BUT...It's hot and humid in there. Plus, there are mosquitoes and I loath mosquitoes. Apparently, they do not feel the same way. They love me. So, with deet infused bug spray, a strong fan, and a sense of purpose, I set out this morning to organize my anchor charts.
A couple of my thoughts on anchor charts...
- They are much more powerful and meaningful when made WITH the students. I know this means they won't always be pretty, but it's important that the kids play a critical role in creating it. If they get sloppy and you just can't take it, then you can always rewrite a cleaner version after school, but as long as you make it with the kids, it has meaning to them.
- Simple is better. Keep it clean, simple, and easy to read from a distance. Cute doesn't always mean effective.
- Set up your anchor chart beforehand. Add the title and designs to the anchor chart before your lesson. Then, add the "meaty" information with the kids.
- Black marker does not make it boring. Black marker is hands down the easiest to read. I use black constantly. If it is important, it needs to be written in a color that is easy to read. I like black, dark blue, dark, green, and purple. I use the lighter fun colors for my titles and to highlight really important words.
- Every color does not need to make an appearance on every chart. This goes back to keeping it simple and easy to read. Can you tell it's a big theme of mine?
- Mr. Sketch markers are the only acceptable markers to use when creating anchor charts. I'm obviously being dramatic here, but they are my absolute favorite markers for anchors. Although, watch out for the light pink. It smells good and it's pretty, but it also fades.
- Anchor charts are a valuable teaching tool. If you use them and reference them, the kids will too. However, just like most things, modeling is required. :)
Several years ago, I saw this great idea about an anchor chart binder. The teacher put a picture of all her anchor charts in a binder for both teacher and student future reference. I thought this was a brilliant way to save wall space and keep a record of all the anchors for the year. While I have never been organized enough to do that, I have taken pictures of a few that I wanted to be sure to repeat the following year. The best part about the picture is that is forces me to recreate it with my students but gives me a goal for how I want things to look and what information I want to include.
Here are just a few of my charts on multiplication and division from this past year.
This chart stared with only a header and then the model/strategy t-chart. You can see by my imperfect lines that I don't stress out too much about it being perfect. As a class we defined multiplication in the most simple terms and added to our chart as we went through the unit.
This is the division chart to match the multiplication. This was before we got into long division.
I love this one because it shows students the many different ways they could divide basic facts. Many of my students get turned around with the circles and sticks model, so they love seeing the table. The table really helps keep them organized.
This chart was generated after a discussion about the similarities/differences between multiplication and division. All information was student generated.
I took pictures of tons of my math, writing, and reading anchor charts from the last year and then gave the charts the toss. It's all part of my purge, purge, purge plan.
Do you guys keep your anchor charts year to year? Which ones do you save? Any more helpful tips on keeping them pretty while also keeping them student generated?
More pictures to come...