Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SMARTER CHARTS by Marjorie and Kristine Mraz



I picked up the book Smarter Charts K-2: Optimizing an Instructional Staple to Create Independent Readers and Writers last month. Although it is a K-2 book, it has helped me think about the ways in which I use charts in my classroom. I love charts. I think they matter in classrooms for so many reasons. I love that they capture our thinking and make our thinking visible. I love the anchors they provide for conversation. I love the things they say about the thinking we are doing. This book helped me rethink and build on what I already know about the power of charts.by Marjorie Martinelli and Kristine Mraz a last month.  Although it is a K-2 book, it has helped me think about the ways in which I use charts in my classroom.  I love charts. I think they matter in classrooms for so many reasons.  I love that they capture our thinking and make our thinking visible. I love the anchors they provide for conversation. I love the things they say about the thinking we are doing. This book helped me rethink and build on what I already know about the power of charts.
The authors of this book are grounded in good instructional practice. They understand literacy and great classrooms. They understand the power of charts. But they have also taken the time and energy to take apart the the design, language, tools, etc. to make the charts in your classroom more purposeful.

This is a happy book too. The colorful cover is the first clue. The authors' photo on the back also tells you that this book will be a fun read. The charts are colorful and fun to look at and then to learn about.  There are photos throughout the book that make the book a quick read, but one that you want to revisit.

After reading this book, I realize that all of my charts look the same. Oh, I may use a different color marker or it may be set up a little big differently but the teaching factor of the creation of the chart is missing. The interactivity with kids is often not as purposeful as it should be. And I tend to use charts mostly within the whole group setting.  With the classroom examples and tips from this book, I can see change happening for my classroom charts! And although the focus of this book is literacy, it has sparked me to think about more purposeful ways to use charts in math.

The authors of this book also have a great blog called Chartchums. Love when I can keep learning from authors after I finish their book. 

1 comment:

  1. Franki,
    JoEllen McCarthy suggested this book to me at NCTE. I've been wanting to read it. Thanks for sharing.

    Cathy

    ReplyDelete

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