Writing Anchor Charts

When I first starting teaching, I bought neon colored chart paper and just wrote on chart paper and called it a day.  We charted our information and I taped it up on my "anchor chart wall."

And then, a strange thing happened.  None of my firsties used the anchor charts. #shockface

Because all of the anchor charts looked the same!

So, as I gained more experience, I realized how important it was to make the anchor charts stand out for my early readers.  They needed more visuals, and unusual shapes, colors, or designs to help my littles find them in the room and actually use them!

I started making shaped anchor charts, adding bold visuals and using color and BAM!  My littles were using the anchor charts and I was having SOOOOO much more fun making them!

Here's a look at some of my favorite writing anchor charts!

Shaped Anchor Charts

I love making anchor charts in a shape!  It makes them super easy to find.  Plus, it gives kids an idea about what the anchor chart is teaching about without having to read a word.   I have found that even my lowest babies can at least find the correct anchor chart when they are shaped.  No, they can't read everything on there, but they work on differentiating between and finding the correct anchor chart and then ask a buddy to help them read the information they need!

This good writers chart is one of the first we make at the beginning of the year.  You can read about it more and the checklist kids use that go along with it in this blog post!

The great thing about the pencil chart is that I made it on poster board the first year and laminated it.  Then, each year, I just add our details on the chart and clean it off for the next year!  Don't want to go to even that much trouble?  I have almost all of my writing and grammar charts premade here.  Just print it and laminate and you are good to go!

This Dr. Seuss hat is always a favorite.  I just get white paper and glue red strips on it.  Then, cut draw the shape of his hat with a pencil.  Cut and outline in black dry erase marker and you are ready to chart!  Find the lesson here.

We make this chart when we introduce informational writing.  It's a great way to list out all of the things kids CAN write to teach about!  Read that lesson here.

Opinion writing is one of my favorite to introduce.  But let's be honest, that's just because we eat Oreos and those are totally my favorite store bought cookie.... #teachertruth  You can read this lesson here and find the anchor chart here.

And another one of my laminate and reuse anchor charts!  (Just don't pay attention to that ugly spot the laminator made on my cute anchor chart! #sosad  Read about how I introduce how to writing here.

Illustrated Anchor Charts

Adding illustrations to anchor charts makes them accessible to beginning readers.  And although I love a good shaped anchor chart, sometimes, a basic chart is best.  But I always, ALWAYS add visuals, drawings, or labels with my chart to make it easier to understand and read.

***PRO TIP: Make the anchor chart skeleton before the lesson.  During the lesson, fill in the words with the kids and maybe some quick sketching of visuals.  Then, after the lesson, go back and take the time to "pretty up" the visuals to make them interesting to read.  Then, when you review the chart, the kids will be so excited to see how it looks finished!

This is one of our first charts we make together to set up our routines for Writers' Workshop.

Here's another example of a chart that is enhanced with illustrations.  I gave examples of each of these strategies to help illustrate.  This is one of the many writing charts that you can find pre-made templates for you to just fill in with your kids here.

This narrative writing chart could've easily been a shaped chart.  And I probably would make it that way the next time I do this one.  In fact, I think this one would be great to cut out each piece of the burger, laminate and add the parts of writing to it.  Then, add velcro to the chart and pieces and literally "build" the stories together with kids!

Anchor Charts With A Bold Design

When it's not easy to make a shaped anchor chart, I try to use a bold design with my anchor chart.  Anything that will make it stand out and be easy to find, understand, and use.

This anchor chart is used all. the. time. in my room.  And I think part of it is because of the bold design.  It's fun and engaging and more visual than text so it's non-threatening to read.  Find the lesson for this chart here.

A list of verb tenses on an anchor chart is a waste of paper.  Young kids will just get lost.  But adding words to arrows that symbolize their verb tense helps primary students engage and understand the content better!  Find the resource to teach this lesson here and the anchor chart template here.

Find the lesson plan for this order word lesson here and the pre-made template here.

Foil for an anchor chart?  1000% YES!  I get SOOOO many giggles when I whip out the foil to use as an anchor chart!  For this one shown in the picture, I just printed out the "rolls" on yellow paper, cut them out and glued the pieces to the foil.  Then, we were ready to brainstorm synonyms together.

Another simple tip: it helps to use as many colors as possible when you are listing or brainstorming words, phrases or facts.  It helps the kids read the words more easily because the same color isn't all running together.  And also, when they ask, "Which one says, 'screamed'?" A friend can just answer, "It's green."  That makes it easy for the kid to find the word on their own!

The synonym chart along with almost all of the others in this post are available as pre-made templates to print and fill out with your kids.  Find the bundle of grammar, opinion, narrative, and informative anchor charts here.

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