Thursday, October 17, 2013

Clustering and Color-Coding Charts

One of the most important lessons I teach my students is to be resourceful human beings. "Don't just sit there when you are stuck...look around the room!" (Of course, my language with the kids is more positive - something along the lines of "Use the charts to help you!")

Early in the year, I teach students where to look around the room when they need help. As you can see in the pictures, I like to cluster the charts by subject (writing, reading, math).  This way, they know exactly where to look when they need to refresh their memories on a skill or strategy that was previously taught. As a rule of thumb, I have no more than three charts per subject.  No more than three because I don't want to overwhelm them.

You would be amazed at how many children actually utilize the charts throughout the day.  How much more would they use the charts if they are clustered and color-coded? When I see a child pointing to a chart, telling his or her partner, "look! We can add feelings and dialogue to our stories to spice up our writing!" that is my proudest teacher moment.  Talk about building independent learners!

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