Recently, there has been a shift in teaching materials. Years ago, teachers would have purchased anchor charts at their local teacher supply store, put them on their wall, and may or may not reference them in their teaching. In today’s classroom, materials that are displayed throughout the classroom are created by the students. These anchor charts are a tool used to support instruction. Students use anchor charts to support lessons taught. When students are involved in creating an anchor chart, they are more likely to use the resource throughout their learning process.
My school district has pushed teachers to use anchor charts this year. Anchor charts are a great tool to implement within your classroom routine–and you are probably using them without making a “chart”. A couple of years ago, I began implementing interactive notebooks within reading and math. During interactive notebooks, students create their own “textbook” with the teacher as well as complete independent activities. I loved this concept, however I taught 2nd grade at the time and noticed that students were struggling to manage their notebooks. Often times, students would need to reference a concept that we took “notes” on, but couldn’t find it in their notebooks independently. This would be the perfect time to create an anchor chart about the topic you are discussing.
Anchor charts are simple to make and can be as fancy as you want to make them. Depending on what we are discussing or what I am using it for, I may pre-make the chart. For example, I made the chart for the rules and expectations of my classroom prior to my lesson because I use it year after year. When we are discussing a topic, sometimes I draw out what I want on the chart. Most of the time, I draw Thinking Maps since my district requires students to use them to show their thinking. There are also times when students create the charts themselves in small groups or with a partner, which holds students accountable for their learning. Anchor charts can be removed once a topic has been taught and then reappear later when the topic is reviewed.
There are many ways to incorporate anchor charts within any classroom. Here are some ways that I use anchor charts within my first grade classroom:
-establishing rules and procedures for completing tasks around the classroom
-identifying story elements
-making connections with texts
-composing and decomposing numbers
-identifying tens and ones in a number
-labeling parts of a plant
-identifying parts of a community
I found this blog on Scholastic that is a guide to anchor charts and ways to include them in your teaching. I find this blog helpful because all teachers, beginning teachers and “well seasoned” teachers, can use it as a resource. This blog also explains to implement anchor charts.
Do you use store bought anchor charts in your classroom? If you do, try creating an anchor chart with your students. It will be a win-win for everyone!