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    By teachingranny

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    Pocket charts are quite useful in the middle grades( and in so many subject areas!). You can use a pocket chart as you talk with your whole group or your students can use them in small groups.Here's a whole group/small group/whole group activity I like:>)( I have 5 or 6 pocket charts in my room every year.)
    prep for your lesson by using colored markers(any one color)to write categories on index cards. For instance , for the 5 themes of geography, you would write "location' on a card and put it on the top row. Then write "place" on the next card and put it on the top row also, about 4" apart. Write"regions" and place it about 4' further apart on the top row. Continue with "interaction" and "movement" the same way. Now you have the beginnings --your 5 columns. Discuss each and briefly define, perhaps looking at the text together as you do.( I usually do.) On other prepped cards, using a new color of marker,you will have both defining words(like longitude, which which should be placed under location and irrigating which will go under interaction, etc.) You also can have pictures glued on the cards . Divide your clas into 5 groups and (METHOD # 1...) assign them a category. (I say groups of 5 because of the 5 columns in this activity.)Give them a baggie with various category words...shuffle well! Give your signal and start the timer. Your students all are going"hither and yonder" trying to find words from fellow classmates that fit their category.First team finished could have a little reward if you like such as leaving first,etc. Kids love it.( METHOD # 2)If you like it a bit CALMER(ha!)just set the timer and have each group categorize their words at their table or area.Play "beat the timer".It won't take long! Then as a whole group put the words/pictures in the correct columns. You can keep them involved by having the kids say "choose it" or "loose it" before you place the word(s) or pictures in the correct column.Or let them come up and support their answer. This works well for "Who am I?" , fact/opinion, word problems..add/divide/ or multiply?, anologies, etc.

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