Pick My Pocket! A Permanent Center for Your Classroom

Apr 18, 2015

You all know I just love sharing some of my favorite things from the “WAY BACK FILES” and this is another one.  For this months BRIGHT IDEA, I thought I would share my “Pick My Pocket” board. It is so simple. There are no gimmicks or magic buttons. It is just a large, laminated poster board with library pockets glued on the front. WHAT I LOVE about this is that I can (and have) used it for MANY, MANY things over the years.

Alongside the poster are some “chips” with the numbers 1-25 on them.  Sometimes I use these to determine which pocket gets “picked.” It adds an element of fun to the activity. This is a GREAT permanent center that you can repurpose over and over again.

Here are just a few things I have done:

1. Task Cards – Slip a set into the pockets and your task cards have turned into a game. Super fun and low prep. Kids pick a card and answer it. Sometimes I will slip a “freebie” card into the slot and the kid gets to skip that question. SOMETIMES… I will put TWO cards in. Hee-Hee!

2. Math Problems – Almost the same as using task cards, but straight up math practice. I will always try to keep a manipulative by the board in case a kiddo needs it. For example, if I put some cards in the pockets with clock times, I will have mini-clocks in a basket by the board. If there are money questions, I will have coins available for counting.

3. I also LOVE THIS for Problem of the Day.  Program cards for a closing activity or warm-up.

3. Writing Prompts –  These are some cards from my fifth grade years… (HOARDER ALERT!) but are a great example of how you can change the content without much effort.

4. Synonyms/Antonyms – Cards in the pockets are programmed with words. Students need to give the synonym or antonym of the pocket word.

5. Character Education – I love this little idea for class councils or just to get kids talking about good character. Place the character cards in the pockets and pick one a day to discuss.  Always a good reminder.  Here are some ideas you can use:
-What makes a good friend?

     -What is one way you can fill someone’s bucket today?
     -Tell about one thing you do really, really well.
     -What is something that you were bad at, but now can do it like a champ?
-Name something that always makes you smile.
-What are you most afraid of?
-If you could have one wish, what would it be? Why?
-If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
-What is your most favorite part of the school day? Why?
6.  I have also used Pick My Pocket as an INCENTIVE board that holds little coupons or class money. The kids think this of more like a carnival game, and LOVE the THRILL. It is more popular than my treasure box.

So bottom line is you can use the pick my pocket board for just about anything! It gives you flexibility and consistency all at the same time. Kids know the expectations and how to use it, but you can change the content over and over again. There aren’t too many devices out there that can do the same thing! What other things could you use a pick my pocket board for and your classroom? Let me know! I would love to hear from you.
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