A Beginner's Guide to Anchor Charts (2023)

If you've been spending time on Pinterest, chances are you've been inundated with images of awesome classroom anchor graphics. If you're like me, you've probably already wondered how someone has the time to make these charts look so pretty and still cook their kids' dinner, grade chores, write homework, do laundry... just let yourself be carried away.

For many new teachers, the pressure of having a Pinterest-worthy classroom can be overwhelming with all the other things thrown in their way. If this is your case, don't stress! Many first-year teachers enter the classroom eager to take on the new challenge, but don't understand much about how to get the best possible performance from teaching tools like anchor charts.

A Beginner's Guide to Anchor Charts (1)

Today I want to share some background on what anchor charts are and how they can best be used to support classroom learning. Whether you are a new teacher or a former veteran, I hope you find some helpful tips and new information as you read.

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What you will find on this page:

What is an anchor chart?

An anchor chart is a teaching tool that you can use to visually capture important lesson information. They are created, at least in part, during class to emphasize and reiterate important information, procedures, processes, or skills being taught.

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For example, if you are teaching students a problem-solving strategy to help them tackle multi-step problems, your diagram might include process steps so students can refer to them when solving problems.

Some anchor charts are interactive, meaning students help complete them as part of the lesson by writing directly on the chart or using sticky notes. This can be a great tool to formatively assess student understanding during the lesson.

(Video) Digital Anchor Charts: EVERYTHING Teachers Need to Know

You can use anchor graphics for any topic, and they often appear inreading, writing and mathematics lessons. After class, the chart should remain visible for students to refer to during independent practice and in future lessons.

Using anchor charts is a great way to actively involve students in the lesson. You can use these charts to teach vocabulary, explain concepts, illustrate examples, and make the learning process fun and visually appealing for students.

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Anchor charts serve as a great classroom aid, providing a visual reference that you and your students can review as you work through guided and independent practice.

While the charts are great for all students, they are especially useful for different groups of at-risk students. They provide students with attention issues with a picture of the steps to guide them through a process. You can also provide English learners with a vocabulary reference andcentral language of science.

You can also use graphics to help students retain important information and make connections between prior knowledge and new information. Research shows that this is key to helping students gain a better understanding of new material.

How to create an anchor chart with your students

As you prepare to create a chart for your class, you should have a plan of what information you want to include and how you want to present it before teaching the class.

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Since your students need to be involved in the actual creation process (either in a hands-on or oral participation format), you don't want to create the entire diagram in advance.

However, that doesn't mean you want to start classes from scratch!

You can prepare certain parts of your anchor chart in advance, e.g. B. Headings, charts, or questions for students to answer. This allows you to better focus on the parts of the lesson during the lesson instead of trying to get everything on the page while your students watch you write.

What you need:

The best part is that you don't need a lot of materials to create some really awesome anchor charts for your classroom. There are really only four things you need:

(Video) Anchor Chart to Explain Anchor Charts

A Beginner's Guide to Anchor Charts (5)
  • Big graph paper - I love thatnotepads(affiliate link) because I can peel and stick.
  • Pencil
  • Markers: I prefer the wide Crayola markers and theHerr Markers Sketch(Affiliate-Link)
  • Projector (optional) - Great for dragging images to trace rather than trying to create graphics freehand

Während Ihrer Mini-Lektion können Sie die Antworten der Schüler aufzeichnen oder ihnen erlauben, ihre Ideen auf Haftnotizen festzuhalten, um sie der Referenztabelle hinzuzufügen. Sie können die Antworten der Schüler auch direkt in die Tabelle eintragen lassen, wenn Sie wirklich mutig sind.

Okay, but how do you make an anchor chart look good?

If you're new to creating anchor charts, the prospect of everything being perfect can be a bit overwhelming. First, nobody expects Pinterest-level perfection like some of the examples you'll see below. This is especially true for the interactive anchor charts that students must fill out.

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Here are someSimple tips to help keep things neat and organized when creating your charts:

  1. Use your projector.Special fonts, graphics, etc. it can be displayed directly on the graph paper while you create the diagram. Use a pencil to lightly trace the design to get started.
  2. Start with a pencil.For charts that are 100% teacher-written, create a simple roadmap that includes all the information. You can write over this with a marker during class as you complete each section with your students.
  3. keep it simpleTrying to cram too much information into one chart can create a lot of confusion. Focus only on the most important details and write large enough so that the student furthest from the table can still see the information.
  4. Use sticky notes for student responses.While you can have students write on the chart, you can use the same chart for several years if students respond with sticky notes.

This means that if your anchor chart doesn't come out exactly how you expected during class, you can always rewrite it later to make it look better or more organized. However, I would save you time and only do this if it's an anchor chart that you want to use consistently over time since your plate is already LOTS full.

How to hang an anchor poster in the classroom?

This can be an issue depending on what type of walls you have in your classroom. Cinder block walls tend to be particularly tricky. More than once I've returned to my room after a long weekend to find all my posters and anchor graphics falling while the air conditioning was off.

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That being said, there are several ways to view anchor charts that can help maximize their use. First, try to choose a range that you will use consistently over time for each topic. This helps students get used to referring to this area when they need help or to review information in the lesson.

Here are some options for hanging your anchor graphics:

Use a curtain rod.A thin curtain rod with two metal hooks can be a great way to display anchor graphics. Add new graphics to the ring over time for easier reference.

Try the hooks.command hookmimagnetic HooksBoth can be great options depending on your walls and whiteboard space. If you're in a portable classroom, magnetic hooks can really organize things and easily move them around when needed.

Poster frames can also be a good option.If you like something neater, cheapposter frameit can be a great alternative. Just make sure you get the right size so they fit properly on the graph paper.

(Video) When & Why I Make Anchor Charts (part 1)

Use a pants hanger.You can simply put the poster in the trouser hanger. Then attach it to the top of a whiteboard, locker or nail. Most stores will happily give you one for free if you say you're a teacher.

Use hot glue to help with the cinder block walls.Glue clothespins or hooks to concrete block walls with hot glue. You can easily remove them later, but they won't come off like tape or putty.

Allocate space for the bulletin board by creating a focus frame.Create a topic-based focus diagram that includes vocabulary, patterns to cover, etc. Leave space to display your anchor graphics after you create them. This creates a one-stop shop for students when they need to refer to something for more information.

The 4 Most Popular Types of Anchor Charts

Although there are many different types of anchor graphics, Pinterest can show us clearly. Most anchor charts you create for your classroom fall into one of four main categories. These four types are interactive diagrams, vocabulary diagrams, strategy diagrams, and procedural diagrams.

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Here's a little more information on each type.

1. Interact in Ankerkarten

The interactive anchor charts are designed to be completed as part of the teaching process. They are a way for students to show their learning. These anchor graphics are usually designed to be used multiple times in a unit.

For example, if you are teaching a skill such as Main Idea and Supporting Details, the anchor table could include the graphic organizer where students can add a main idea and supporting details using sticky notes from a shared class reading.

Interactive anchor charts can be a great tool forformative minds.

2. Vocabulary Anchor Tables

This chart type focuses on the vocabulary of the content area. It often includes visual examples, definitions, and details that can help students apply the term to academic learning and conversation.

Here's a great example:

(Video) Spotlight Strategies - Using Anchor Charts pt 1

3. Strategy Chart

This type of chart is common in classrooms. They provide steps and strategies that students can refer to as they work on assigned assignments. The strategy reference diagrams, designed as a kind of scaffolding guide, represent the step-by-step process that the student must go through in order to implement the material taught in the lesson.

This often includes examples of work done as guided exercises and graphic organizers, acronyms, or other tools that students learned to use during their mini-lesson time.

4. Tables of procedures in the classroom

These charts remind students of classroom expectations. This can theinstructional routines and procedures. It may also include how the student's work should be structured or completed before it is turned in.

Teachers sometimes create anchor charts to show note-taking expectations or add titles to assignments. The purpose of these charts is to make it easier for students to organize their assignments and materials so that they can successfully complete the classroom assignments.

The positive and negative aspects of visual aids

While the thought of creating a chart in front of your students can give you goosebumps, anchor charts provide several important benefits to student learning.

Not only do they provide visuals that help keep students engaged during class, but they also support self-directed learning. Rather than relying on the teacher to answer every question that arises, students can refer to the reference table to enlighten them and reassure them they are on the right track.

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However, it is important to remember that there can be too much of a good thing. It's important to prioritize what information you put in a given chart, but it's also important to prioritize how many charts are shown at any given time.

Too many pictures in the classroom can seriously disrupt learning.This means that instead of helping your struggling learners by giving them visual cues on how to complete the task at hand, you may end up making it more difficult because they are overwhelmed by too many visual stimuli.

(Video) Science of Reading Routine Tip! Make an anchor chart that lists the routine's components.

Therefore, it is important to find a balance. As a new teacher, you may feel pressured to create an anchor chart for everything. Take the time to evaluate if this is something your students will use again and again. If not, just let that pressure go!


1. Interactive Anchor Chart Tips Video
(The Applicious Teacher with Leigh Langton)
2. Anchor charts and learning tools
(Jessica Smith)
3. Anchor Charts and How I Make Them Interactive
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4. Predicting Anchor Chart
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5. 3 Tips For Teaching Poetry + FREE ANCHOR CHARTS
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6. How To Make Anchor Charts On Google Slides
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