Anchor charts have been a part of my teaching for as long as I can remember. Generally, I like to create the base, or background, of the anchor chart before class and fill it out WITH students during class.
For example, if we were working on doing a retell, I would draw a 5 finger retail graphic organizer on anchor chart paper, then fill out the parts with students as we read a story.
However, my anchor charts always…. looked… off. I tried free handing them, I tried complicated tracing methods. I’m not much of a perfectionist and I understand not comparing myself to others, but when I looked around at other teacher’s anchor charts, I was disappointed in mine.
On top of being disappointed, I was spending SO much time creating them!
Finally, it occurred to me that I DID have a way of making GREAT anchor charts. I could create them DIGITALLY!
Easy Anchor Chart Directions
1 Using Power Point, I use clipart, shapes and text boxes to get the background part together. I always make sure I leave plenty of space to add to with students.
2 Save your poster as a pdf. I also keep a Power Point copy in case I need to make changes!
3 Open the anchor chart in Adobe.
4 Print the poster!
- Choose Poster option in Page Sizing & Handling
- Set Tile Scale to 200% (This creates a poster over 4 pages, which is my preference. You may want to play with the sizes!)
- Create an overlap (This makes taping the pages together easier. I like .10 inches, but you may want to play around with different sizes.)
- Check the Cut marks box (This helps make trimming and overlapping neater.)
5 Trim, tape & hang!
Anchor Chart Pros
- look neater
- reprint from year to year
- time saving
Anchor Chart Cons
- learning curve for lining up the images
Do you want a copy of the Cause & Effect anchor chart I used in the images? Sign up below!
Why Are Anchor Charts Important in a Classroom?
Anchor charts are important in a classroom for several reasons:
- Visual Learning Aid: Anchor charts provide visual support for students, making it easier for them to understand and remember key concepts. Visual aids can enhance comprehension and retention, especially for visual learners.
- Reference Tool: These charts serve as a reference tool that students can use independently to review information or instructions. When students have questions or need reminders about a topic, they can refer to the anchor chart instead of constantly asking the teacher.
- Organized Information: Anchor charts help organize information in a clear and concise manner. They often feature headings, bullet points, diagrams, or illustrations that break down complex ideas into digestible parts, making it easier for students to grasp the content.
- Classroom Consistency: Consistency is crucial in a classroom. Anchor charts help maintain consistency in teaching materials and methods. When a teacher creates anchor charts for various topics, they ensure that students receive consistent information and expectations.
- Scaffolding Learning: Anchor charts can be created gradually, adding information or details as the lesson progresses. This scaffolding approach allows teachers to build on students’ prior knowledge and gradually introduce more complex concepts.
- Student Engagement: Involving students in the creation of anchor charts can be an engaging and interactive learning activity. It encourages active participation, collaboration, and critical thinking as students help organize and design the charts.
- Differentiated Instruction: Anchor charts can be customized to meet the needs of different learners. Teachers can create variations of the same chart with varying levels of detail or examples to accommodate students with different learning styles and abilities.
- Assessment Tool: Teachers can use anchor charts as an assessment tool to gauge students’ understanding. By observing how students interact with the charts and discuss the content, educators can identify areas of strength and areas that may require further instruction.
- Visual Reminders: Anchor charts serve as visual reminders of classroom rules, procedures, and expectations. They can help establish a positive classroom culture by reinforcing behavioral norms and fostering a sense of community.
- Long-term Reference: Anchor charts can be displayed in the classroom throughout a unit or school year. This provides students with a long-term reference point for the material they are learning, helping them build a solid foundation for future learning.
In summary, anchor charts are an effective teaching tool that supports student learning by providing visual reinforcement, organization, and reference materials in the classroom. They contribute to a more engaging and structured learning environment, ultimately helping students achieve better academic outcomes.