Every year I struggle with anchor charts. I think anchor charts are AMAZING and really help students. BUT I am such a perfectionist that the creation of an anchor chart is well...out of control! :) I would always make an anchor chart to hang up- we shall call that one "The Pretty One". I can't tell you how many times I have used several pieces of chart paper before I got the anchor chart to look the way I wanted it to. Can we say expensive and wasteful!!!! Then there was the anchor chart that I would create during class. That was the "Quick, Hurry Up Before My Little Friends Stop Paying Attention Version"- which was not so pretty. The other thing that I struggled with was the amount of anchor charts I would create, and the limited amount of space that I had to display them. For many lessons in reading, writing and math I would create an anchor chart almost daily. That is almost 15 anchor charts a week! I just don't have wall space to hang/ display the anchor charts.
So what I have started to do this year is to create many of my anchor charts electronically. These anchor charts are much smaller, printed usually on regular letter size paper. I struggled with the idea that not all students would be able to see the anchor charts from all parts of the room, so I came up with a plan...
First, all anchor charts are displayed in a way that they are easily moved. None of the anchor charts that I am using are up for the whole year (taped to the wall). They are either hung up with clothespins or magnets. This way I can easy go get an anchor chart and take it any where in the room at any time to reference it. Also, this makes it easy to switch out anchor charts as I am starting new units of study or new concepts.
During lessons I reference the anchor chart that I will display. I also display the anchor chart on my large screen at the front of the room. This way while students are working independently on the new skill taught they can look at the anchor chart on the large screen.
Next, as I am teaching a unit of study I think about the anchor charts that I would want my students to have. Then I create a page for their journal/folder. This eliminates the problem of all students not being able to see the anchor chart from anywhere in the room. Each of them will have their own copy to reference in their journal/folder.
Last, after I am done with an anchor chart I place them in a binder with plastic sleeve protectors. This way if later in the year I am teaching a lesson that I need an old anchor chart, I can just go get the binder and ta-da I'm ready!
What I have noticed...
- Probably the first thing that I have noticed is that before the lesson the students see the anchor chart and "guess" what we are going to learn about that day by the illustrations and words that they see on the anchor chart...it gets them thinking.
- The students remember each anchor chart better because of the colorful clipart and fonts.
- I see students referencing their anchor charts in their own folders/journals.
- I am not using my teaching time to create anchor charts, rather I am really teaching and allowing students to apply the skills being taught.
- The time spent preparing anchor charts is eliminated and I have more time to prepare meaningful lessons and hands-on lessons.
I have created a set of anchor charts for the beginning of the year and small moments unit of writing. Included are 22 anchor charts to get you started. Click here to check them out! The first 2 people who comment on this post can have a set for FREE! :)
I know I am a day late...but I wanted to participate in this linky party because I am really excited about how this is working in my classroom! Go check out what is working in other teachers classrooms!!