Professional Development

June 25, 2016

The Basics of Anchor Charts in the Classroom

It’s no secret that I love anchor charts. We used them all the time in our classroom and for everything! From teaching procedures and setting expectations at the beginning of the year to mini-lessons throughout the year to reviewing our learning, we used them constantly! Sometimes I think it’s easy for us, especially as elementary teachers, to get lost in the “cute” and the classroom trends. I will be the first to admit I love all things cute! But I also love them to be purposeful with my students. Let’s talk about the basics and importance of anchor charts in the classroom.

Anchor charts are used every day in classrooms, but do you know why? Read about the basics-why we use them, their importance, how to use them, and what tools you need to get started making your own anchor charts!

Why Anchor Charts?

  • Are used to “anchor” students’ learning
  • Make the learning process visible
  • Make thinking visible
  • Emphasize literacy in the classroom as you model writing
  • Encourage students to engage in writing with you
  • Become a reference tool for students
  • Keep current learning accessible
  • Serve as visual tool for students to connect prior learning and current learning

How Can I Use Them?

Just like with any other learning tool, it’s most effective when students interact with it. There are many times that I lay the groundwork for an anchor chart and students come alongside me to help me build it. This could look like students providing examples, answering questions, or filling out different parts of the chart.  There are also times when I get an anchor chart started at the beginning of the week and my students complete it throughout the week as we continue our learning.  I love to have the students draw or write on sticky notes and gather their responses on anchor charts when we are reviewing concepts. Students love it when I share the pen with them and let them write on the chart, too!

Anchor Chart Supplies

Everyone has their favorite anchor chart supplies, but here are my favorites to use!

These supplies will make anchor chart creating a breeze! The reusable restickable glue stick is a MUST!

  • Crayola Washable Markers-Because who has time to be scrubbin’ marker out of clothes? Also, when I let the kids use markers to write on the charts, I want to make sure that their clothes don’t get ruined when they drop the marker or turn without looking and mark on someone else’s clothes.
  • Lined Anchor Chart Paper– I definitely prefer lines to help me write straight! Ha!
  • Projector-Yes, I’m not perfect and every once in a while when I want to add a cute graphic to my chart beforehand, I use the projector and trace it. (Moment of truth: This doesn’t happen often, but it’s a nice trick when I have time!)
  • Colorful Post-It Notes-I love to use these when students have to pre-write responses and then we all gather to share them and build the anchor chart. Also, different colors are fun for the students!
  • Removable Restickable Glue Sticks-If you don’t have one, get one now! You can make you anchor charts into “post-it pads” simply with these! Also, if you choose to use scrap pieces of paper for students responses on anchor charts, then you can easily stick them on and move them around with this glue stick!

Teacher Confession

My anchor charts were not always cute. There just isn’t time, my friends. They are plain, simple, and nothing fancy at all!  Sometimes I made them left handed and by writing on the wrong side of the paper, too!! That’s just the reality of teaching. It can be messy sometimes, but it’s wonderful and our job to keep it purposeful!

Do you want to implement more anchor charts this year, but aren’t sure where to start? Check out this set of science anchor charts! Everything you need to create your charts is right at your fingertips!

Science anchor charts that are sure to engage your students! Every concept possible is covered, too! Anchor charts are a wonderful learning tool in the classroom! #anchorchart #scienceanchorchart #science #elementary #kindergarten #firstgrade #ideas

Happy Teaching,


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Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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21 Responses

  1. This is a great post Amanda! I love using anchor charts but could use a little help making mine lrettier. 😉 I love your idea with the projector. Your pictures are always so pretty!

    1. You are too sweet! Your comment just made my day! Yes, a projector is a GREAT secret tool to use sometimes! I didn’t always have time for it, but I would from time to time! 😉

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