Saturday, August 24, 2013

5 Reasons Anchor Charts are Important

Anchor charts are not only important, they are crucial. Here is a discussion of 5 reasons anchor charts should be used in your classroom every day.
Back in the day…I would fill my classroom walls before the students even arrived with beautiful purchased charts for colors, months, numbers, character traits, reading strategies and marvel at the “pretty.”  Then the students and parents arrive to see all the “pretty” I had created.  But, “pretty is as pretty does,” right?  These charts just looked pretty.

Fast forward 25 years of teaching, one master’s in Early Childhood Education and one Reading Specialist Certificate…and I no longer purchase ANYTHING for display on my walls.  As a matter of fact, the walls are pretty bare when the students and parents first see it.

Student Created Anchor Charts

Now, the students help create what goes on the walls…and they are invested in the chart from the beginning.  I don’t have to “tell” students how to spell the color words, we practice using the charts we create or a simple pointing reminder lets the child create independence in writing.

Do I interactively write everything?  NO…that would just take too long.

Do I create everything from scratch?  NO…that would take too long.

Do I need to be prepared to make a good anchor chart?  YES, that’s the key.

1. Teach Expectations.
Anchor charts are not only important, they are crucial. Here is a discussion of 5 reasons anchor charts should be used in your classroom every day.

We use anchor charts to create the classroom expectations.  Some of the charts are on the picture above.  Our class rules, our rug rules, and our Reader's Workshop expectations are just a few anchor we create as a classroom community.

2. Use magazine pictures.
Anchor charts are not only important, they are crucial. Here is a discussion of 5 reasons anchor charts should be used in your classroom every day.

As a kindergarten teacher, my students always made their color, number, and shape charts.  I like to use old ladies magazines.  I mean, OLD ladies magazines…like Good Housekeeping© or Ladies Home Journal©.  I spend all summer in front of the television tearing out pictures from old magazines the ladies in my church collect for me.  I look for pictures that are big and are clear pictures for classroom use.  I collect pictures for colors, numbers, shapes, science concepts like solid, liquid, and gas, history concepts like the president or then and now pictures.

Students would interactively write 3 color words a day on white 12 x 18 construction paper, then sort the pictures for those colors.  To involve oral language, my students needed to create a complete sentence, “I found a green turtle.”

3. Repurpose Worksheets
Anchor charts are not only important, they are crucial. Here is a discussion of 5 reasons anchor charts should be used in your classroom every day.

In addition to the basic anchor charts, I used standard worksheets to create my own anchor charts.  To create a sequencing chart, use a worksheet, enlarge the pictures, during a whole group lesson, make a chart.  We also used character worksheets to determine who was in the story and who was not.  The concept of characters was not only common, it was understood.  Setting posters can be made the same way.  It's also fun to print copies of book covers and create a Fiction/Non-Fiction chart.

4. Make them use them.
Anchor charts are not only important, they are crucial. Here is a discussion of 5 reasons anchor charts should be used in your classroom every day.

Anchor charts need to help your class work independently.  Placing a value on anchor charts makes all the difference.  Having a center activity based on using an anchor chart is a great way to involve an anchor chart in a meaningful, directed activity.   One week make the anchor chart for position words (like 2 of the examples above), the next week students must recreate these charts in the math or science center.  Same with reusing materials or things plants need in the picture above. Good anchor charts add value to your room!

5. Make charts personal.
Anchor charts are not only important, they are crucial. Here is a discussion of 5 reasons anchor charts should be used in your classroom every day.

Sometimes, anchor charts are personal. Anchor Charts can also be made quickly for your classroom purposes only.  A moment exists in your classroom that needs to be addressed.  My owl and house anchor charts were made quickly out of a need that arose during a discussion in our class. My classroom was decorated with owls and the students wanted to write about owls.  We discussed the difference between ow and ou using two words they would use often.  A separate ow/ou chart was made during small group reading instruction when it was needed for a book.

Anchor charts are not only important, they are crucial to your classroom.

Tell me what anchor charts you use in your room.

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