Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Charting Our Progress -Using Anchor Charts

Anchor charts are important tools for students to use during Writers' Workshop and aid them in remembering procedures, craft strategies,ideas and expectations. When teachers co create such charts with their students, the students frequently develop a sense of ownership because the recorded information reflects their ideas, their language. Once constructed, charts can be copied in a smaller format for students to place inside their writer’s notebook or writing folder as a further point of reference. Charts should be added to over time. This reinforces the fact that knowledge grows across time and space as we investigate and discover. Anchor charts should be removed when no longer needed. They could stored as flip charts. Anchor charts need to be posted in the classroom where they are easily accessible to students in order to serve as a resource for their writing.

Teachers who develop anchor charts with their students and refer back to said charts frequently throughout writer's workshop lessons, significantly enhance the impact of their teaching. Anchor charts represent clear evidence of the learning tracks a class is following. They have the potential to be valuable learning resources when:  

  • Teachers consistently refer to them
  • Teachers encourage students to return to them across the course of a particular writing study.
*However, it is important not to allow anchor charts to morph into ‘wall paper.’

Teachers at Sunshine North Primary are employing a great strategy to determine the use by date of classroom anchor charts. They periodically provide students with post it notes and have them mark up those charts that are still holding their attention. Students walk the room identifying those charts they believe are supporting their learning. Any charts that have ceased to provide support for learners are taken down and added to the flip chart collection. This is a form of ‘de-cluttering.’

Anchor charts are like footprints left by the learning journey we have undertaken with our students.

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