How to Use Anchor Charts in the Classroom
posted by: Melissa | August 03, 2017, 06:51 PM   

Posters and charts have long been a part of the classroom environment. They are effective ways for teachers to pass on information in a visual manner and to remind students of material that’s been covered in the past. In the past, these visual teaching elements have been store bought or were made by the teacher ahead of time with pre-determined content. However, a new type of chart is flipping that on its head.

Anchor charts have been making inroads in classrooms over the past few years. Unlike store-bought posters, these charts are made during the course of a lesson as a way to reinforce instruction. As a teacher moves through the lesson, she demonstrates a concept, step, or tool, and then adds that information to the chart before moving on. When the lesson is finished, the chart is displayed in the classroom where they “anchor” the students’ thinking.

Anchor charts can be used to teach vocabulary, steps in a process, or a key concept. They often include the students’ input and thoughts and are individualized to the class. As a concept grows or develops over the course of a unit or year, so can the chart. New details can be added on the same chart, or a new chart created to replace the old. They are especially useful during the beginning of the school year as a way to teach rules, routines, and procedures. These are often highly individualized to each class, need student buy-in, and are something that you will want to remind students of during the year.

These charts come with a caveat, though. It’s easy to become addicted! Creating anchor charts is such a versatile tool, you could easily use them for everything, causing your walls to become covered and overcrowded with chart paper. Once you reach that point, students will begin to tune out the charts instead of turning to them as reminders. It’s better to use the concept judiciously and to rotate charts in and out when they’re most needed.

If you’re interested in learning more about anchor charts, check out the resources below:

Do you use anchor charts in your classroom?

Share your favorite one below!

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