Tag Archives: Marjorie Martinelli

PLC Series: March Round-Up

Welcome the PLC Series March Round Up! This month, we discussed how to tap into the power of visual memory with charts, mind maps, and sketchnotes.

We began our theme with the multi-modal practice of sketchnoting. Author Tanny McGregor honed her own skills and techniques so that she may share the possibilities of this note taking style with teachers. Click the image to visit the post and webinar clip.
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PLC Series: Using Charts…Smarter!

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month we will discuss how to tap into the power of visual memory.

“No matter what area of the curriculum, we found that clear visuals, simple language, and constant reflection on charts were the key to helping children gain independence and agency in their learning. The more we charted, the less repeating we did and more teaching was possible.”          

 -Kristi Mraz and Marjorie Martinelli in Smarter Charts for Math,          Science and Social Studies.

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TCRWP Twitter Chat: Writing and Researching #RUOS Reading


See below for the full transcript of the #TCRWP Chat.

by Anna Gratz Cockerille 

Nowhere in literacy work are reading and writing more inextricably linked than in the research process. When a learner is researching, the skills called into play run from decoding and processing large amounts and higher levels of text, to creating organizational systems to record information, to analyzing and interpreting findings for others. How exciting, then, when students are researching, their authentic literacy skills on display. It’s important to provide students with the opportunity to research various topics, in various forms.

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TCRWP Twitter Chat: Reading UOS FAQs and ANSWERS


See below for the full #TCRWP Twitter chat transcript!

By Anna Gratz Cockerille

The Units of Study for Teaching Reading series by Lucy Calkins and colleagues is a curricular program unlike any other. Each grade-level kit contains and unparalleled mix of resources, plans, and tools that will help any teacher, novice or veteran, to enrich their reading workshop instruction.

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Your Heinemann Link Round-Up for the Week of September 28–October 2


Welcome BACK to the Heinemann Link Round-Up. Your intrepid rounder-upper was on vacation last week, and thus nothing was lassoed, nothing was harangued. Here we are again with a full pen of links.

These links are interviews with educators, posts from our authors' and friends' blogs, and any interesting, newsworthy item from the past seven days. Check back each week for a new round of finds!

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The official Global Teacher Prize blog wrote out "3 Life Changing Lessons from Teacher Prize Winner Nancie Atwell’s Keynote at CGI."

Nearly a quarter of American children fail to achieve minimum levels of literary. For Nancie, the solution is books. She says “book reading is just about the best thing about being human and alive on the planet.” For this reason, children cannot be allowed to discover the joys of reading by accident – an enticing collection of literature is central to the children becoming competent, voracious and engaged readers. This collection must include writing at a variety of levels, from a variety of genres and to appeal to every taste.

Click through to read the full post

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NPR's Weekend Edition did some research on homework. Here it is:

 In 2012, students in three different age groups—9, 13 and 17—were asked, "How much time did you spend on homework yesterday?" The vast majority of 9-year-olds (79 percent) and 13-year-olds (65 percent) and still a majority of 17-year-olds (53 percent) all reported doing an hour or less of homework the day before. Another study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that high school students who reported doing homework outside of school did, on average, about seven hours a week.

Click through to read or listen to "Homework: A New User's Guide"

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In NCTM’s “Teaching Children Mathematics,” Children’s Mathematics coauthor Susan Empson looks at the strategies used by fifth-graders to solve division-of-fraction problems set in the context of making mugs of hot chocolate.

Children in the elementary grades can solve fraction story problems by drawing on their informal understanding of partitioned quantities and whole-number operations (Empson and Levi 2011; Mack 2001). Given the opportunity, children use this understanding to model fractional quantities, such as 1/4 of a quesadilla, and reason about relationships between these quantities, such as how much quesadilla there would be if 1/4 of a quesadilla, 1/4 of a quesadilla, and 1/4 of a quesadilla were combined.

Click through to read the full post

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Both chums in the Chartchums (Marjorie Martinelli & Kristi Mraz) have had busy years with other projects, so it's always great to see them back with a blog. This week: organizing charts.

When projects come to an end and before new ones begin, starting off with a fresh clean start helps one move forward. Whether you have taught for one year or twenty, the amount of paper and stuff accumulated can become mountainous. Inspired by the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Ten Speed Press 2014) by Marie Kondo, who suggests discarding as the first rule of tidying, we thought about how we could apply this to charts so that we start off the year with a fresh and tidy start. Marie Kondo’s only rule about what to keep is to hold each item in your hands and to ask, “Does this spark joy?” For a teacher to be able to answer this question you need to also ask, “Can I use this again?” “Will this save me time?” “Will this engage my kids?”

Click through to read "The Magical Art of Organizing Charts"

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And we have a round-up competitor in Dana Johansen at Two Writing Teachers! It's a great round-up of tweets about writing from September. Click here for it! 

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That's it! Be sure to check back next week for another round of links. If you have a link or a blog, be sure to mention them in the comments below. You can also email them to us or tweet at us. We're pretty available over here. Cheers to your weekend!

*Photo by Matt Lee

What Does Effective Charting Look Like? Learn About Smarter Charts With The Chartchums!


“Your charts don’t need to be perfect, just thoughtful. You don’t even have to be able to draw. Just put the child before the chart.”

 Marjorie Martinelli and Kristi Mraz

Charts. They are EVERYWHERE! Love ‘em or hate ‘em, charts are an expected norm in most classrooms today. But… what does a great chart look like? What kinds of charts should you use? How many is too many? Where do you display them? How long do you keep them? How do you know if they are working? So many questions.

Well then. Where do you start?

With your students, of course! It is important to use what you know about your students to make powerful, accessible charts that are differentiated based on individual and group needs. With that said, the best place to start is with what your students need, combined with the curriculum, to develop big ideas and explicit teaching points. And no matter what, children need to be active participants in the making of a chart. Enter the Chartchums.

Charts are something most teachers make. Most teachers have made hundreds of charts. Yet the Chartchums (aka Marjorie Martinelli and Kristi Mraz) found that when they did a reading or writing workshop, THEIR CHARTS were the real stars. Over and over they heard teachers say, “You should write a book on charts,” while they snapped photos of the sample charts.

So they did.

Their first book, Smarter Charts, provides the basics of effective charting, including the language of charts (both words and visuals), when to make them, where to put them, how to get kids to use them, and ways to assess their effectiveness. Using tips, checklists, and best practices, Marjorie and Kristi share how to bring charts to life using music, chants, rhymes, and more to truly make charts memorable and fun for all of your students.

They talked to more teachers. What does effective charting look like in math? Social studies? Science? Can you apply what you know about literacy charts to all subject areas? They wrote their second book, Smarter Charts for Math, Science & Social Studies. Continuing the dialogue on chart making that they started in Smarter Charts, Kristi and Marjorie show teachers how to turn complex ideas into kid-friendly visuals, help children internalize content processes, and even increase instructional time. You don’t have to be a subject-matter expert to make learning visible for the students in front of you.

Marjorie and Kristi have developed names and descriptions for different kinds of charts to make it easier to talk about the various pathways of learning and thinking they present to students. In both Smarter Charts books, they describe how each type of chart is made and used, complete with examples, visuals, and reproducibles. Different types of charts serve different purposes in classrooms. You don’t need to have one of each type in your classroom. You might find that you make one type of chart much more frequently than another… and some you don’t make at all. 

A chart is never just a chart. Charts are like billboards for your teaching. No matter what the area of the curriculum, clear visuals, simple language, and constant reflection on charts are the key to helping children be more independent, efficient, and flexible in their learning. Packed with full-color sample charts from real classrooms, the Smarter Charts books will help you with tips on design and language, instructional use, and self-assessment. Even better, you will discover strategies that deepen engagement, strengthen retention, and heighten independence—all by involving students in chart making.

A chart is never just a chart.

What’s stopping you from creating jump-off-the-wall charts that stick with kids? You can’t draw? You don’t have to be an artist to make great charts. Really. But it never hurts to see if you can improve on some of the basics, like people and icons. Remember, you don’t need to be perfect, just thoughtful. What matters most is that children are engaged in the process of making the chart.

Not sure what to put on your charts or how to get your students to use charts more independently? Want to learn more? Need some inspiration? Make sure to join us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest as we break down the different types of charts with handy and helpful visuals from Marjorie (@Marjorie_Writes) and Kristi (@MrazKristine) that will help you turn your classroom charts into teaching powerhouses. You can also visit this post to see a visual recap of the different types of charts.

A Field Guide to Content Charts.

Content 1 Routine FB

Content 2 Genre Concept FB

Content 3 Process FB

Content 4 Repertoire FB

Content 5 Exemplar FB

A Field Guide to Literacy Charts.

Literacy 1 Routine FB Literacy 2 Strategy FB Literacy 3 Process FB Literacy 4 Exemplar FB Literacy 5 Genre FB