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Samantha Beattie's picture
Samantha Beattie has taught first grade for eight years and is currently teaching a multi-age classroom of first and second-graders. She graduated Nova Southeastern University with a master’s degree...
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Anchor Charts

Today was day 2 for my first graders. Today I introduced an anchor chart (formerly known as thinking maps). I prefer the term anchor charts because I create them with my students and post for the students to refer to. The charts are created for the sole purpose of "anchoring" their thinking. Anchor charts can be created and used for any subject.

Today we completed two charts. The first chart, we compared kindergartners and first graders. I helped the students brain-storm the differences of both grades. Using a bubble map, kindergarten characteristics were listed on the left; common characteristics in the middle; and first grade on the right. Throughout the lesson, I referred back to the anchor chart and explained to the students how we use the charts.

For the second chart, I created a "t" chart and we listed expectations of the students on one side and the teacher on the other. The expectations chart will be created daily to anchor the students thinking and understanding of classroom expectations. Last year, I found great success with this system. The students really enjoyed being able to recall the information for the chart, and soon after, the expectations became the norm in my classroom.

I love to watch my students go over and review a chart. It proves to me the charts do help the students "anchor" their thinking. The only negative to using anchor charts daily is the amount of wall space needed to display them. It is always difficult for me to decide which to leave up and which to take down. If only we did not have a fire code to follow...=)

How do you use anchor charts in your classroom? What are some positives and negatives you have experienced? Do you have a system in place for rotating the charts on and off the walls?