Views From Writing Classrooms - Effective Use of Anchor Charts and Displays

I was reminded recently that when teachers complain that they have no power it is simply not true. They control the very weather in their classrooms. Upon entering a classroom it takes little time to assess what the teacher values. The evidence is all around the room. It is revealed in the atmosphere that exists in the room, the interaction between the students themselves, and between the teacher and the students. It is also revealed in the physical environment. The presence of anchor charts reveals the tracks of the learning taking place. The way they are used to support student learning reveals the value teachers place on such resources. When students are free to access resources within the room, it reveals the levels of trust that exist.

I have been gathering evidence from a host of classes lately. The data reveals how teachers are responding to the needs of their developing writers. Supporting them and directing their attention to important ideas about aspects of writing. In these classrooms charts and displays are not merely wall paper, but living, breathing resources used to support the important work of that particular learning community. These documents have a deliberate purpose. A purpose that is immediately clear to visitors entering these learning zones.

 I share some of the treasure I have harvested lately. I commend it to all as exemplary practice and mindful pedagogy that is supporting the writing development of students across a range of grade levels and across a variety of school settings.
In a Grade 2 classroom this display highlights examples of attenion grabbing leads students have created alongside exmples the students have harvested from books they are currently reading.

These Grade 1 students choose to sit
and continue their writing independenlty.
In this Grade 1 classroom the teacher has set up flexible seating
arrangement so students may
make informed choices about where they need to sit
according their immeidate needs as writers.

This anchor chart details how the media uses
 persuasive techniques to exert influence

Grade 2 This display alerts young writers to the range of strategies
 we undertake when preparing to write.

A neighbourhood walk encourages young writers to develop a keen sense of observation by using cameras
to document and display the things they noticed. These harvested observation become potential writing ideas..

In this classroom both the teacher and her students track their respective postions within the process as they work through their writing pieces.


  1. A great reminder, Alan. Having just taken a poetry walk myself this evening through our field I had to smile at the pictures for writing ideas. I also really like the above chart that shows where students are in the writing process.


  2. Hi Alan! I'm currently in New York and logged onto your blog to show Leah Mermelstein. I love this post! Leah and I have been talking about the children being in the 'driver's seat' of their learning and this post reminds me of how, as they say in Reggio Emilia, the environment is the "third teacher". I love the Grade One class where the kids decide what, how, where and who to work with! Thanks for the ongoing inspiration. I'm going to share this with my Young Writers Study Group of 16 very enthusiastic educators. Cheers!


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