Monday, 24 September 2012

Anchor Charts - Making Them Your Own

With the popularity of my first post on Anchor Charts, I've been busy researching for you, trying to find more great examples.

If you're on Pinterest, you can view many excellent charts on my learning twice: Teaching Resources board. If you aren't, send me an email at, and I'll send you an invite. Teachers are pinning good ideas every day, and I think all teachers should be able to see and use them!

Today, let's look at how you and your students can make charts from other teachers your own. Remember that co-constructing them with your students and making sure that they match your kiddos' developmental level are two of the key features that make anchor charts relevant for their ongoing learning.

While looking for Active Literacy resources (a future post), I found the Reading Resources wiki page of Pender County Schools in North Carolina. The number of links there will no doubt lead to other posts, but Iet's look at six posters that you can download, adapt, and turn into great anchor charts.

The posters all address signal words, and give good information. The best part? They are editable! Once you download a poster, you can change font and pics, cut, paste, and do whatever you like to give yourself the starting point you need. Here is the original poster for cause and effect:

And here's what I did to create the "bones" of a cause and effect anchor chart:

You choose how much to have on the chart when you begin working with your students. I titled it, chose seven signal words, included the traffic signal clipart, and color-coded the Cause (Action) and Effect (Outcome) so you could see what I was imagining for perhaps a 3rd grade class. If I were making this chart with students, we would write sentences using these words (writing the cause in each sentence in blue and the effect in red, underlining the signal words).

You might not want to begin with this much information, depending on where your students are in understanding signal words. And of course, you'll only use the document you create as a mini-template, since you'll be writing on a poster board or chart paper as you and your kiddos co-create the actual anchor chart. You will make it yours!

The other five posters on the page depict the following categories of signal words:

  • Compare and contrast
  • Description or list
  • Problem and solution
  • Question and answer
  • Sequence or order
The compare and contrast poster is shown below. What would you do with it to adapt it as an anchor chart for your class? Narrow it down to only a few signal words? Change the graphics? Divide it into two charts - one for comparing and one for contrasting?

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy making great signal word anchor charts with your kiddos starting with these ideas. And once your chart is finished, don't forget to take a photo, put it in a binder, and add it to your ongoing slide collection so you can project it if your entire class needs to revisit it, as suggested in an earlier post, Anchor Charts - Another Blogger's Ideas, and by Jodi at The Clutter-Free Classroom, in Anchor Chart Planning and Management!

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