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Anchor charts away!
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.
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:
- Anchor Charts as an Effective Teacher Student Tool, by Rhonda Stewart, Scholastic
- Anchor Charts, Ashleigh’s Educational Journey
- Anchor Charts: Five Essential Features, Nancy McNeill, Learning Twice
- Anchor Charts: Making Thinking Visible, by Lily Newman, EngageNY
- Creating Anchor Charts with Sticky Note Responses from Young Readers, Andie Cunningham, Choice Literacy
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
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