I've been reading this terrific book, which I actually found at a garage sale:The Scholastic Integrated Language Arts Resource Book (Grades K-2)
and I've been turned on to the value of using pocket charts in lower elementary. I personally don't remember there being any pocket charts when I was in public school, but after reading this book, I see the value in have several of them around.
Here's the first one I just completed making for under $3.00
This will be great for practicing sight words and spelling words. And my 3yo likes to spell her name with the chart as well as other small words she is learning.
To make this, I used a piece of old black felt for the back and bought a shower curtain liner for the pockets. The one I bought was pretty thin and sewing on it was like sewing on freezer bags, you know? Not really fun and difficult to work with. But it's definitely functional. It might be easier to work with that clear plastic material they use for covering seats. But I've got plenty of shower curtain left so I'll keep using that.
The whole thing is 18"x8". I cut the shower curtain in 2.5" strips and the pockets themselves are appx. 2.5 inches across. I made the letter cards 1.75"x 1.75" on card stock. There are 4 lower and 2 upper for each letter.
This easily rolls up for storage. Be careful not to unroll it until it is lying on a flat surface or your letter cards will fly all over.
I plan on making one for the 100 days of school as well as one that can hold larger sentence and word strips for poems and center instructions.
This chart is small enough to be used on a table/desk or on a work mat. But for larger charts, I plan to use hook and loop Velcro and just stick it to the wall. Another idea is to hot glue clothespins to the wall. I've done this several times for other things and you can remove them (with a little force) without any damage to the paint.
After you've made your pocket charts, you will find really fun ways to use your charts in these books:
100 Riddle Poems for Pocket Charts
Month-By-Month Pockets Charts: 20 Knock-Your-Socks-Off Pocket Chart Poems With Lessons That Take You Through the Year & Build Skills in Reading, Math, Science & More
Big Book of Pocket Chart Poems: ABCs & 123s: Engaging Poems, Lessons, and Instant Templates to Teach the Alphabet, Number Concepts, and Phonics Skills
Scholastic Interactive Pocket Charts: Nursery Rhymes (Grade prek-2