Anchor Charts

What are they and why should we use them?

What are Anchor Charts?

Anchor charts record student’s thinking (and sometimes, mine), and highlight the most important parts of a lesson.
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Why use anchor charts?

Quite simply, they help students. Students are able "anchor" their thinking to these charts. Throughout the class, students can talk about, refer to, and use the anchor charts to check their work, validate their points, and even as mentor texts when looking for words to spell and punctuation.
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When is an anchor chart necessary?

Whenever there's something you want your students to remember or be able to refer to, you make an anchor chart. Usually this happens: when introducing a topic or idea or modeling something (like writing) that you want your students to be able to refer back to. Really, you and your students should decide when an anchor chart is necessary. Sometimes, you may not plan on making an anchor chart, and your students will let you know they need one. Ultimately, your kids should be the deciding factor.
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When should you make your anchor charts?

You should plan out your anchor chart on a scrap piece of paper, and then use it as a guide for what you do WITH your students. It helps you keep your mini-lesson AND anchor chart to the point. You may want to write the title of the anchor chart and/or the essential question before the lesson but the content of the anchor chart should be completed with your students.
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What do you do with an anchor chart after a lesson?

Sometimes, an anchor chart gets added to over several days so you may want to keep it posted near you. Afterwards, you may wish to designate different parts of your wall to different topics.
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How long should you keep an anchor chart on the wall?

There's no set time limit. Many times, an anchor chart will stay on the wall for as long as you’re talking about that topic. Sometimes, students will let you know when they no longer need an anchor chart. With some charts, you may wish to stagger them on top of each other so that students can see just the heading, and can easily flip to the page they need. Some charts guide our thinking all year, and so they stay up all year. It really just depends on what is on the anchor chart, what it's used for, how often students use it or need it, and what current units are about.

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