Monday, August 6, 2012

Interactive Small Group Anchor Charts

It may not be a very exciting title, but I am very excited with what I've created and even more excited to share with you!  In September, I will be working with small groups in other teachers' classrooms.  It got me thinking about how different each room will be.  Will they have up the anchor charts I might need?  What if I want to refer to a specific anchor chart that may not be up in the classroom, but is needed for my small group?  I needed some way to have anchor charts available to me at any time that were geared specifically to the needs of my basic skills students.  They needed to be portable as I am in different classes throughout the day, yet they needed to be large enough to display for my friends.  On top of all that, I wanted them to be interactive in some way.  Not asking much, huh?!

Here is where I came up with interactive small group anchor charts.  I created this with the idea that I would be taking them from class to class, but I think they are perfect to have for homeroom teachers to use with small groups as well.   So, here they are.  Not too exciting at first glance, but just wait.  The magic lies within!

You don't get more portable than a file, so that's were I began.  I started by making one of the anchor charts I use at the beginning of the year.  Open it up, and there it is!  This was totally inspired by The First Grade Parade blog.  She does a much better job with the pencil that I do!
 On the left side of each folder, I put a smaller version of the anchor chart I would normally use on large chart paper in class.  Normally, I like to create anchor charts with my students but I have limited time in each class this year.  So, I'm pre-making (is that even a word?) anchor charts for reading and writing that hit the key points I want to reinforce.

On the right side, I wanted something that would be interactive.  For this chart, I can have my small group brainstorm some ideas about writing topics on sticky notes and put them on the right side.

After making the "What do writer's write?" small group anchor chart, I began to make one for schema.
As I was working with my Crayolas and markers, I realized there was an easier way.  In my anchor chart binder, I had pictures of many of the anchor charts I used last year.  I just printed out the picture of the anchor chart on schema that was in the binder and glued it in the file folder.  HUGE time saver!
I still wanted the interactive aspect, so on the right side I printed out a page that I will use to brainstorm our schema on whatever topic we are working with.  My friends can put their sticky notes right on the page.  Since I'm printing out the pages and gluing them in, I would have preferred to use colored file folders.  I think it would look better, but I have a million manila folders to use up.

So, what if you don't have an anchor chart binder to fall back on?  I don't have anchor charts pictures saved for everything I need, but the web is a wonderful thing!  There are a million charts out there to use.  I found this anchor chart about visualizing on Pinterest and loved it.  It is from the blog Second Grade with Mrs. Wade.
Again, wanting the interactive aspect, I made the picture on the right.  For practice, I'm planning to read my friends a short passage and have them do a quick sketch on a sticky of what they visualized.

All the pictures show the file folders lying flat on the table, but in using them I will STAND THEM UP!  Standing up, it's large enough for everyone seated at a small group table to see and refer to.  It's like having a mini chart stand on the table.  At the end of the lesson, I can just close the folder, stick it back in my bag, and move on to the next class.

What I like about the file folder aspect is that I can still use it as a folder.  If I have any type of hand out or teaching materials I want to use with the lesson, they are easily paper clipped and stored in the folder.  Not only do I have an anchor chart at my fingertips, I have the papers I need as well.  Also, I'm planning to put a piece of card stock in a clear page protector and keep it in the folder.  It's possible I may need to use the same anchor chart with different groups on the same day.  When I am done working with one group, I can just take their sticky notes and put them on the plastic page protector. Then, it's ready to use for the second group. The next day, if I need to use it again, I can just quickly stick them back on.

UPDATE:  (8/8/11) - As I have been working on these, I've debated if I was going to laminate them or not.  Then, I realized it was a no-brainer.  Of course, laminate them!  Up until now, the interactive sections I created have been based on using sticky notes that I could remove.  If the charts are laminated, the interactive part can now be written on with dry or wet erase markers.  Now, the interactive part could have activities that have the kids draw a line from one thing to another, circle the word that . . . , or anything else you wanted to do.  The only drawback using them that way is that if you need to use the chart with another group on the same day, you will lose the work of the original group.  But, that would just be the day you use sticky notes instead.   And, thanks so much for all the positive feedback on this idea!  I love hearing from you!

I should note, that I don't think it is a problem to borrow anchor charts made by others as long as it is for  your classroom use.  I do note on the back of the folder the web site I borrowed the chart from in case I need to share it with another teacher.  I am a believer that we don't need to reinvent the wheel if it's not necessary.  I have no problem with people using the charts I post on my blog.  Feel free to take and tweak or not tweak!  If I do post the work of someone else, I am sure to give credit and link to the amazing authors.
So, what do you think?  
Could this idea work for you?

32 comments:

  1. Very cool! What a great idea.

    I hope you will like your new position!

    Lindsay
    My Life as a Third Grade Teacher

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  2. I love this idea. Thanks for sharing.

    Katrina
    Teacherofscholars.blogspot.com

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  3. What a great idea!!!!! I'm stealing it for sure.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Andi

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  4. This is completely brilliant! I love that you have the premade anchor charts, plus the interactive component. Pinning this idea so I don't forget once school starts. You rock!

    Amanda
    The Teaching Thief

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  5. Love this idea and will totally incorporate it into my Friday literacy stations. The mini anchor charts will work great to present a new strategy at my "teacher table". I think it will also work as station for paired students to review a previously taught skill. I teach reading in middle school, but I have gotten so many great ideas from your blog. I know you are a great teacher because you explain things in such an engaging way, thanks!!

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  6. I LOVE this!!!!! Thank you for sharing! It could work with any small group, in my opinion! I'm ready to start making these for myself - I teach 4 reading small groups every day. I love the sticky note part as I am a sticky note nut! :)

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  7. This is brilliant! I never have enough space on my walls, and this will be perfect! You are wonderful, and thanks for sharing!!!

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  8. This is a great idea. What a great way to reteach/reintroduce topics throughout the year.

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  9. FABULOUS!! I will be working in other teachers' classrooms also and this is PERFECT!

    Jana
    Thinking Out Loud

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  10. This is a wonderful idea! I don't have much wall space so these would be great!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Love this idea! Your idea gave ME an idea, but I wanted to share it with the inspirational (you). Wouldn't a plate stand make a perfect tabletop easel? Thank you for always being so willing to share.

    R.

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  12. Oh my goodness... This is perfect. Thanks for sharing :)

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  13. Clever. Clever. Clever. I just found your blog - ♥ Pinterest. I too teach fifth grade so I intend to check in often. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful ideas! ~NANCY (Yep, another thing we have in common is a name)

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  14. Love these! What a great idea! I also teach 5th grade (in California). If you get a chance stop by my new blog Lattes & Laughter

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  15. I love this idea. How wonderful for small groups. Can't wait to see more ideas

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  16. I am new to teaching fourth grade this year. I have found anchor charts to be very helpful for my students yet finding ones to use very time consuming. I LOVE the idea of creating a binder of file folder reminders for future years as well as making them into interactive boards for guided reading or individual centers! Thanks for sharing! Now to just find anchor charts to recreate....:)

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  17. OMG- Brilliance! I love love love this idea and it is an immediate to do from now on. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  18. Wow, this is amazing for small group work. I love it!

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  19. What a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I am new to 5th grade, having taught K-3 for many years, most recently in 1st, I am finding many great ideas from you. You are quite an inspiration.

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  20. This is Melissa from 2nd Grade with Mrs. Wade...I love how you have used my visualizing anchor chart...I will definitely have to use this folder method because I love it.... thank you so much for linking back to my website. You are awesome!!

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  21. I've seen this on your blog before. I guess I needed to see it several times before it actually hit me. I've been saving anchor charts to help me make my own. Hello brain - they're printed out already and I can just glue them in the file folders. Thank you wise teacher!! Better to do in small groups and perfect for this short week where I can focus on what each group needs. :)

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  22. Great idea! My anchor charts are too large to use at guided reading group table. This will work out wonderfully.

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  23. This is an amazing idea!!! I know what i'll be doing this weekend :-)

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  24. I am obsessed with this idea! I came across it last night on Pinterest and I had trouble sleeping because I kept thinking about it and how I was going to facilitate it! I recently started focusing on mini-lessons and small groups and I am so excited to have these made and ready to go at my fingertips. I would love to see a list of what you have. If you have one could you please email it to me at VCHEER3001@gmail.com Thanks! I also have a blog www.teachingeverafter.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Stacey, sorry for responding MONTHS later. I didn't make a list of the charts I have. That is something I should probably do. I just have them all in a file cabinet and pull the one I need when I'm prepping for the week's classes. If I had a list, I would certainly send it to you! Considering you commented in April, I'll bet you have your own list going by now. I hope the idea has been working for you. Thanks for reading the blog!

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  25. I love it. You can use it in so many ways. I especially love the part in which you can keep your worksheets with the theme charts. Thank you!

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  26. Excellent idea! Full of organization. I teach 6 grades at once, so putting up all the anchor charts is an unreasonable idea! Thanks for this one! I am putting a blog post together to link the best ideas I find on the web. Definitely using this one...in the form of an introduction and a link. :)

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  27. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Samoa. My project is English literacy for Primary schools. I teach 9 separate pull-out reading groups. I am always looking for simple ways to store my anchor charts and quickly switch materials for each groups. I loved the idea. I am excited to try it.

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    1. Can I just tell you I love that my little idea is going to happen in Samoa! :-) Thanks!

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  28. Love this! Thanks for the beautiful blog post! Very helpful idea for Core French teachers, who unfortunately often without a room.

    Mme Aiello @ Teaching FSL

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