Monday, August 1, 2016

Smarter Charts for Math, Science and Social Studies

I really embraced their first book Smarter Charts and shared my thinking in September of 2013.  This book really dissected chart making and gave guidance for precise chart making with purpose. So  you can imagine how excited I was when Smarter Charts for Math, Science and Social Studies by Kristine Mraz and Marjorie Martinelli was published.  I'm also thrilled to have it out of my to be read pile and if it's in yours move it further up.  I knew I had to finish this book when in the introduction Kristine and I had the same situation.  Her principal shared he/she could easily see what was being taught during reading and writing by the charts on her walls but asked about the other content areas.  "Along her math wall, lonely tumbleweeds blew in the barren land below the number line."  Changing grade levels and keeping up with things is challenging but I don't want others to feel there are tumbleweeds in my room.

These are the nudges I found for the upcoming school year.

- Make more charts in content areas!

- Ponder more the idea of routine charts in second grade, they could still be needed.  Routine charts are not just for getting ready but cleaning up.

- Make a fire drill chart.

- Really study and think about strategies and the process required to do that strategy.

- Make exemplar charts with annotations - powerful chapter - reread.

These are some quotes that are sticking with me and might interest you in looking at this book more.

- "Remember, a chart is not just a thing on the wall:  It is an artifact of your teaching and a tool for students to use when learning a new challenge."

- "Charts are never static."

- "In other words, a process is a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a desired outcome.  This could also be the definition of teaching."

-"Process charts take complex skills and present them in a bite-size steps until children gain familiarity and fluency with the process."

-"Revision without justification simply seems like a substitution, rather than a thoughtful evolution of an idea."


  1. You? Tumbleweeds on the math wall? Couldn't be so!!

    1. No tumbleweeds in our discussions or work that we do but yes to my walls - not this year though.