What Are Anchor Charts?

Young student raising his hand in classroom.
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Anchor charts are instructional tools displayed in the classroom for students to reference. They provide information to support a lesson the teacher has taught or to remind students of routines and expectations in the classroom. Unlike store-bought posters often seen in classrooms, anchor charts are created together by the teacher and students during a lesson or class discussion. They are typically created on chart paper or an interactive white board and both the teacher and students may assume responsibility for recording the ideas the class generates.

1 Subject-Specific Charts

Anchor charts support student learning in a variety of subjects. They include information for students to access such as lists of ideas, definitions of key concepts and formulas and processes. Promote independence during reading and writing by displaying topics such as strategies to figure out unknown words when reading, how to set up quotation marks and other words for "said" when writing a story. Use math anchor charts such as the steps in long division, how to tell time, the formulas for perimeter and area and the definitions of mean, mode and median.

2 Rules and Routines

Use anchor charts to give students visual reminders of rules, routines and expectations that have been discussed as a class. These charts may be written in a variety of forms such as a list, chart or brainstorming web. Record ideas such as expectations during lunchtime, rules for outside behavior, what it looks and sounds like when working in a group and what to do when work is finished.

Mother of two, Erin Agnello writes about parenting, relationships, and education. She has been teaching since 2001 and works in special education and early literacy. Agnello holds a B.A. in psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a B.Ed. from Windsor University.