Avoid Another #PinterestFail with These No-Fuss Classroom Anchor Chart Tips

Monday, January 23, 2017 -- Madison Michell

We all know THAT teacher. The one who’s handwriting looks like a font and never slants off the page. The one who can whip out a pack of markers and sketch out a concept with his or her class on command. The one whose classroom walls are covered with gleaming examples of every Pinterest-featured chart you’ve only hoped to replicate. While we applaud those educators, there’s no need to worry if you didn’t answer yes to any of the above.

So, step away from the crayon box and put down the glitter glue! We have three tips that will help you create anchor charts that still provide the reference guide or visual aid to support learning, without becoming your weekend project.

1. Cut it out

Don’t like your handwriting? Make your next anchor chart a cut and paste activity instead. Turn on that 64-point font and go to town creating the rules for your reading center or the steps of the scientific method. Then, put it all together on the spot with your students. It will benefit your kids’ learning to see a concept come to life in front of them, especially if you’re introducing the topic for the first time. Get your students involved by having them add the pieces to the puzzle and then draw in any additional arrows or shapes to connect the dots using your handy Mr. Sketch markers.

2. Up-cycle what works

I know, I JUST said it’s important that the learning unfolds in front of your students, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reuse an old anchor chart if you struck gold the first time. Just find new ways to freshen it up. Maybe your students can brainstorm new ideas to help explain cause and effect or define accountable talk using index cards or sticky notes. Make these new elements part of your existing anchor chart using tape or magnets. Another classroom favorite to spice things up—bust out the Wikki Stix. These reusable wax sticks adhere great to paper and can be used to help underline a key word or box out a particular concept. When you’re finished delivering your lesson, they peel right off without a problem.

3. Make it personal

Sometimes an anchor chart doesn’t need to be poster-sized for all to see and share together. It’s important to remember that anchor charts don’t have to involve the traditional chart paper. So, the next time you find the perfect idea to display a writing checklist of best practices or explore an important historical figure, don’t feel like you need to draw your own version; print out a notebook-sized version for your students to leverage independently instead. Do you use interactive notebooks with your students? Smaller samplings of oversized anchor charts make great additions. In instances where you might not need a class set, get a few copies laminated and include them in one of your classroom centers where they’re needed most.

Now that you’ve got a few new tricks up your sleeve, it’s time to get inspired! Take a peek at our Anchor Charts Pinterest board for some of our favorite ideas. And, check out Edmentum’s 2-in-1 literacy solution, Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress. In addition to supporting a digital individualized approach to developing reading skills, these programs also feature a rich variety of printable teacher resources—including anchor charts!