Saturday, January 18, 2014

Following are some great articles on the creation and use of anchor charts in your classrooms. Courtesy of Choice Literacy.

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
January 18, 2014 - Issue #366

Reading a Community

The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power.
                                                      Wael Ghonim

A second-grade teacher in my building got a surprise the other day.
We'd just come back from our holiday break to tackle the second half of the school year. Mrs. Hurto gathered her second graders for read-aloud, as she always did just before the class went off to lunch.  "Ooooh!  What Sisters Grimm book are we going to start?" one of them asked eagerly.
"We're going to take a break from Sisters Grimm," she told them. "I have another great book I know you'll like."
Instantly, all the students surrounding her protested. Loudly. "No!" they said. "We want Sisters Grimm!  We missed the stories over break and were excited for a new one!"
Mrs. Hurto persisted. "There are so many wonderful books out there; I want to try some new ones. You'll like it. Trust me." With that, she opened the new book and began to read. The students listened, sullen and with eyes downcast. Mrs. Hurto forged on.

Sometime later when Mrs. Hurto returned from lunch, her students were just completing their 30-minute indoor recess. As they returned to their desks, Mrs. Hurto walked to her desk to put her lunch box away -- and promptly burst into delighted laughter. 

Over recess, the class had banded together to write Mrs. Hurto an "anonymous" letter. In careful young second-grade handwriting and with second-grade mechanics, it read:
Dear Mrs. Hurto, Every Body is mad at you for not reading Sisters Grimm. So stop making us suffer.

There you have it. The letter, conceived and delivered by a group of second graders, shows the power and passion of a small group of excited, eager readers. 
The next day, Mrs. Hurto returned to Sisters Grimm. How could she deny such commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm?  It was clear that her students were hanging on to her every word, and they had bonded closely with the characters in the series. Time enough later to broaden their horizons. For now, the suffering must end.
This week we look at anchor charts in classrooms. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Jennifer Schwanke
Contributor, Choice Literacy

Jennifer Schwanke is a principal in Dublin, Ohio. She also blogs about her personal pursuits at

Free for All

[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links,  follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook:
Here are two features from the archives for considering anchor charts in classrooms.
Shari Frost takes A Closer Look at Anchor Charts:
Suzy Kaback finds the Writing Strengths Anchor Chart builds skills and community at the same time:
In a new podcast, Marjorie Martinelli and Kristi Mraz, the authors of Smarter Charts, have chart-marking advice for teachers:
The Chartchums blog from Marjorie and Kristi explains the Method to (Our) Charting Madness. This is a great check-in for January when teachers are considering goals and progress midway through the year:
Join Franki Sibberson for the online 12-day course The Tech-Savvy Literacy Teacher offered January 29 - February 9. This interactive course includes three webcasts, Franki's newest book, a professional development DVD, and an introduction to scores of resources on the web to integrate into reading and writing workshops. For more details and to register online, visit this link:

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