Monday, August 20, 2012

Pencils & Anchor Charts

I wanted to share two things with you today. When I am considering all the things I want to accomplish daily when school starts, I start to make lists. Then I have tons of lists that get scattered all over the place. I have tried to remedy that with my post it to do list and it seems to be working! Sorry, small tangent. My anchor charts and classroom design have been at the top of these lists for several weeks.

Click to see the post and get the freebie!
Let's talk about pencils for a minute. We can't really talk about pencils in the classroom without thinking about the pencil sharpener. That leads to thinking about the horrible sounds, kids out of their seats, broken pencils all day, and generally a frazzled teacher who never wants to hear the sound of pencils being sharpened ever again.

I have a procedure in my classroom for pencils. I know that a lot of teachers have the sharp bucket and the broken bucket, but that just doesn't work for me. This is the procedure that I teach on the first day of school.

  1. Students enter the room, put away their things, and get ready for the day to begin.
  2. I stand by my electric pencil sharpener by the door as kids are arriving.
  3. Students may bring me 2 pencils to sharpen. This needs to be done before the announcements start. That means they have about 10-15 minutes. This is plenty of time for everyone to get their pencils sharpened for the day.
  4. If your pencil breaks during the course of the day you have 2 options. You may borrow from another classmate or you may write with a crayon.
This teaches them to be careful and responsible when it comes to using pencils. I don't have a large supply of pencils, so we need to pay attention to how many we use.

This worked great in my 2nd grade classroom and I know my 4th graders will be able to do this as well. I am not trying to be harsh, but I don't want to waste time during the day sharpening pencils or hearing the horrible sounds that a pencil sharpener makes. I also want kids to realize that losing or breaking pencils on purpose isn't rewarded by getting a new pencil.

I like my pencil sharpener. It is just a regular electric one. I asked for it for Christmas 2 years ago because I HATE the manual ones. This is the pencil sharpener that I will be asking for this Christmas.☺I have only heard great things about it.

Click to go to the Classroom Friendly Supplies website.
The second thing I want to talk about are anchor charts. I have to say that I have had great intentions in the past, but I haven't really made many anchor charts...

EEK! I don't like admitting that! This is the year that changes. I wrote about making a space on my walls specifically for anchor charts HERE.

Here are pictures of my walls all ready for anchor charts!

My district's curriculum calls for anchor charts weekly, so I will be adding them to my lesson plans and prepping them a week at a time. I have planned my first week and I know what anchor charts I want to use, so I prepared my anchor charts yesterday. Here are some pictures:
Reading - this will incorporate our first lesson and the first 2 CAFE pieces.
Math - We will define the words and do an activity together in the rest of the space. 
Writing - We will fill in each step of the writing process and share what we know about each one.
Math - Reviewing place value is always a big deal.
Science - The top is for student responses, the middle is for the real definition and some characteristics of weather. The bottom will be for recording the weather for 2 weeks. Then we will compile the data and make a graph online.
None of the anchor charts are finished and that is done on purpose. I wanted them to be prepped and ready for us to begin. That way the kids are still contributing and we are learning together.

The biggest part of the anchor chart process is going to be having them available for students to reference. Since we will only have one anchor chart per content area showing at a time, they will copy the chart into their respective journals as I am creating it on the big chart paper. That way they have a copy to keep and reference even after it has been covered with a new chart.

Ooh, ooh! I will also be using Kristen's method of organizing the charts as they begin to fill up the wall. Take a look at this!
Awesome idea! Click to read her post.
I am so excited about this!!!!!

Do you use anchor charts? What do you do about the pencil situation? I love learning about all the solutions teachers devise!


Raye said...

I am beyond jealous of your wall space!! Wow.

We are supposed to use anchor charts but I don't have enough room in my classroom to hang them up like that. I wish I did. Last year I covered my shelves with poster board and attached anchor charts there and I may do that again this year and then just take a photograph and add them to an Anchor chart binder.

Mrs P said...

I have yet to find a pencil system that works, but I think that the age of the students make all the difference in the decision making. The method you described would have absolutely worked with my Grade 1/2's, but my Grade 5/6's would have broken pencils on purpose so that they COULD write with a pen/crayon/coloured pencil. The older they are, the more ways they try to find loopholes to the rules - sigh. I'd be interested to see how your system works with the Grade 4's!

My next classroom I will trial the sharp/dull method and 'classroom' supplies, rather than each student having their own supply. I think that might help the 'too short' of a pencil situation or not having one, if everyone has to take care of the whole lot, if that makes sense. But crayons and coloured pencils are their own - not community supply (unless we are talking kindy age).

I love the boards you made for your anchor charts, I should aim to do something similar, to keep myself accountable! I love the concept of copying them into their workbooks, hopefully it will help ingrain the information, as well as allowing for easy access to go back and look it up if they need to!

Anonymous said...

I give out 2 sharpened pencils in the morning (usually the first student to arrve will help pass them out) and the pencils will be collected at the edn of the day (again a student has this job) If a student has a missing pencil (reported by the pencil collector), thier name goes on the board and he/she is fined for loss of property.

Anonymous said...

What are anchor charts and where do you get them? I like that idea rather than putting up all those charts and keep everything there when I have only limited space. Thanks for sharing and would appreciate more info on charts and how they are mounted.

Lisa Duncan said...

I have tiny sharpeners and I do let the kids sharpen their pencils. I have 6th graders, and you'd be surprised that if they have to do it manually they figure out a way to get another pencil. Now that I no longer have an electric sharpener in the room, I no longer have a problem.

I also love anchor charts. I always make my own and need to get them laminated to they last year to year. I don't have an easel or a pad - the teacher before me left loose huge white lined chart paper. I make sure to put my Common Core standard on the chart and it's all good! :)

Anonymous said...

I love your Fines poster. I was wondering how you use it in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

For those who want help with developing charts, I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND a series of books (some for K-2, others for 3-8) called CHART SENSE by Rozlyn Linder. The charts are already figured out for you, such a great way to begin using anchor charts for those of us who are just beginning and for those of us who need a boost to think of more useful ideas. This series focuses on ELA but they can easily be applied to every curricular area.

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