If you’re a teacher, you already know the importance of anchor charts. They literally “anchor” our learning and provide a resource for students to look back to throughout the year.
But have you ever felt like you put all this time into making a cute, pinterest-worthy anchor chart and your students rarely, if ever, look at it again? It seems like it just became a part of the classroom decor? Well, most likely, the students didn’t have a connection with that anchor chart!
When students contribute to anchor charts and they become interactive, yes, the charts may not come out quite as cute, but they make a connection to the chart and its content and they will be much more likely to use it as a resource.
Here are some ideas and different types of interactive anchor charts you may want to implement in your own classroom:
This is a type of chart that many of us are already implementing in our classrooms. As I introduce each letter of the alphabet, I have students brainstorm words they know that begin with that letter. I quickly write the word and sketch the matching picture.
I add ANY word the students think of, so long as it begins with the correct letter and is school appropriate.
This is a great time to build connections with your ESL students as well! If they give me a word in their home language, I will add it to the chart with a picture (Google Translate is my BFF), and explain to the class why we are adding it and what it means. It means SO much to them to see words in their own language on these charts!
I use charts with sound boxes all the time as we’re learning cvc words and short vowels. The cute “Aw Man O” at the top comes from Michelle Hudgeons.
Of course, I could just write words that students brainstorm on the chart, but I think it means so much more to have them help me stretch out the words and use the sound boxes themselves. We will use sound boxes all year long and I want my students to become experts at stretching out words that they’re writing, so I need to make sure i’m modeling it as much as possible.
Similar to sound boxes, as we begin learning more complex phonetic patterns, I begin having my students stretch out the words and label the pictures on our anchor charts.
I am NOT worried about spelling here! If they forget a phonics rule we’ve already learned I may remind them, but otherwise I let them use inventive spelling to encourage taking risks in their own writing.
These charts may be pre-made, but they show students how to do something step-by-step and they should match the task exactly.
This chart shows students step-by-step how to solve our addition word problems.
I had the steps already written on the chart, but I made sure we referred to this chart constantly as we practiced solving word problems whole group. Every time we did a step, I had a student tell me what number it was and what it said. They HAD to refer to this chart so that it would be more likely they would refer to it later on when they needed help.
Another example is letter writing. This time I did start with a blank chart:
I only had the numbers written on here so students knew how many steps there were. Then I wrote the letter in front of the class explaining what I was doing as I went.
I made sure to use different colors to make the difference in each step obvious.
After we finished this chart and went through the steps a few more times, I put this at the writing center. Letter writing was now an option and, because they had this chart to refer to, I expected all students to follow this format.
Again, these are charts that you are probably already using in your classroom! These charts are your KWL charts, your Can, Have, Are charts, and your bubble charts. These charts are meant to document student learning.
Here is a very sorry looking dinosaur Can, Have, Are chart. 😉 We completed one column every day and wrote about that part. Students were able to use the chart as a resource and were more likely to be able to recognize the words because they contributed the information.
This is a bubble chart we made after reading a book about spring. The pictures help students know what the sentence is about, which helps them recognize the words because, again, they came up with the words.
This last chart type is one that is usually pre-made and they can be easy for students to forget about if you are not diligent about making sure to refer to them often.
We used this chart when learning about character traits, but we also had a chart with even more traits I displayed on the SmartBoard:
We read “Tops and Bottoms” and then used both charts to fill out this character traits sheet:
I made sure that we referred to that chart often throughout the rest of the year as we read stories together.
If you have any great anchor chart tips, be sure to leave them below!
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