Ahoy — Anchor Charts! Recently we asked Teacher-Authors if they use anchor charts in their classrooms and resource rooms. The response was terrific! Turns out folks love anchor charts when they’re used correctly.
And anchor charts can and should be used in EVERY grade to both involve students and “anchor” their learning. Let’s see what our knowledgeable Teacher-Author’s have to say about them.
Involvement is Essential
- Whether you start from scratch with your students, or incorporate anchor charts into lessons, student involvement is essential. Lindsay Keegan says, “I love anchor charts and use them for everything! They are amazing for reading and writing to remind students of routines, procedures, and important information they should remember. They are also great in math for helping students remember different strategies and concepts. Anchor charts are helpful in the primary grades because it can be difficult for students to remember several steps in a process. Being able to reference anchor charts around the room really helps to continuously reinforce the content that has been taught.”
- Rosie’s Resources seconds that, “Anchor charts are an important element in my 4th grade classroom. We create anchor charts together in class for all major concepts. We post them on the wall, and students copy them into their reading or writing journals. Other anchor charts I use are pre-made and help develop important academic vocabulary. I use these on word walls in my room. That way, not only do students have the word posted, they also have a picture to help retain the meaning of the word in their long-term memories.”
- Ellen Briggs agrees, “They’re best when made WITH the students. When they weigh in and feel like they are a part of making the chart, they are more likely to refer back to it during class time and utilize the information. I teach Kindergarten and my kids LOVE to make and use the anchor charts. We use them for every aspect of the curriculum… writer’s workshop, how to solve math problems, information we learned during reader’s workshop, learning our rules, etc.”
Not Just for Elementary
- A House Called Home explains how she uses anchor charts for science concepts “I use them in my middle school classroom to get the information in front of the kids. For example, if we are studying plant cells, I’ll print out and laminate all the anchor chart pieces and then hand them out to students. As we work through the different parts of a cell the student with that part will come up and add it to the chart. I also provide a ‘student version’ of the anchor chart to complete for their notebooks (either as we build the anchor chart or later to reinforce what we’ve already learned).”
- 6th grade Teacher-Author That Rocks Math Science and ELA says, “I use anchor charts to display textual information in a more graphic way (like with photosynthesis), to break down ideas into steps (like what do readers do when they read closely), and to provide reminders around the room for concepts that are frequently visited. As a side note, I really like the term ‘anchor chart,’ as the charts really do help anchor or keep in place ideas that might ‘float away’ otherwise. I just started using them this year and they have been valuable both at the time they were created and later in the year.”
- Middle school teacher Jessica Osborne has this to say: “I love using anchor charts in middle school ELA, usually with writing and/or grammar concepts. We do an activity with the new concept and often the students will complete a copy of the chart in their writing portfolios or notes. Then for the rest of the year I’ll keep up a neat copy of the chart for their reference when writing.”
- And new-to-anchor-charts Room 213 says, “For years I had seen anchor charts on the walls of my children’s elementary classrooms, but as a high school teacher I never used them until this year. Now, I wouldn’t go without them. First of all they are a quick, visual reference for those students who need a reminder to get themselves focused and organized. My favorite way to use them though, is as an active learning exercise. I can co-create them with my students, or they can work in groups to develop them together. It’s a perfect way for them to show me — and themselves — what they know. The students love getting out the markers and making their own charts; a great exercise for the visual and kinesthetic learners.”
Anchor Chart Archiving
- “Storage is every elementary teacher’s nemesis. Despite the inherent need to make anchor charts anew with each class of students, there are some charts that can be reused annually. Classroom behavior rules, for example, are usually displayed before the children ever cross the threshold. So, some charts have to find a permanent home, while others compete for prime time on a temporary basis. It never fails that as soon as I replace one anchor with a new one reflecting our current learning, there is a hue and cry for the old one. ‘I still need to read that one!’ is the plaintive exclamation. Sigh.” This from Barbara Evans who also wrote a blog post about her love/hate relationship with anchor charts appropriately called, Anchor Charts Aweigh!
Emmy Mac Shop gets creative: “My big problem with anchor charts is where do you store them all? I have a couple of strategies that have really helped me, but I still struggle with it.
- I tape old plastic hangers to the back of the anchor chart with packing tape. This way I can hang them on a hook (or and old pocket chart stand) when they are not being used and are out of the way. I can also use the hanger when the little holes in the chart paper rip!
- I take a half sheet of bristol board and fold it in half so it’s like a book. I then glue the top left quarter of the chart paper to the right hand side of the ‘book.’ I fold the chart paper in half and then half again (quarters) so that it fits inside the bristol board book, and store it. I also write on the front of the bristol board which anchor chart it is so it’s easy to find.”
Anchor Chart Agenda
- Teaching With a Mountain View has a couple of fantastic blog posts about anchor charts. Anchor Chart Tips & Tricks is sure to inspire and Anchor Charts for Upper Grades is a visual delight of anchor chart ideas.
- Katie Farr had the privileged of taking a workshop with National Presenter and TpT Teacher-Author Kim Adsit and she blogs about what she learned in Destination Common Core with Kim Adsit! She offers some great tips on how to be more effective with anchor charts. Also, check out Katie Farr’s Reader’s Workshop Anchor Charts.
- Literacy Loves Company incorporates anchor charts into her Interactive Read Aloud sessions and loves them. “I usually create anchor charts to go with my language arts lessons. They are a great way to make the main points of your lesson visual for your students. I keep most of my anchor charts all year long for student to use if they need to access information we have covered.” Read her blog post Supporting Comprehension Through Interactive Read Aloud.
- Kelly Serrano blogs about creating anchor charts with her dual language kids and stresses the importance of involving students in the process. See her blog post IT’S ALL IN THE CONNECTIONS for examples of thoughtful dual language anchor charts.
What great tips from these TpT Teacher-Authors. Kudos to all of you for trying new ideas! So, masts up and anchor (charts) away!
Featured image font thanks to Kimberly Geswein Fonts
Featured image anchor clip art thanks to Anchor Art Man
Featured image cafe sign and chevron background thanks to 3rd Grade Thoughts