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Anchor charts away!

Jennifer LaGarde’s anchor chart board

Anchor charts make learning sticky and visible.

By presenting visual reminders of what is being taught, they support instruction and reinforce learning, anchoring or holding it in place.

Anchor charts are most effective, and most likely to be used, when they are focused and co-created during instruction, with a class engaged in think-alouds or writing, with the classroom teacher or librarian modeling, recording, archiving.  When they work well, anchor charts facilitate student independence.

They also present evidence and share artifacts of a transparent learning community.

Anchor charts come in a variety of flavors.  They present procedures, skills, processes or strategies. Some are displayed for a limited period of time–scaffolding and archiving learning during the course of a prompt, lesson, project or unit.

Others, for instance the process of developing a thesis or citing a journal article or identifying solid evidence, may have a much longer lifespan and cry out for lamination.  But, if not relevant and referred to during instruction, these charts quickly become as invisible as old wallpaper.

Whether you choose to go with the flipboard paper, stickynote and marker approach or choose to create digital infographics, models of anchor charts as a learning strategy are all over educational blogs and Pinterest boards, just waiting to be customized and adapted for your own learners.

If/when you go with the flipboard approach, remember to use your cell phone or tablet’s camera to archive your anchor charts in an online gallery or on your blog or website, to maintain a digital record of the learning or to share with students as they need to revisit the work.

And if you are looking for inspiration for library anchor charts or for working with a classroom teacher partner, you will find it very easily through a Pinterest search.

Click here to see a Pinterest search on library anchor charts

WeAreTeachers’ nonfiction anchor chart board

Some digital options to use for those more permanent charts to be blown up as posters and/or shared on websites:

Want more background on anchor charts?  Check out these posts:





Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Just having taught some lessons on the Big Six research models, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to support continued use of those steps with a graphic. I hadn’t heard of anchor charts before, but I love the idea of the collaborative creation of an instructional support tool. I think that creating a poster of the anchor chart that classes could then refer back to would be a great addition.

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