Taking Kristi Mraz‘s chart-making course at the July Writing Institute was so helpful to me. Kristi really got me thinking about having a take away item (made with a post-it note) that you can hand to kids if they need a reminder to do something. In addition, she encouraged the use of illustrations on charts. Since I always taught upper grade, the idea of putting doodles on my chart seemed so foreign to me. However, by the end of the time I spent with Kristi, I was convinced that having illustrations on some of my charts could enhance the meaning of them (and therefore help my teaching stick), so it would be worth trying.
Last week, I created a bunch of sample charts for an in-service I’m leading today and tomorrow at a local school. The in-service I’m leading is not about writing, it’s about launching Interactive Read Aloud. However, Kristi’s ideas still apply. So, I gave my sketching (on sticky-notes) a try. Here are three of the interactive charts I created:
The sticky notes are visual reminders that can be removed from the chart and handed to a child as a reminder of what they can try/should be doing at a given time.
Like all effective charts, these charts shouldn’t just be posted, as-is, in a classroom. They need to be created with the children so they are memorable and useful learning tools.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).