Co-Create Anchor Charts

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We had some discussion in my school recently about anchor charts, and whether they should be teacher created or student created. I confess, I shy away from completely student created charts.  I think it is hard for young children to come up with one picture or symbol, and then consistently remember what it means.  If we have a shared anchor chart, it is much easier to remind them of what each thing means.

However, I do really believe in including kids in the chart process.  Thus, the co-created chart.  We have been working on this with our nonfiction unit.  When I teach a minilesson about a nonfiction feature, I often ask kids to go explore in their own books and look for that feature.  For example, once I teach them about the table of contents, I ask them to go work with the table of contents in their independent reading books.  When they do this, I make my way around the room with my camera, taking photos of the examples they find.

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This serves a few purposes.  First, my kids are very on task during this work time.  They really want me to take a picture of what they find, so they are working hard.  Second, I can use these pictures for a great teaching share time.  I can project them on the SMARTboard, and show the kids what everyone found.  They love seeing their finds up there!  Finally, I have photos for the anchor chart!

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I usually create the anchor myself, and reveal each component to the kids.  When I reveal part of the chart, the kids are thrilled to see their table of contents (or caption, or diagram, or whatever) on the chart.  They really own a part of the chart, and they remember that feature forever more.

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I can’t include them all, of course, but I try to make sure that I have things that a variety of students found.  And of course, they relate to what their friends do as well, so they still have a personal connection to the chart.  Especially for young learners, this connection is key.

Do you co-create anchor charts with your kids?  Do you use student created charts, or teacher created charts?  What is your thinking behind your choices?

2 Responses to Co-Create Anchor Charts

  1. Sharon Strickland May 11, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    Karen, I love the idea of taking pictures of these text features and projecting them. I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for sharing this great idea! I’m thinking this idea of taking pictures would work for a review at the end of the day, a shout out to someone working especially hard, a group working together ….they love it when I get the ipad out to take pictures. I can’t wait to try your idea of projecting what they find! Love it!, and I’m a huge fan of anchor charts too. I like your idea of co-creating them.
    Sharon

    • Karen Langdon May 12, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      Thanks Sharon! Like you said, the kids LOVE when you start taking pictures, and they really show off their best work! I did a post not too long ago about projecting their good work during share time – sounds similar to your plan. Have a look! http://www.teachingace.com/using-technology-to-elevate-share-time/ I think it is so cool because then they really view themselves as “expert” of that particular skill, and they own it. Have fun!