Anchor Charts

UDL 3.2 UDL 6.3

Anchor charts are a specific type of reference material created by the teacher and students during a lesson and are hung on the walls of the classroom for student reference. Anchor charts may be used for a variety of purposes such as: to define concepts, terms, or strategies; to outline or describe procedures or to provide guidelines for behavior or task expectations. Displaying these charts can help encourage student independence and self-regulation by acting as a reference which students can access when they have a question or need to review what was discussed. Because they are created during the lesson, and not pre-made, students' understanding of the concept being taught, as well as the value and comprehension of the chart as a later reference, is heightened.

Implementation Tips

5 Essential Features of Anchor Charts
Nancy McNeal's blog has an interesting entry on [[|five essential features]] of anchor charts.
Referencing the Chart
When an anchor chart is created, keep it "living" and relevant by referring to it several times over the course of the class and adding new information as it becomes appropriate to do so.
Student Version
You can take pictures of your anchor charts and print them on printing paper for individual student use at a desk, in a binder or for use at home.


Early Elementary
When discussing consonant blends to a first grade class, the teacher can write the definition and examples of the consonant blends, th- and tr- as beginning sounds. As he says words containing one of these beginning consonant blends, students can volunteer to say which consonant blend they believe begins the word. The teacher can discuss these with the students and write them in the correct column, adding a picture clue when possible.
Upper Elementary
During a fourth grade discussion on elements of nonfiction text, students can be given old copies of magazines, outdated science books and old reference materials. In groups, students can engage in a "treasure hunt" to find nonfiction elements that have been previously discussed, such as an index, captions, photograph, etc. As they find the element assigned, they can cut these out and paste them onto the class chart as an example and label it.
Middle School
In a sixth grade math class, teachers can use an anchor chart when instructing how to perform arithmetic operations, including those involving whole-number exponents, in the conventional order when there are no parentheses to specify a particular order. As the lesson is taught, the teacher can sketch out an anchor chart which shows the conventional order in a visual manner. This can help the students to visually understand what was said and provide them with a chart to reference, as needed, throughout the unit.
High School
In a tenth grade literature class, during a student discussion of the types of character conflict (internal vs. external), the teacher can make notes on a piece of chart paper. As she leads the discussion of specific examples of character conflict (man vs. self, man vs. nature, man vs. man, and man vs. society), she can continue to make notes throughout the lesson and ask students to give examples of these types of conflict in literature (e.g. poverty or politics as an example of man vs. society). This anchor chart may be valuable to the students throughout the literature class as they discuss what is being read.

Related Strategies