Creating pocket charts from wrapping paper and cardboard is quick and easy. Make individual pocket charts for students, a series of matching charts for a bulletin board, or even a large one to hang on the wall. Be sure to check out the bottom of this post to see some ideas for using these pocket charts.
Instructions for Making the Pocket Charts
Pocket charts can be made in many sizes depending on how you plan to use them. These instructions show how to create a small pocket chart that holds twelve index cards. I used a department store shirt box that has the lid connected to the bottom along one side. When the box is closed flat, it is double in thickness making it sturdy. The flattened box is 11 ½ by 15 inches. This is the perfect size to wrap in standard sized wrapping paper. Corrugated cardboard also works well. Cut it to whatever size you need.
Step #1 – Cut the wrapping paper approximately twice as long as the cardboard and several inches wider. For the 11 ½ by 15 inch box, I cut the wrapping paper 30 inches tall by 15 inches wide.
Step #2 – On the back of the wrapping paper, draw folding lines using a pencil. Note: Some wrapping paper is lined on the back making this step easy. Begin approximately four inches from the top of the wrapping paper and draw a horizontal line. Measure down one inch and draw a second horizontal second. Continue to draw horizontal lines alternating between intervals of three inches and one inch. For a 30-inch piece of wrapping paper, you should have twelve horizontal lines.
Step #3 – Accordion fold the paper on the lines you have drawn.
Step #4 – Place your cardboard in the center of the wrapping paper. You may wish to flip the cardboard and wrapping paper over to make sure you have the paper aligned. This example has a 2 ½ inch margin from the top of the first pocket to the top of the pocket chart and a 1 ½ margin from the top of the last pocket to the bottom of the pocket chart. Wrap the paper around to the back of the cardboard and tape it into place as if you were wrapping a present.
Step #5 – Staple a ribbon to the center top of the pocket chart so you can hang it up.
Ideas for Using the Pocket Charts
Example #1 – Create eight matching pocket charts and place them on a bulletin board. Write labels above each chart for the eight parts of speech. On index cards write words that can easily be classified by their parts of speech. Have students sort the cards onto the correct pocket chart.
Example #2 – This sorting activity is free in my The One and Only Ivan blog post. Cards can be sorted into four pocket charts in place of the four interactive notebook pockets. This would allow students to be able to read the cards after they have been sorted.
Example – To receive the maximum score for teacher evaluations, teachers in our school must create word walls that change from unit to unit. Using pocket charts makes this a super easy process. Create a bulletin like the one illustrated above. Title the board by the name of the book your class is reading. Label the pockets by chapters instead of parts of speech. Write vocabulary words on index cards and place them in the pockets. Assign each student a vocabulary word. The student must create a definition card. Early finishers can match words to definitions.