Readers, I was blessed with the ability to create magical anchor charts live with students. I’m emphasizing live because many may think my charts are scribbled during instructional time and remade after instruction to look so darn great! Authenticity is critical when anchor charting. One of my students recently complemented my anchor charting skills which inspired this post.
“How do you write so perfect on the chart on the spot, but your regular handwriting while teaching is so jacked up?” Little Daniel asked.
Everyone has a little Daniel with such wonderfully bold, filterless, amusing, and inspiring comments or concerns. Rather that explaining that post-it paper is too expensive to waste and that it is probably a psychological thing due to my frugal nature, I replied with, “Thanks, hun. Your teacher is the bomb!”
His next inquiry proved that I indeed was the bomb! “Where did that annotations chart go? I’m trying to synthesize!”
Last school year, my principal did a walk through of classrooms and noticed some were more print rich than others so she decided to provide a mini-PD on the art of the anchor chart. As a third year teacher at the time, I huffed and puffed because I automatically assumed teachers should know what to include on an anchor chart. Despite my awareness of how to use and create anchor charts, I found the PD to be informative and helped me step up my anchor chart game. We were given a variety of articles about anchor charts that I’ll link below. I compiled a list of Big Ideas so you can design student friendly resources to enhance instruction, jazz up your walls, and allow the Daniels of your classroom to have useful resources to use throughout the year.
- Create an anchor chart with a single focus. Anchor charts should not be over stimulating with too much content or multiple strategies. Use another piece of post-it paper.
- Construct charts with your students. Authenticity is key. Creating them with students is more meaningful and helps student process content better.
- Inform students of the process of using a strategy or skill. Outline steps so your students can practice a strategy independently-after your explicit instruction of the strategy.
- Organize ideas is meaningful way. Yes, you must even plan your anchor charts in advance. Make sure all students can access information from your chart.
- Include non-linguistic cues. Your visual learners need this!!
- Remember: CUTE does not necessarily = USEFUL. This one is especially important. Your students are in need of a tool to help them learn independently.
- Teach vocab. I have key vocabulary underlined/highlighted/colored to emphasize importance. When making anchor charts, explain that this your way of using text features, such as using a boldface word, to indicate something is important.
As a content area teacher, I started creating anchor charts with guiding questions that we answer together after both independent and cooperative practice. My goal is to have students apply their understanding of content to encourage higher order thinking. Typically our anchor charts in science are created together as part of our “closing” to assess what has been learned at the end of the lesson and to determine what needs to be retaught.
Lastly, here are some anchor charts to inspire awesome resources in your classroom.
Happy Anchor Charting,
Note: Some of the reading strategies posters from previous posts were pre-made because I do not introduce the strategy, I reinforce what was taught with the ELA teacher.