was always so worried about my drawing and my handwriting.  But I learned that the focus always needed to be about the students and their needs.  They didn't need to be perfect, just thoughtful.  

Fast forward to this summer.  I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a summer intensive  workshop with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  It was amazing!!  If you ever have the opportunity to attend one, I highly recommend it!  The project works hand in hand with the Smarter Charts book and I learned about Chart Chums, the blog of the writers of the book.  It is such an amazing resource.  I also fell deeply in love with the Large Post it Notes that are encouraged to be used on anchor charts.  

As I explained in my previous post, I am embarking on a new spanish/english immersion program.  As you are well aware, it is vitally important to have students give input and help create anchor charts.  As this year began, I realized I was running into a slight issue.  I began one chart with my blue class and then began a second chart with my green class.  I was going through chart paper like crazy! I discovered that I could use the Post it Notes to my benefit. I could create them ahead of time and put them up as the current class and I made the chart.  Then at the end of the day, I could take them off and use them again tomorrow with the class that came the next day.  After the chart was completed, I could hang the one chart on the wall that both classes created.  I have saved a huge amount of chart paper!!

I take a picture of the anchor charts and put them in my students' Readers/Writers Notebooks.  This way they can reference the chart if needed.  It also allows for me to not worry about taking the charts down.  If they need to reference a chart that has been taken down, they can look in their notebooks.  I also use the picture that I take, in a plastic sleeve.  Once the chart comes down, I can place the post it notes in the plastic sleeve and save for next year.  I keep all of the plastic sleeves in a 3 ring binder.

I love how the charts help me to work smarter and not harder.  It helps simplify the process of anchor charts and helps my classroom run so much smoother! Not to mention, the post it notes helps make the charts so cheerful and colorful.  Here are a few of the charts my classes and I have made so far this year:

Happy Charting!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Number Words

It's Sunday!  Does your brain work extra hard on Sundays like mine?  I try so hard to take care of school things on Friday afternoons and some Saturday mornings and spend the rest of my weekends relaxing.  But something happens on Sundays.  I begin thinking about the upcoming week and everything that I haven't gotten done!!!

I am embarking on a new adventure this year.  I am teaching in a 50/50 Spanish/English immersion program.  I am paired with a wonderful teacher from Chile and we have a class of 24 and a class of 23 students that we share.  We teach identical days, me in English and her in Spanish, and our kids flip flop back and forth between the two of us.  So each day I have a different class than the day before.  When all is said and done, I will have taught each class for 90 days in English.

This week we were working on representing numbers in standard form, expanded form, base ten blocks, and number words.  WOAH!  I found myself at a loss when it came to the number word form.  I am unsure if it is that my students are bilingual, or just a rough year, but I found myself needing number words for my wall that covered numbers to 999.  By no means are these fancy, but they cover all numbers in standard form and number word form from:


I printed them, mounted them on colorful card stock, laminated them, and hung them on my wall.  I am hoping they will be a huge help and resource to my students as they learn how to spell these number words. Click on the picture below to pick up your own free copy!

Happy Sunday!