Showing posts with label anchor charts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anchor charts. Show all posts
I LOVE a good anchor chart.  If you've spent any time in this little space, you know that!  I especially love making anchor charts stand out for kids so they can easily find what they need.

I love adding more visuals, and using unusual shapes, colors, or designs to help my littles find them in the room and actually use them!

Reading anchor charts are different for me because I have some that are whole group charts and some that I make as "mini" anchor charts and store in my guided reading folder for that group and just get out for that group during small group instruction.

Here's a look at some of my favorite reading anchor charts.

Building Great Readers

At the beginning of the year, it's important to set the expectations for read to self time and how readers will "behave" in our classrooms during the year!

I love talking about our reading stamina!  This takes up the first few weeks of our reading time as we are practicing learning to read to ourselves quietly.  We use this chart to not only talk about appropriate reading behavior, but also to set a beginning of the year goal for read to self time.

You can see on this chart that we were only up to 5 minutes of read to self time at this point.  I usually start with 1 or 2 minutes depending on my class and we increase 1-2 minutes each day.  I set my timer and they read.  If I see any "stamina breakers," we stop, come to the carpet, talk about it, and return to our reading spots to try again.  We get two tries to be able to color in our stamina chart and meet our minutes goal for the day!  They love this challenge and it's super easy to refer to throughout the year!

This anchor chart sits in our classroom library and is one we make at the beginning of the year as we learn how to take care of our books!

Fiction Anchor Charts

This chart is an oldie, but goodie.  I make it every year and we use it all. year. long.  I love drawing it with my kids, but you can get it premade here!

Later in the year, we talk about character feelings and how they change.  And we talk about all of the ways characters change throughout a story.  You can read more about how we use this anchor chart in our lesson with the book, When Sophie Gets Angry, here in this post.

Fiction stories are also great places to look for adjectives in the books.  We use this chart when we are beginning to talk about character traits and describing characters in stories!  Of course, this chart is also helpful in many of these reading charts eventually are, but it's a great one to start with in reading! You can find a template for this chart here.

Non-Fiction Anchor Charts

My favorite non-fiction reading charts are our shared research charts. These are so fun to make and I love them because we use them in reading, in science/social studies, and then in writing!  In reading, we use these charts to record facts about the person or topic we are learning about.  I love making these charts into fun shapes that help the kids remember who or what the chart was about!  You can read more about this lesson here.

During the second half of the year, we start talking about facts and opinions and read non-fiction books to look for how authors write both opinion and fact sentences in their non-fiction books sometimes!

Soon, we talk more about the kinds of facts authors include and chart interesting and important facts.  As we read our texts, we recall facts and decide if they are important (must include) or interesting (fun to include) and list those together.  Read more about this activity in this post.

What are some of your go-to reading 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.

It's no secret that I LOOOOVE a good anchor chart.

That's probably why I have an entire Pinterest board called "Anchor Chart Addiction."  It's definitely a legit problem!

Here's a look back at some of my favorite Math anchor charts we've made over the years.

Math Practices Charts

I use the Standards for Math Practices as our goals for each week in math.  You can read about that routine in detail here. When we introduce it we start the anchor chart and then add to the anchor charts throughout the year as we learn more and understand more about that math practice standard.

Here are a few examples from most of our standards for math practice using our old chart printouts! #throwbackpics Find the updated charts here!

Number Sense Charts

In addition to our Standards for Math Practices charts, sometimes we need specific charts to help us understand a bigger number understanding in math!

Our fractions chart from when we discovered how to equally divide shapes. Read more about the activity with this chart here.

When we learned about relationships between numbers and equations, we learned about related facts with this fun jingle that we charted together.  Read about that activity in detail here.

One of my all-time favorite math charts is one of the simplest too!  When my kids discover commutative property during math talks or our math wall time, we chart it.

I'm a big believer in calling a spade a spade.  So, equations that use the commutative property are not "flip flop facts," because that's not what real mathematician's call it.  They call it commutative property.  And so do my first graders! #steppingoffsoapbox

BUT, I love using the flip flop as a visual anchor chart reminder of what the commutative property is!

During our Counting Collections routine (read more here), we chart our expectations for building number sense during this weekly time.

Math Skills Charts

While about 80-90% of my yearly math instruction is spent on building number sense and algebraic thinking, we do spend some time on math skills too!

But since we don't spend much time with them, we need fabulous charts to help these skills stick!  Here are a few of my favorites!

When we work on our data investigations, we use this chart throughout that week to add to our ideas about what data displays need.  Read about that engaging investigation here.

We did a similar investigation on measurement using these digital math talks slides on measurement.

And more measurement with our pumpkin investigation.  Can you tell I like to make anchor charts into shapes! #easytofind

And, of course, our clock investigations and crafts which you can read more about here!
If you've followed my corner of cyber real estate for long, then you know I LOVE a good anchor chart!  Spring time and a this weather unit are the perfect opportunity to make some fabulous anchor charts with kids that support great learning.

So, here's a look at 12 of my favorite weather anchor charts for the primary classroom!

Print and Write Charts

Anchor charts don't have to take hours to create!  Who has time for that?? Many anchor charts in my room are used for shared research.  That means, I set them up before hand with the titles/headings and then we fill in the facts together as a class.

This day and night chart I just printed out and then recorded each word in a different color.  This is to help when they are using these facts to write.  If I can use a coordinating color, I do.  But it doesn't always work out that way.

Here's another chart that was printed.  I just printed the title and star headings, glued it to my chart paper and was ready to fill in with my kids!

**TIP: Don't want to remake it every year?  Just laminate the chart after you attach the headings and title and before you fill in with kids.  Then, just clean off the filled in part each year and save for your next group of kiddos!**

Illustrated Anchor Charts

Charts that are going to have a lot of text need to be broken up visually for primary students.  A chart with all black letters and no images on it is very overwhelming to read!  

I love this chart for so many reasons.  I used some color coding (blue and red for cause and purple for effect) to help show the key phrases for each word.

The illustrations help break this chart up nicely also!  And, no, I didn't do all of this with the kids.  Before the lesson, I made the Cause and Effect title and that's it.

During the lesson, I added the key words and then as we brainstormed cause and effect examples, I added the words and the arrow outlines with the kids.  I also drew the outlines for some of the pictures...but no coloring or details.

After the lesson, I went back with crayons to color in and add details to the illustrations.

Here's another example of using illustrations with the anchor chart.  Nothing fancy about these illustrations...just enough detail to help my early readers find the words they need to use in their writing!

Using Shapes With Anchor Charts

Visually speaking, shapes are very powerful for anchor charts.  They can help kids quickly find the chart they are looking for on a wall full of anchor charts.  And they can be an additional aid in helping early readers understand the chart.

When we are learning about weather types, we are filing out a new shared research chart almost every day.  So, they need to stand out some way.  And making the chart the shape of the weather type makes this so easy!

I was also thoughtful in the color of paper I used for these charts to help them coordinate! (Note: these are all made from large sized construction paper!)

Student-Made Anchor Charts

My favorite charts to make are the ones kids help me create!  These are charts that we've brainstormed together on and kids added their own clouds or labels to the charts.  Both of these charts are from the first year I made them--so I filled in the clouds and labels and the kids added them because I wanted them to be "perfectly cute."

But in the years after these, I learned it's so much better when the kids get to write their own words for the clouds and labels (or whatever you are using!) I have even had them sign their names to them so they can take ownership of helping with that chart!

You can find TONS of these anchor chart templates and more in this integrated weather unit.  Just print out the templates and fill them in with your class!  Or if you want them to be a larger size, pull the templates up on your projector and trace them onto butcher paper.  Find them here.

Early finishers.

The kids college didn't prepare me for.

I mean, when I wrote out my 30 minute lesson plan with 20 minutes of work time, student-teacher me fully expected all kids to be working exactly 20 minutes on my assignment, group project, whatever.

Boy, was I in for it the first time I taught a lesson.

You mean to tell me some kids will take 5 minutes to finish the assignment, some 10, some 15 minutes, some 45 minutes, and almost NO ONE will take my planned 20 minutes to finish the assignment???

THAT was a rude awakening!

10 years in the classroom later, and I learned exactly how to manage all of these different finish times.  I definitely didn't get it right the first year, but it was definitely closer by year 10.

When I Finish, I Can...

Somewhere into my first year teaching, I came up with an I can list for my early finishers.  And at first, it wasn't that great.  It basically said,

"When I finish, I a book."


But over the years, I found many more things to add to that list that I was comfortable with my early finishers doing and that would actually challenge them.

It's important to note that there are PLENTY more things that I could add to this list that would be STEM related and building challenges.  But one thing I've learned is that choices for early finishers need to be challenging and engaging, but also easy to clean up.  If it takes the early finishers three times as long to clean up a mess they got out just 5 minutes ago, it is instructional time wasted and defeats the point!

So to make it to my list for early finishers, it has to be engaging, challenging, and an easy clean up!

Let's look at 7 things to use for early finishers.

1. Unfinished Work

Okay, so this one isn't glamorous.  And it isn't necessarily engaging and challenging, but it is necessary.

In my classroom, unfinished work is always ALWAYS the first thing early finishers do.  Now, many of my early finishers don't have work that is unfinished because that's why they are early finishers.

But some of my early finisher friends are ones who...ya know... rush through writing because they don't like writing and do "just enough" in the messiest of ways to finish through.  And those kids often have work from other areas they need to finish.  And sometimes that's all the encouragement they need to actually go back and do their best work on their writing so they can actually get to the other, more "engaging" early finisher options! :) #realtalk

Each kid has a folder in his/her desk for unfinished work.  And unless that folder is empty, early finishers will camp out here.

2. Reading

Yep, you read that right.  Reading is still on my list.  Because there are plenty of kiddos out there who are engaged, challenged and on-task when their nose is in a book.  My own kid is one of those.  Give him a good book, and you won't hear from him for at least 30 minutes!

But reading isn't just about babysitting.

I always give my early finishers specific things to read for specific reasons:
  • familiar reading (like guided reading books, poetry folder, etc to practice fluency)
  • independent reading (like library books, books they've chosen on their independent reading level, etc.)
  • content reading (like books that are connected to our big idea in science or social studies)

Those content books are kept in a tub in our room for those early finishers to browse through and read.

So our early finisher chart says, "I can read to practice fluency" and "I can read to learn more about our big idea."

Adding purpose to their reading adds challenge and engagement.

3. Puzzles

The next thing I love to do is give puzzles.  This gives a choice for my math minded firsties!  I always have 100's chart puzzles on hand for kids to work on alone or with a partner.

These puzzles are easy prep, and can be changed throughout the year to add freshness, but with the same routine, so there is no need to teach how to do this over and over!

Also, when I return to the classroom, I would love to add a class puzzle!  This is an idea that came to me while I have been on mommy leave.  Our family loves having a puzzle going--especially during the winter!

I would love to have a table in our room devoted to a class puzzle with 100 pieces or more for kids to sit at and work on as they finish early.  What a great way to encourage collaboration, teamwork and logic all while engaging and challenging early finishers!  Plus, there's no need to clean it up until the puzzle is finished!

4. Handwriting

Handwriting always seems to get cut in my first grade classroom.  We have time for it the first few weeks and then once guided reading starts, handwriting goes! #realtalk

But that doesn't mean handwriting doesn't need work.  And many times, early finishers struggle the most with taking their time to write neatly. #amiright?

I actually got this idea from another teacher late in my teaching career.  We save extra handwriting practice pages from the beginning of the year and put them in a bucket.  Then, early finishers can go grab a page and they practice writing with a marker or crayon.

Because everyone knows that handwriting is way more fun with markers! :)

Later in the year, when we run out of pages, I just print some off from my handwriting packet and add to the tub as needed!

Truth Time:  Some of my early finisher friends, have this choice as a must before moving on, because they need the extra practice (and don't always want to choose to work on it!)

5. Journal Writing

This one has been on my early finishers chart from the beginning!  Sometimes, kids just finish writing from writers' workshop.

But I also have letter paper available.  Kids can write a private note to me about whatever they want (best way to get info on kids--ever!) or a note to a friend.  Notes are turned in to me and then I read them and deliver them to the other kids (after I make sure they are ok) as needed!

The notes that are written to me, I try and write a quick note back to those kiddos before I return them--which makes this choice super engaging for lots of attention seeking friends!

6. Board Games

Here's another one I plan to add when I return to the classroom: Board Games!  Over the last couple of years, I have learned how important specific board games can be in growing critical thinking skills and logic in our kids!  You can read more about that in this blog post.

Board games that encourage these important skills and are easy and quick to clean up are on my list!  For early finishers, I would prefer games that I can limit the players to 2 players only to help the noise level.  In my classroom early finishers always work alone or with one partner only just to help the management!

You can find my must have games for the classroom in this post and plenty of these are easy clean up and good for just 2 players!

7. Counting Collections

I just love counting collections.  And, yes, this is probably the one that's the most difficult to clean up quickly, but if managed correctly, can be done.

If you are unfamiliar with Counting Collections, start with this post and then meet me back here. :)

Now that we all know what Counting Collections is, we can all see how fabulous this could be for early finishers!  This is not one I had in my classroom (other than our regular CC routine), but I definitely plan to add it to my early finisher list when I return to the classroom after Mommy break!

Many counting tubs can be done quickly with an easy clean up.  Some can't.  So, you will need to be choosy about which tubs qualify for early finishers.

The best way to organize this is to have a separate shelf for early finisher Counting Collections.  I plan to have just 2-3 tubs or ziplock bags of seasonal items to count.  Things I'm thinking about that would be easy cleanup would be...

  • Seasonal Diecuts
  • Pop Cubes or other math manipulatives
  • Small Stickers - great for fine motor practice and easy to record counting

Of course, just like regular Counting Collections, students will need to record how they counted to extend their thinking!

Managing Early Finishers

From the first week of school, we have our early finishers chart posted in our room.  But it's not a complete chart.  It usually just starts out with reading only as a choice!  That's because that's one of the few things we know a routine for during the first week of school.

I'd be asking for it if I let kids play board games and puzzles the first week!

As the year progresses, we add unfinished work, handwriting, journal writing, and more "hands on" options later in the year!  For example, once our counting collections regular routine is strong and kids can handle it independently while I pull groups, then I know they are ready for it to be a choice for early finishers!

Want the early finisher chart I use?  Download it here!
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