Who doesn’t love a good anchor chart!? While it’s clear that we love a beautiful, professionally designed poster as much as the next person, there’s just something about a huge piece of paper and a stack of colored markers that we can’t ignore. So we pulled together some of our favorite anchor chart ideas from teachers all around the country. After all, teachers love to share, just like us!
Read on for tips from the Teach Starter teacher team on creating anchor charts with your students, plus photos of some of our favorites from around the US!
What Is an Anchor Chart?
You’ve seen them all over Pinterest and heard about them in the teacher’s lounge, but if you’re new to the anchor chart realm, let’s catch up! An anchor chart is a way to display procedures, processes, strategies, or concepts that are important to current units of work. They serve as instructional support tools or “anchors.”
Made from a big piece of paper, and incredibly easy to make — really, you just need some markers, and you’re all set — anchor charts are a fantastic way to support the creation of a visible classroom. More importantly than that, anchor charts cater specifically to your student group and their learning goals.
There are three basic types of anchor charts you will likely end up using in the classroom:
- Procedural anchor charts reinforce the teaching of classroom routines and procedures. For example, you may use them to inform fast finishers on what procedures to follow when they finish early.
- Strategy or process anchor charts support students in developing strategic behaviors. So you may set up a worked example of a problem on your strategy anchor chart, for example.
- Vocabulary anchor charts provide exactly what the name implies — vocabulary that students learned during a lesson, sort of like a glossary to refer back to.
How Do You Create an Anchor Chart?
Creating an anchor chart should be a collaborative process with your students. The goal is to teach as you create the chart and then for the chart to remain as a visual reminder of the lesson they just learned — or learned a while ago!
Here are the steps to creating a stellar — and effective — anchor chart.
- Create an outline or frame. This will not only help you in building, but it also helps lead the students’ eyes through the chart. A good anchor chart really stands out to students — which is why we created anchor chart borders, title, and lettering guidance to make your anchor charts look good AND stand out!
- Add a heading. What’s the objective of the anchor chart? What does it teach students? This is your heading!
- Talk it through with your students. This is the crux of a successful anchor chart — discussing what should be included with your students. Not only will this help you tell what they took from the lesson (kind of like an exit ticket for the whole class), it also helps to remind students of the lesson and cement the knowledge in their minds. What’s more, being part of the creation gives your students buy-in and ensures they’re more connected to the objective of the anchor chart.
- Hang your anchor chart where students can see it. This is the goal, after all!
Take a look at these amazing anchor charts and see how their teacher creators have broken down important information for their students.
Anchor Chart Ideas
Prefixes and Suffixes
Toy Story fans will love the Slinky Dog reference in this ELA anchor chart for teaching prefixes and suffixes. Not sure you have the drawing skills to match Pixar? Don’t worry; Massachusetts third-grade teacher Sierra says she projected this one onto the paper and traced it!
Photo courtesy of Massachusetts third-grade teacher Sierra
See our prefixes and suffixes collection for further engagement!
My Rights As a Reader
Alaska teacher Mr. Christian was inspired by Daniel Pennac’s book The Rights of the Reader to share this anchor chart with his class to let them know there’s more to reading than just grabbing a book off the shelf.
Photo courtesy of Alaska Kindergarten-first grade teacher Mr. Christian
Class Goals Anchor Chart
Clear goals are important, and Oklahoma teacher Kaylee Williams made this anchor chart not only to give her students a goal to focus on but help them chart their progress. As she explained, “We decided on a goal we wanted to focus on mastering first & what our reward would be when we accomplished it. Both classes decided they wanted to work on bringing their best selves & all items needed to class each day. We discussed what this looked like and started working hard on it! They’ve been doing so well to meet this goal, my homeroom actually finished the checklist & got their reward yesterday!”
Photo courtesy of Oklahoma fifth and sixth-grade teacher Kaylee Williams
Anchor Chart for Spelling
What an awesome layout for this key elementary spelling concept! First-grade teacher Melissa Bergsteinsson adds to this chart each week after introducing a new vowel.
Photo courtesy of California first-grade teacher Melissa Bergsteinsson
Letters, Words, and Sentences
Another amazing early literacy anchor chart here – this time turned into a hands-on activity where students helped to sort and glue the letters, words, and sentences onto the chart! This chart comes from kindergarten teacher Jessica Hernandez.
Photo courtesy of Kindergarten teacher Jessica Hernandez
Colorful, succinct, focused. Another great classroom routines anchor chart, this chart that lets fast finishers know exactly what they can do next so they don’t disturb their classmates with calling out comes from Kindergarten teacher Allyssa Knight.
Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Kindergarten teacher Allysa Knight
See more ideas for fast finishers!
With the main idea in the center and each element or aspect surrounding it, this is another simple way to organize information for your anchor charts visually. This context clues chart comes from kindergarten teacher Amanda Wagenhofer.
Photo courtesy of Iowa Kindergarten teacher Amanda Wagenhofer
Color in the Lines Anchor Chart
Kindergarten teachers Starlett and Kristin set their expectations for their kinders when it comes to coloring with this fun anchor chart!
Photo courtesy of Virginia Kindergarten and first-grade teachers Starlett and Kristin
Just Add Water
How cute is this science anchor chart about how plants grow from Pennsylvania Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Lyon? The dots and dashes around each element are such a simple way to add a visual pop.
Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Lyon
Perhaps the only thing missing from this OREO Writing anchor chart display is an actual packet of Oreos. Yum! The chart comes from first-grade teacher Alexandria Sirles and is a great demonstration for opinion writing.
Photo courtesy of first-grade teacher Alexandria Sirles
Wow! There are definitely some skilled teachers out there with a great eye for color and visual balance! However, if you are more of a “print and hang” kind of person, you will love our range of information posters for your classroom. Print and display!