Black Pocket Charts and Calendar Math

Alright, if you have been following me on my Facebook page, I am sure that you are aware that I decided I wanted a black pocket chart.  My friends, I am not kidding, I searched and searched for a place to buy one and they were no where to be found.  However, during my search I stumbled onto a blog where the teacher had dyed her own pocket chart.

This is a warning.  This post is not for the faint of heart.  Oh, and know that you will laugh hysterically at me and you may even snort.

Thursday was Day 1 of creating a black pocket chart.  First, I ran to the store and grabbed two dye kits.  It only called for one, but you never know, right?  I also grabbed a container of salt, and some heavy duty cleaning gloves.  Sorry, but there was no way this girl was going to have dyed arms.

Once I got home, I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket and a plastic table cloth.  The blog post I read said to throw it in the washing machine.  I'm not sure why, but a 5 gallon bucket just sounded easier.  I took it to the tub and filled it halfway with hot water, placed the bucket on the plastic table cloth, poured the bottle of dye in and some salt (True fact - I never measure), stirred it up, and put my pocket chart in there.

In the beginning, my hubby and I spent a few minutes trying to figure out how to get it to stay under water.  I came up with fill up a milk jug with water, but once I fiddled with the chart I got it to stay under water.  I left the chart to soak overnight and went to work on something else.

Now, the next morning (Day 2) I took the bucket outside with the chart still in it and pulled the chart out.  People!  I'm not kidding it was black... well, black with a lot of blue splotches.  I would say it looked more like a camouflage shirt gone wrong.  As I'm holding it, my fingers are starting to turn black because this girl didn't think about the fact her gloves were in her craft room.  I tossed it in the washing machine so maybe the dye would move around.  Um, yeah that's not how it works.  I pulled it out and the chart was an epic failure.  I fell into the group that thought they could outsmart the chart and instead ended up with an ugly chart (see picture) and needing to order a new one, well at least that's what I thought.

Into my life enters an angel named Christina that sends me this link The Very Busy First Graders.  I mean I couldn't help but love this blog.  After all, it is all about first grade.  This blogger had done it slightly differently than me.  So what do I do?  I go in for round 2.  Since this round worked, here are the specifics.

Things Needed:
Pocket chart, 5 gallon bucket, plastic cloth, hot water, black dye (in a box), 1 cup of vinegar, gloves

Step 1:
Fill the 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water.  Place on the plastic cloth.

Step 2:
Mix in dye and vinegar.  Place the pocket chart in the bucket.

Step 3:
Stir the pocket chart around in the dye for 15 minutes every 45 minutes to an hour.  Make sure you take your gloved hands and pull the plastic open so that the dyed water can get into all the crevices.  Flip it around, fold it differently, etc.  (Note - I did this probably 4 or 5 times within 3 hours)  Leave the pocket chart in the dye over night.  Be sure that the water is fully covering the chart.

Step 4:
Take the bucket to a big sink or to your bathtub.  Turn on the water where it is hot (Not to the point it burns you).  Put the pocket chart under the water and keep flipping it and running water over it until the water that is draining does not have any dye.  The water should be clear.

Step 5:
Hang your chart upside down to dry.  This allows the water in the pockets to run out of the pockets.  I put mine on a ladder under a fan.  I would suggest putting it on the plastic cloth you used earlier.

Now, you are all done!  Here's the one thing I learned from this.  Don't give up after one try.  It took my chart two times going through the process before it worked.  The thing that I think affected it the most the second time was taking the time to stir it.  Most of the blotches were around or in the pockets because the first time I stuck it in the water and just left it.

Alright, I know this is a long post, but here's my other good news!  My calendar math is finally done and posted!  I ended up creating all of my own clip art for it so that I could post it as a flip chart.  Since I know not everyone has a Promethean Activboard, I also posted it as an editable PowerPoint.  This should allow you to use it on other types of interactive whiteboards since most computers have PowerPoint.  The slides are the same as the last time, but since I changed backgrounds, here are new previews for you.  If you click on any of them, it will take you to my TPT store.  I also included live links and actions on many of the flip chart slides and slides for September-July at the end of the packet.

Make sure you check back tomorrow.  I'm going to try to make sure I have a freebie for you.  I will try to post a little more this week.  Between setting up my classroom and working on Calendar Math I haven't had much time.  Up next on my creative calendar is 1st grade morning work.

Have a great night!


  1. You crack me up, Faith! I never would have thought of trying to dye a pocket chart!

  2. You have no idea how excited I am that you made the calendar pack for a Promethean ActivBoard...there is never anything cute for it, everything is always for SMART Boards! Heading to TPT now..thanks again!
    Kindergarten Kel

  3. You are hilarious! I think I am going to try the black day! Your calendar set rocks by the way

  4. Hilarious... I love your story... I'm a "epic fail crafter" usually so I a can totally relate to this. I would love to make a black pocket chart but I'm not patient enough to do it the right way. I'm glad I found you though through someone pinning this post. I'm your newest follower!
    First Grade Hugs and High Fives

  5. Where do you get your songs for your calendar math time?

  6. Someday I might just have to try this. Black matches almost any theme... unlike the random red and purple ones I have floating around my room!
    Third Grade Tidbits

  7. So excited to try dying my pocket charts (when I get enough courage, that's for sure!). Also, in LOVE with your calendar math. We have Prom. Boards, and I can't ever find anything cute for it. Already on my wish list, and can't wait to use it this year :)

    First Grade Fairytales

  8. This post is exactly what I needed. I'm headed back to my classroom and wanted to do more this year with my calendar! Thank you so much!

  9. Love your blog. Def buying the math activities!

  10. Hi Faith!
    I am so glad dyeing the chart worked for you the second time! Thank you for the shout out! You did a much better (and funnier) job of explaining it!!! I LOVE my pocket chart! I am not sure why the people who make charts haven't started making other colors! There seems to be a huge interest in it! It looks like your back stayed blue?? Mine is black but the thread stayed blue!

  11. You may have already answered this,but here is a quick question: I only have a projector that can show my students what is on my computer screen, will the calendar packet work with that? Or do you have to have a program like a smart board?

    1. It may be tough to use depending on the slide. I did make one version of it in PowerPoint so you would be able to move shapes with your mouse. If the projector is pointing towards a white board, you could pull the slide up on your computer screen and then write on the white board. I hope that makes sense.

  12. Love the thought of dying pocket charts. So sick of blue and red. Plus I think it's just what I need to spruce them up. Oh, and I think I did actually snort as I was reading. Thanks for sharing your whole process!

  13. HI! I have an Epson projector to use as an interactive smartboard. I also have an apple computer. Would your calendar pack work on it?