What are Pocket Charts? July 12 2008

You can find numerous uses in your classroom for pocket charts!

In today’s fast-paced, elementary school classroom environment, teachers need every advantage possible to help kids get a head start with their reading skills, and in writing, math and other subjects.

Pocket charts provide one the most tested and proven classroom tools available. A pocket chart provides teachers with a storage system that uses plastic pockets for organizing lesson plans and classroom activities.

My students love doing activities with the pocket charts. We use them to do word matching, singing exercises, and for reading poems and stories. We keep our monthly calendar in one, our weekly story in another, letters of the alphabet in another, and so on.

Typically made from vinyl, metal eyelets at the top of the pocket charts make them easy to hang on the wall and plastic pockets sewn on the front to organize contents. Pocket charts are available in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles for lots of different purposes. Other popular styles include desktop and easels.

Charts with large pockets are useful for organizing kid’s school work. Ones with smaller pockets are useful for creating monthly and weekly calendars and curriculum for various centers in the classroom.

Pocket charts are quite affordable, typically priced from $10 to $100 USD, depending on size and features included. Many will be either rectangular or square, although you can also find pocket charts in very fun shapes for specific themes, making a great interactive tool in the classroom. They can easily be combined with flashcards to teach specific subjects like alphabet letters, numbers, animals, etc.

Uses for pocket charts in the classroom are almost infinite. By placing pieces of paper, cardstock or pre made cards in the pockets, teachers can create lessons plan for math, reading skills, writing and many other student activities.

One of my favorites is the Portable Desktop Pocket Chart.  It's two-sided, has a pouch to store my cards, and a sturdy handle so that I can fold it up and move from classroom to classroom.

While great in classrooms, they can also be used in the home. Parents can use them to help keep their kids’ homework well organized. Use a pocket chart stand to place them on a table or desk at the right level so your kids can easily reach them or hang them on the wall at eye level. Pocket charts are also useful as organizational tools in the office.

I use them extensively in my classroom, and like to put out 5 to 10 of the larger type at any one time, changing them throughout the school year to keep the room fresh and fun! Some are on the walls, while others hang from easels with rollers, so they can easily be rolled out for various learning centers, and stored out of the way when not in use.

My class room has several large pocket charts devoted to literacy activities, and smaller ones the kids can use at their desks or on the floor. Our overhead projector fanny pack is a great way to protect and organize overhead transparencies, with clear plastic pockets on 3 sides, and an open side for the fan to circulate air.

I use the pocket charts every day, sometimes with the entire class, but also for teaching smaller groups specific lesson topics. They provide do-it-yourself, step by step instructions in our classroom centers as well.

Something new we’re trying this school year is desktop pocket charts, which have one-inch tall sentence strips, and a two-sided cardboard pocket chart stand for display. The Desktop Center Package includes a center chart, the desktop stand, two storage pouches, and a desktop caddy and I saved 10% on each package, which is only $28.25. I was able to get my parents to donate money so that we were able to get 3 of these great packages. We use them for seasonal activities and various centers like learning the letters of the alphabet.

A great and inexpensive classroom tool, you can see that pocket charts offer endless ways to make learning fun and interactive without spending a fortune. If you haven’t already used them to improve your kids’ reading skills and for endless other learning activities, then I hope you will find these tips helpful to think of new and creative ways to use them!

Choose from our wide selection of pocket charts at everyday discount prices!