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Overhead and Pocket Chart center ideas?

E Jean

New Member
I am interested in finding some easy Primary overhead ideas to use as a center. My overhead just sits during my guided reading group and center time. I think it would be a really great resource to use as a center. Any ideas? Also any ideas on using big pocket charts as a center in my Primary K/1 room? I'm all ears for any suggestions! I am the only K and 1st grade teacher in my building and would greatly appreciate any ideas.


Senior Member
For the overhead I give the children letters, any kind that are in the shape of letters work, I use foam ones, and have them make sight words, or word families with them. Other times I put on an overhead sheet and they write on it, this is very popular.

Pocket chart I do many things, they rebuild a poem, the match pictures to words, they make words, or sentences, they sequence a story.

Hope these ideas help.


Overhead Center Tips

I copied off handwriting practice sheets onto transperancy paper. They loved practicing their handwriting this way. I tried to get several different types of sheets from different books. I put each letter in a separate file folder beside the overhead.
For cleaning them, I would make that one of our weekly classroom jobs. Two people would have the job of cleaning the transperancies and then re-filing them into the correct folder and making sure the folders remained in alphabetical order. Giving those jobs to the students made the center virtually hands-off for me throughout the day. The only big work I had to do was copying the sheets for the set up of the center. Once that was done, I didn't have to worry about it any more.
If you are concerned about accountability, I would have them write their names on the ones they did and put them in the "in" tray. Later that day, I would check over them and put them in the "out" tray to be cleaned up before we left to go home.

As for pocket charts - I would take simple stories they are familiar with, poems, songs, so forth and would write them onto sentence strips, they would then have to put the strips into order and read the story to a friend. They were certainly aloud to use a copy of the story or poem.
I would do the stories with my first graders. For my kindergarteners I would use simple poems that we would do each week.


Senior Member
How to clean transparancy sheets

Interesting way to clean transparency sheets: Get a rectangular tub like you get from a hospital stay and put water in. It doesn't have to be full. Drop the sheets in the water when you are done with them. Fish them out and place between pages of an old telephone book to dry. When I did this I always had a phone book with lots of clean transparent pages ready for me to use!


love the overhead

You're right -- the overhead is a great center opportunity. I have used in my kinder and first grade classrooms. I echo someone else about the handwriting practice on overheads -- handwriting was never so much fun! I do model writing each day with my students and would copy these short stories onto transparencies and store in a binder -- students loved to take out and read some of their favorites (I would copy the picture from my planning portion of the model as well.) These became great reading of familiar text opportunities. I also had cut outs of straight and curved lines which students would use to form letters (kindergarten). You can pretty much put up ANY kind of extra practice -- math, language arts, etc that can be copied onto a transparency. Also students can make patterns or work with pattern blocks to complete an image or pattern. Students can start a story on transparency and leave for next group to pick up from. At the end of the day (or week) read the story that was created. Best of luck! P.S. Be sure to always keep an extra overhead bulb handy. It's a big bummer if the bulb goes out and you're out of a center until you get a replacement ;)


tip for the overhead

Just a little tip that I learned at a workshop that has saved me all the mess of using the overhead. If you put whatever you are projecting inside a heavy-weight sheet protector, you can use regular white board markers and erase it with a regular white board eraser. No wet, sloppy mess! Just be sure to use heavy-weight. I get them at Walmart in packs of 40, I think. Hope this helps!


o-head idea

For beginning 1st graders here's another activity:
I copy the alphabet onto a transparency and leave a couple letters off to see if they can complete it....
a b __ d e f ___ etc.


Full Member

For the overhead you could have kids sort letters/ words. They could do it by number of letters in words, shapes of letters, letters in their names, etc. They could also do handwriting like someone suggested. If they were working w/ words they could write a sentence using one of the words you set out (high frequency words)

For pocket chart, you could put their names on sentence strips. They could then sort them according to different attributes. As suggested, they could rebuild poems, stories, etc. They could also use sticky notes to change poems (Twinkle Twinkle Tiny Star) etc. They could also use big making words letters and make words.


New Member
Pocket charts

Pocket charts are great for organizing words in alphabetical order. They can then correct themselves by looking at the correct list afterwards.