I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” There’s so much truth and wisdom in there. With a minor change this truth can apply to learning in our classrooms. It might sound something like this: Tell a student a fact and they learn it for a day, involve them in the lesson and they learn it for a lifetime. Involving our students in the learning process is the difference between learning for a day and mastery. This is why I love and use interactive anchor charts in many, if not most, of my lessons.
What is an Interactive Anchor Chart?
As you probably know, an anchor chart is a chart or poster you use in the teaching of a lesson to display information or examples about what you are teaching. An anchor chart is a great learning tool because it gives students something to refer back to after the lesson.
An interactive anchor chart is a chart that is not ready-made before the lesson. It’s incomplete or even blank. The students help to create the anchor chart as part of the lesson. Not only does this provide the same learning reminder as a traditional anchor chart, but since students were involved in creating it there’s a sense of ownership in it too.
When asked about a lesson or skill using an anchor chart as a learning tool, students often read or provide the exact information found on a traditional anchor chart. However, when asked about a lesson or skill using an interactive anchor chart students are able to provide much more detail about what they learned, recalling more than what is shown on the chart. That’s the power of interaction.
How I Use Interactive Anchor Charts
In my classroom, I really love starting with a blank sheet of chart paper. As I introduce the the topic or skill, the students help me add the title or focus to the chart. When teaching letters, numbers, or word families this starts with adding the letters or numbers to the middle of the page.
As I teach, we add more to the chart. When teaching word families, one of the favorite (and most effective) parts is turning the letters in word family characters. The students just go crazy for this and they love trying to guess what each letter will become. This connection of the letter to a character really helps them remember the word family and its sound.
Once we have gone over the letters, their sounds and the characters, it is time to add some examples to the chart. I might offer a couple of examples at the beginning to get them started as I teach and point out the word family sound.
Then, I have the students provide the other examples. We add the word cards that the students helped to create and if a student comes up with another word we add that too! It’s all part of the process that leads to them taking ownership of the lesson and the learning.
The interactive anchor chart is the first step in the lesson process in my classroom. Find out more about how I teach Word Families here.
Using Interactive Anchor Charts as Learning Tools
Once the chart is done, the learning is not over. The anchor charts remain on display in the classroom. Due to space limitations I can only have a limited number, but I like to rotate them out as we learn or review skills and concepts.
I teach my students from the beginning of the year that the classroom is filled with learning tools. I encourage them to use the learning tools to help them when they are working. Not only does this include anchor charts, but it also includes things like the classroom alphabet, the word wall, the desk nameplates and more. By teaching students to use the tools around them, you can teach them to be an active part in the learning process and to not just rely on asking for the answer. I don’t know about you, but that’s a skill I want my students to have in class and in life!
As students work on practice activities, writing journals, or anything really, I refer them to the anchor chart. It’s so amazing to watch as they find that connection to help them work independently.
Creating Individual Anchor Charts
After we have created our class anchor chart, I love to follow up the lesson by allowing students to create their own, individual, anchor chart. This is not only a great reinforcement activity but it gives students an opportunity to work through the lesson and find areas of misunderstanding or confusion.
Students create a smaller version of the anchor chart complete with the title, characters and examples. The students love having their own chart and I often find them referring back to them when an anchor chart is no longer posted in the classroom.
Remember that issue about space, well these smaller, individual anchor charts are great to post in the classroom too. They take up so much less space. I like to creating skill specific areas around the room that group like skills and concepts together. So one one area of the wall you might find all our number charts and in another area all our word family charts.
Learning Word Families with Interactive Anchor Charts
Over the years I have created so many different interactive anchor charts because I believe in their effectiveness so much. Look at some of the fun you can have with these word family anchor charts.
You can find all of these word family anchor charts and activities in the Emily Education store.
You can also find each of the word family anchor chart sets individually.
More Interactive Anchor Charts
If you love interactive anchors as much as I do, you might want to use them for more than word families. Here are just a few of my favorites. Check out the store for the skill or concept you are teaching. You just might find exactly what you need to help your students get more involved in the learning process.
Save these Ideas!
Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly and easily come back when you need more tips and ideas for using interactive anchor charts in your classroom.