Anchor Charts are one of the best, most effective tools to support instruction (i.e., “anchor” the learning for students). As you teach a lesson, you create a chart, together with your students, that captures the most important content and relevant strategies. After your chart is created, it can be displayed as needed—for a short unit, as a one-time reference tool, as something you add to over time, or as something that stays up all year. Anchor charts are best used as an interactive tool but are a great resource throughout the year.
Benefits of Anchor Charts
- Student engagement – Getting students involved in the process of creating learning tools to help them make connections to learning.
- Bring lessons to life – Posting the charts keeps relevant and current learning accessible to students, reminds them of prior learning, and enables them to make connections as new learning happens. Students can refer to them and use them as they think about the topic, question ideas, expand ideas, and/or contribute to discussions in class.
- Support independent work – Anchor charts provide students with a source to reference when working on their own.
- Charts for classroom management – Expectations and routines are listed that allow students to self-monitor their behavior.
- Create a library of reference materials – Perfect to use as a reference for commonly used information. Like a word wall, students can use the anchor chart for reminders. (e.g., math terms, grammar, writing workshop)
- Reinforce classroom procedures – Provide students with a visual to remind them of routines that make your classroom run smoothly.
Anchor Chart Construction
Anchor charts are simple to make with common classroom resources. If you have chart paper and an assortment of markers; you are ready to go.
- Make your anchor charts colorful and print-rich – Use different colors and bullet points to help students discriminate between strategies and quickly access information.
- Keep them simple and neat – Use easy-to-read graphics and clear organization. Avoid distracting, irrelevant details or stray marks, such as arrows or overemphatic use of underlining.
- Draw simple pictures to complement the words. – The more ways students can access information about a subject, the better.
It is easy to incorporate anchor charts into your lesson plans. All it takes is a clear purpose and some pre-planning. Anchor charts build a culture of literacy in the classroom by making thinking—both the teacher’s and students’—visible.
Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.