It's that time of the year. Teachers are heading back to their classrooms to organize, rearrange, and gather their lessons together as they prepare for the first day of school. And with all of those preparations, comes thoughts of new students and teaching those essential procedures.
I am a big "anchor chart" teacher. I believe every problem can be solved by building an anchor chart with your students. Here is my favorite one to do with my class. You can adapt it to meet the needs of your students' ages and developmental levels. If you have younger students, add some pictures. If you have older students, add more details.
This chart is a springboard for a future chart we will build together. This is the . . . "What if" . . . chart. Just picture it in your head. You are sitting at the guided reading group table and children are coming up to the table to ask you questions. You are working with small groups in guided math. Once again, the students have burning questions. I take those burning questions and turn them into a "What If Anchor Chart."
Here is how it works. Brainstorm a list of reasons that the students might need to interrupt you. Here is the beauty of this chart. It is a building chart that can be added to all year long. This chart gives students solutions to their problems. Yes, I know we all have procedures into place for a broken pencil, missing game piece, and broken technology. But there is something magical about the "What if" chart.
I hang it close by my guided reading table and kindly point to it as children approach me. They learn really quickly all of the procedures for the "What if I need to interrupt you questions." I hope you drop by again for my next blog post.
UPDATE in response to questions from readers 7-1-14.
This is the "first" anchor chart to get them brainstorming their "burning" questions. I address them one at a time over the next few days - week. Sometimes a new one comes up and we address it immediately. We add it to our long anchor chart. I hang the Question-Answer Chart by my guided reading table. If a student walks towards me at the first of the year during guided reading or other small groups, I just point to the anchor chart. They usually nod their heads and read the chart. I use picture clues for younger students to help provide an anchor for them.
The answers to the questions will be your routines. Here are some of mine.
Question: What if I need to tell you something?
Answer: Write in down and put it in the question box.
Question: What if I don't know how to spell a word?
Answer: Look at the "I Need Help Spelling a Word" anchor chart.
Question: What if my pencil breaks?
Answer: Put it in the "no" box and get one from the "yes" box.
Question: What if the Smart Board quits working?
Answer: Go to another center.
Question: What if I need to go to the bathroom?
Answer: Use the bathroom pass and go.
Question: What if my friend is being mean?
Answer: Use your kind words and ask them to please use their kind words.
Question: What if I need a Kleenex?
Answer: Go get one. Use it. Throw it in the trashcan.
We practice these scenarios as a class and model how to handle these issues. It doesn't take long to cover as you are establishing your procedures at the first of school anyway.
It is like a worry chart in some ways. It really helps them realize where to look for help and become independent. I also tell them readers know where to look for information. Thanks for the feedback and for asking your questions.