Best School Pocket Charts

Updated October 2020
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Buying guide for best school pocket charts

Are you looking for new visual aids that engage your students? School pocket charts are big, vibrant displays that invite kids to take a hands-on approach to learning.

A pocket chart has a simple yet extraordinarily versatile design. It’s the literal version of “drag and drop” in which students can pick cards and place them in the correct pockets. They appeal to all types of learners, especially visual and tactile learners.

Letter and word charts foster literacy in budding readers. Calendar charts emphasize the importance of time-keeping and time management. There are also open-ended pocket charts in which educators or parents can create their own cards for chore reward systems, assignment tracking, behavior monitoring, or daily scheduling.

To find the right school pocket chart for your classroom, we invite you to read this buying guide. We’ll introduce you to popular designs and formats to help make your decision a simple one.

If your classroom is about to undergo rearranging, make sure you relocate the school pocket chart to a new spot that’s visible to all students.

Key considerations

Popular types of school pocket charts

School pocket charts are commonly used in classrooms for kids between preschool and third grade, though their applications apply to kids in advanced grades as well. There are countless varieties of charts. Some display targeted information; others are customizable. Here are some of the most popular types of pocket charts.

Calendar and weather charts: These popular focal points are often used to begin the school day by introducing simple, essential information.

Sentence charts: Often seen in language arts classrooms, these charts help kids learn to build and structure sentences. They’re also used to teach new vocabulary words.

Daily schedule charts: These charts are present in classrooms where students have the same teacher for multiple subjects. The schedule helps kids understand when it’s time to shift gears for a new lesson in a different subject.

Math charts: It’s common to see pocket charts in math classrooms. They can help kids learn how to count, identify patterns and shapes, perform orders of operation, and other skills.

Responsibility chart: Students are often assigned classroom jobs or responsibilities. A responsibility chart helps teachers and students track progress weekly, monthly, or per marking period.

Open-ended charts: Some pocket charts consist of a blank chart and cards. Teachers can customize these charts to suit their learning goals and lesson plans.

Displaying school pocket charts

To get the most out of a school pocket chart, it’s important to display it in a high-visibility spot. At the front of the classroom and near the whiteboard are common locations. Some preschool and kindergarten teachers place pocket charts in compartmentalized learning areas built around specific subjects or concepts.

In addition to location, height should be a consideration, especially if you intend to have students place cards in the chart. It must be high enough that students in the back of the room can see it but not so high that kids can’t reach the pockets and cards.

Having clear floor space below the pocket chart is critical to maintaining a safe classroom. If teachers or students have to lean or bend over items on the floor to reach the chart, they could end up tripping or falling.

Why bright colors matter

It’s common for school pocket charts to have bright, eye-catching colors. It’s not just a matter of capturing a student’s attention; it’s a matter of making it accessible to begin with. Primary colors are the easiest for kids to see, especially from a distance. Many pocket charts are designed with contrasting colors to boost their visibility.

Expert Tip
Because most school pocket charts are made of vinyl, plastic, or nylon, they’re easy to spot clean. Use alcohol-free and bleach-free cleaner to prevent chart colors from fading.
STAFF
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Features

Design and layout

There are countless layouts to school pocket charts. Some have pre-printed headings to create a structure, such as basic math formulas or fill-in-the-blank sentences. Others have more fluid designs. The chart itself is essentially a blank slate; the cards placed by the teacher give it meaning.

Pockets

An often overlooked feature of school pocket charts is pocket style. A chart may have grid-like pockets that resemble the sleeves used to display baseball cards. It may have long horizontal pockets to hold a succession of cards. Some charts have a diverse assortment of pocket sizes to accommodate more than one set of cards.

Cards

School pocket charts usually come with a set of compatible cards. It’s common for cards to be reversible to maximize usability. Some have dry-erase surfaces for deeper customization. The vast majority of pocket charts can use cards interchangeably. It’s also common for teachers to buy additional decks of cards.

"It’s not unusual to invest in more than one school pocket chart. In fact, many teachers invest in a series of them. "
STAFF
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Accessories

Sentence cards: Pacon Super Bright Sentence Strips
If you’d like to teach students simple sentences, use this 500-pack of vibrant cards in five assorted colors. They’re especially popular among language arts and foreign language teachers.

Dry erase markers: Arteza Magnetic Dry Erase Marker Set
These low-odor medium-tip markers are ideal for writing on dry erase cards. The caps even have built-in erasers for quick and easy writing and rewriting.

School pocket chart prices

School pocket charts cost between $15 and $70. The more involved the design, the more it’s likely to cost.

Inexpensive: Simple school pocket charts cost between $15 and $25. They’re highly focused, and the included cards may be somewhat limiting. Quality can be hit-or-miss in this price range, as some budget pocket charts are made with low-quality vinyl or plastic.

Mid-range: Mid-range school pocket charts cost between $25 and $50. These charts are well-made and usually come with a greater number of cards. Card quality is much better than that of lesser-priced designs.

Expensive: The priciest school pocket charts cost between $50 and $70. More often than not, these are large, well-developed charts that can hold up to heavy handling, particularly from the youngest learners.

Expert Tip
Dry erase markers that are used on whiteboards are often too thick for dry erase cards. Consider using thin dry erase markers with fine tip points so you can easily write words and numbers.
STAFF
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Tips

  • Consider the footprint before you buy. The average school pocket chart measures approximately 36 x 48 inches. If you share a classroom or are limited on wall space, this is especially important to keep in mind.
  • Secure the chart. School pocket charts sustain heavy wear from daily handling. Make sure it’s securely attached to the wall by nailing it in place or reinforcing the corners and edges with double-sided adhesive.
  • Work it into your lesson plans. If you’re looking for a way to introduce a visual or tactile element to a lesson plan, use a school pocket chart. These charts can also serve as dynamic activity stations for small-group activities.
  • Play Mad Libs with pocket charts. Because you can fill in the blanks with pocket charts, you can use their flexibility as a writing prompt following the Mad Libs format. Students can write answers in their notebooks or draw cards at random to create wacky sentences.
In addition to bright colors, consider school pocket charts with big, visible letters. Some fonts are much easier to read than others, especially from a distance.

FAQ

Q. Is there any way to repair a school pocket chart if a pocket rips off?
A.
Depending on the nature of the rip, you may be able to sew the pocket back into place. However, if pockets are ripping off, it may be easier to simply purchase a new pocket chart.
 

Q. My brand new pocket chart has a chemical smell. What is it, and will it go away?
A.
It’s common for school pocket charts to have this odor out of the package because they are made of vinyl and plastic components. Air out the chart in a cool, dry area for a day or two to help the smell dissipate. If the odor doesn’t disappear, contact the manufacturer to see whether they can replace it or issue a refund.
 

Q. Are school pocket charts better than whiteboards?
A.
Both of these educational tools are used to deliver information, and pocket charts are not necessarily “better” so much as they are different. A pocket chart is also a static point of reference in a classroom that students may find useful as they complete their work. Unfortunately with whiteboards, information is constantly erased, so there’s no opportunity to “go back” or refer to anything.

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