My last post was a re-blog from Chart Chums.  I thought a bit of a review of the site might give you a better idea of what Chart Chums is all about.  This also gives you some further insight into charts as an instructional tool in theclassroom. 

Marjorie Martinelli & Kristine Mraz are classroom teachers and literacy consultants.  They teach their own classes, work with teachers in schools across the country and then blog about it.  I enjoy reading about the processes they follow when teaching new skills.

I especially enjoy reading about the charts that they construct specifically for the student needs in their classes.  You see, some charts you will make and re-make every year – simply to give your students the opportunity to construct meaning – while others will be signposts for specific skills.

If my class is having difficulty with 4 digit subtraction and renaming, I will create a chart that explicitly shows all the steps in the process.  I will have visual cues and symbols on the chart.  I will write the specific language I want the students to use so they will develop their understanding of the concept.  I will use the chart to ensure misconceptions are corrected.  If the students in my class can easily handle subtraction with renaming and have no misconceptions, I won’t waste time constructing a chart about it with my students.  We will spend our charting time constructing helpful reference material for skills they need to work on.

I could write a much longer post about this topic but a visit to Chart Chums will probably give you more information and ideas.  Click the link to check out Marjorie and Kristine’s blog and you will get more from them about the purpose and process of charts in the classroom.  Marjorie and Kristine have also written a book which would make an excellent addition to any teacher’s professional library!

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Want Kids to Walk the Walk? Then Chart the Talk!

Time to reveal a great blog all about charts on the classroom… or maybe I already did that. Check out this post from Chart Chums and see how charts can be used throughout the teaching and learning of new and complex skills.
Kindergarteners who use the word clarify. That teacher has to be doing something right!!


Today we are delighted to welcome guest blogger, Valerie Geschwind. Valerie is currently a teacher in the NYC public schools. Valerie creates magical things in her classroom, one of which is rich and inspired talk. In the post below, she shares some of her secrets to building great talk. You can follow Valerie on twitter at @valgeschwind and learn more at her blog,

With the CCSS placing such a strong emphasis on speaking and listening, teachers have been asking an important question:  How can we support students in building academic talk and conversations?

Just like we support readers, writers, mathematicians, and scientists with charts and visuals, we can support our talkers with charts too!

Getting Started with Talk Behaviors

If your classroom is anything like mine, the fall months are spent with a lot of wiggly worms on the rug.  Before diving into building conversations, we spend time practicing…

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