What Are Anchor Charts

Documenting student learning creates an inqusitive and inclusive environment.

Anchor charts document various types of learning within the classroom. Words are written on charts as lists, graphic organizers or in other forms in order to “anchor” certain concepts for regular review and reference. Teachers and students create and display such charts for several reasons that can enhance productivity and content retention.

Classroom Culture

Anchor charts assist in building classroom culture. At the beginning of a term, you can have a class discussion about classroom rules and procedures and record student thoughts as the conversation progresses. Document student input that is finalized as part of the class protocol and post these charts around the room. They not only serve as reminders, but also encourage student accountability and ownership over classroom behavior and environment.

Reference Materials

Literacy tools such as anchor charts can be used in math and science classes as reference materials. Labeling different types of mathematical notation, for example, can help students to remember important concepts. Similarly, anchor charts can also display certain procedures, such as the order of operations. Since mathematical concepts often build on a cumulative base of knowledge, such charts can be especially helpful in connecting past content to future content.

Interactive Charts

With some resourcefulness, charts can be interactive and reused continuously. By posting note cards or adhesive notes to pre-drawn charts, students can regularly engage information in a familiar format. For example, draw three empty columns on a large chart with the labels “yesterday,” “today” and “tomorrow.” In each column, students can post note cards with comments about what they learned the previous day, the current day as well as what they hope to learn the following day. This type of exercise builds a routine for students and promotes habitual self-examination about their own learning.

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Protect Your Knowledge

As anchor charts are usually handmade, laminating them can ensure their long life. As high-quality printers become more common in schools, you may want transfer content to the computer for easy printing and reproducing. Additionally, consider displaying them at 4 to 5 feet from the ground, especially in elementary classes. This protects them from wear and tear by keeping them out of reach of students while keeping them low enough to be easily read.