The Extra Long Pocket Chart June 22 2010

Personally, I can never have enough pocket charts. They are versatile, portable, and easy to use across the curriculum.

I also like to have pocket charts of different sizes, so I was really pleased to hear that there is now an Extra Long Pocket Chart available for the classroom. This new pocket chart is 58” x 34” with 20 pockets total. The 3”x24” Sentence Strips fit easily inside the pockets, both white and multi-colored, and either set will work for the following activities to use with this new pocket chart.

Job Chart

Most classrooms have systems where students participate in Class Jobs so that teachers can delegate tasks that need to be done while simultaneously teaching responsibility. Pocket Charts for Class Jobs are great, but they can either be too wide or too short for the available space. I like the new extra long one because there are twenty pockets; since jobs in my classroom often require two students, that's plenty of room for all of the jobs and all of the students.  I simply have to write down names of jobs and students onto sentence strips and move them around as I need to throughout the school year.

Word Building

There are different kinds of smaller word building and sorting cards, but the Jumbo Word Builder and Onset Rhyme Cards are ideal for the pockets in this new pocket chart. Plus, everything you could possibly need for word building comes with them, including letter cards, rimes, chunks, blends, digraphs and endings. The extra long pocket chart is long enough to hold a few word building activities at once, allowing for differentiated instruction during a word building lesson.

For older kids, this extra-long pocket chart is great for holding a complete weekly spelling list. I write each word on a piece of the larger 3"x24" sentence strips and the kids can sort the words alphabetically, by pattern, by subject and according to difficulty.

Poetry Practice

Having your kids write Couplets is a great way to practice word building skills. Couplets are two lines of poetry that rhyme, made up of about the same number of syllables and have a recognizable rhythm. Sets of couplets are joined together to make longer poems.

Choose two words in the same Word Family and take some time to model writing Couplets with your kids. Give them time to write a Couplet to share with the group, assigning a subject for everyone to work on for a few minutes. Here's one about rain:

Drops on my head tell me there's rain -
Opening my umbrella can be such a pain!

Have students pick out the sounds they want to rhyme, starting with a word from a Word Family or moving on to words that sound similar but have different spelling patterns. Figuring out the rhyming words first will help your students figure out the rest of the poem. For example, dug and slug:

In my yard I found a slug
Deep in a hole that he had dug

Another way to practice word building through poetry is to use Poem of the Week, a book that provides a poem focusing on the seasons of the school year and corresponding word work. Sentence strips are provided for each poem, ready to photocopy and cut out for use in the pocket chart. For word building practice, review a poem over the course of three days, then take away words, requiring students to fill in the blanks with words that make sense or with the word that belongs in that spot.

The extra-long pocket chart is a great addition to any classroom in its versatility across the curriculum.