Monday, September 26, 2011

Too Many Anchor Charts!

Have you ever looked around your classroom and wondered where in the world you were going to hang another anchor chart?  I have! There's only so much space in the classroom.  Let me first say, I don't believe a classroom should be papered with anchor charts.  When you have too many up, they sort of lose their meaning.  Your little friends stop really seeing them.  They just blend after a while.  This is why I like to keep them up for a while and then rotate them out.  I also keep my anchor charts posted in the same spot in my room so my friends' little eyes always know where to look for that information.

The problem is the skills we teach on those anchor charts can never be put away.  They're skills we want out friends to keep using all year long, and sometimes they do need a reminder.  That's where my anchor chart binder comes in handy.
This binder stores a picture of most of the anchor charts we make.  Before I tell you how I set it up, let me tell you why I love it.
  1. It keeps my anchor charts available all year long.
  2. It's handy for my friends.  They know where it is and know how to use it.
  3. It's a great reminder for me for the next year.  I am a believer in making 90% of my charts with the class.  I may set up the title and clip art or graphic I want on it, but the content is generated with my friends.  Of course, I know what must make the chart, but you would be surprised at the different things that come up each year with different classes that we end up adding.
  4. It's a great resource to use with my small group and individual student meetings to target specific needs.
Here's how it's set up.  There are three sections in this binder.  The first is reading, the second writing, and the third is miscellaneous.  I try to keep only true instructional or reference type anchor charts in the reading and writing sections with any other literacy charts in the misc. section.

It starts out with an index in the front, behind the divider tab.  The anchor chart index lists the date I gave out the chart, the title of the chart, and the page number. The charts are in clear plastic sleeves, so I just put a small sticker on the bottom corner with the page number.


Now, this might seem like a lot of work, but it really isn't.  I always have my small point and shoot camera in my pocketbook.  About once a week after school, I take a quick look around my room and shoot some pictures.  If I have time in school, I download them and send them to our school printer.  If not, I do it at home.  It really is just that simple.  Here are some pictures of the reading anchor charts I have posted about before in the binder.


I only print out one color picture, but I make a few black and white copies which I stick in the sleeve behind the color picture.  This is when the binder comes in handy when I'm meeting with my friends.  If a friend is having trouble with a particular skill or strategy, as the year goes on I can usually find the appropriate chart in this binder, give a quick refresher lesson, and then send them off with a copy of it for their personal reference.

That's how I keep track of my anchor charts.  I don't really have room to store tons of charts, and as I wrote earlier , I like to create them with my students.  This has been a great way to manage the charts.  If you have another method that's working for you, I would love to hear about it.  :-)

UPDATE!
Wow! Your response to my little binder has been amazing!  Thanks so much!  I love that so many of you found this idea helpful.  A few people have asked it I could share the cover page.  I wish I could but I didn't save it.  It would be so easy to make your own, though.  I just typed the title in a word doc.  Then, I just played with changing the fonts and font sizes to make it look the way it does.  For the picture, I just Googled images with key words like confused, questions, etc. until I found a picture I liked.  Then, I copied and pasted it in.  The orange is just magic marker I used to color in the letters. Finally, since it is just a word doc printed on regular paper, I put a piece of orange construction paper behind it.  It really is easy to do.  The great thing is you can design it to look anyway you want yours to look.  I did save the anchor chart index page that goes in the front of each section, so I'm happy to share that.  Here is the link for it: Anchor Chart Index Page.  So, have some fun making your binder!

51 comments:

  1. Such a GREAT idea! I just found your blog and am looking forward to reading more ...

    Jen
    Runde's Room

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  2. Love, love, love this idea. Could you post your binder spine and cover and tracking sheet? Thanks so much!

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  3. Love the idea. I will have to incorporate this. Thank so much
    Denise
    mrscokersfourthgraders@blogspot.com

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  4. Great idea! I found this through Pinterest. :)

    -Amy
    http://krazyaboutkiddos.blogspot.com

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  5. Love this idea! Can I borrow or (buy) your binder?

    So glad I found your blog. You have wonderful ideas. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    http://ericashep.blogspot.com

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    1. Can I please buy your anchor pages? I see a lot of posts to buy, but no response from you. Just wondering.

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    2. Hi Anonymous. I am sorry, I thought the update I had added a while back cleared up the whole anchor chart thing. I haven't been ignoring requests. I really don't have anything to sell! The update explains the binder cover and has a link to download the index page for it.
      As for the actual anchor charts, I make them up in class as I go. Once I finish using it with my friends, I snap a picture and throw it in the binder. I don't have any anchor charts for sale. While I don't post every anchor chart I do, I try to post on those that go over well. Please feel free to take the ideas and run with it. I always find it better to take the concept and then tailor it for my friends. Your students may need slightly different information included or you can include exapmles that are particular to something you have read in class.
      I hope this helps. If I can help you out with making your own charts, just send me your email and I would be happy to offer some ideas.

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    3. I use a similar idea in my classroom. The difference is each child has an anchor chart duo tang. I take photos of charts we've created together. Then I print them to 8 1/2 by 11 paper. This year, I've given them 3 duo tangs. One for Reading anchor charts, one for Writing and one for Math anchor charts.

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    4. It would be great to create a LiveBinder with these. Can you post your completed index?

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  6. This is fantastic! I am going to share it with the other teachers I work with. I am so glad that I found your blog.

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  7. This is awesome I would love to be able to see/buy all your charts!

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  8. I think this is amazing! I would love to see more pictures of your anchor charts. they look so helpful! Also, can you make the binder cover available on your blog?

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  9. By the way, Im your newest follower... Visit my blog too!

    Maria
    charmedinthirdgrade.blogspot.com

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  10. BRILLIANT!

    I am in love with your ideas. I'm brand new to the blogging world myself, but am so thankful for all of the smart ideas people like you put out there. I can't imagine teaching without all these resources!

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  11. Love it! Shared it with my staff and some other friends.

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  12. Love this...Love your blog! I just stumbled across you from pinterest. I'm relatively new to 4th grade and am really interested in all these anchor charts I've been seeing...is there a book about using them?

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  13. Hi Ringmaster!
    I don't know of one specific book that is all about anchor charts, but they are mentioned and/or pictured in most of the newer professional literacy education books out now. Essentially, they are charts that explicitly give the key points of the lesson's skill or strategy focus. You create them with the kids as you instruct. They then hang in your room for the students and you to refer to as needed. They can be made across all curriculum areas but, I think, are found most in literacy teaching.

    You should know what you want on the chart before you start, but you write it out as you work through the lesson with your students. I find the most effective anchor charts are those that are interactive. The ones where my friends have to add stickys to or generate a lot of the content themselves are the ones they use the most. That's why it is important to not just create a poster prior to class. When the kids have input, they use them more.

    I wish I could direct you to a specific site or book all about anchor charts. Maybe if someone out there knows of one, they can add it to the comments. I hope this was somewhat helpful.

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    Replies
    1. Reading with Meaning, by Debbie Milller. She is the guru of anchor charts!

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  14. This is SUCH a great idea! Thank you for sharing. I just found your blog and now I'm a follower. I know what I will be working on during my teacher work days next week...

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  15. This idea is great. I have done something like this for many years. I call it my Word Closet. I have a rolling hanging bar for clothes, found at Target of course, and hang my charts on pant hangers. The kids can access them for the rest of they year and I can pull then when we need them again for a review.

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  16. Just found your website from Pinterest! I'm so excited to dive and in and see everything! Are most of your Anchor Charts on your blog? I'm new to 5th grade and have been making charts all year as well. But seeing the inside of your binder would be great!!! ;-)

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    1. Hi Unknown. Thanks for coming by my blog. I don't put every anchor chart I do on my blog, but I try to put up some that have been particulary helpful to my friends. As for what is in the anchor chart binder, it really is just pictures of the anchor charts I post here and some of the others that I don't. Honestly, the ones worth seeing I usually post. Hope that helps.

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  17. What a wonderful, helpul, and giving post! Thanks so much! Just found your blog and I'm following now. From a fellow Jersey girl...

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    1. Hi Lisa! Shout out to Jersey!! :-) We should plan a Jersey teacher blogger meet-up one day. Wouldn't that be fun?! Although, other than the two of us, I don't really know of any other Jersey teacher bloggers!

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  18. barbara in san antonioFebruary 25, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Great organizing idea!!! Thanks for sharing.!!! I, too, make the charts with my students. I must confess that it's so hard to throw them away when we're done. Do you find yourself "attached" to a great chart??? I've even had kids ask if they can take them home for their bedroom walls...ha ! (and I always say yes to that request) hahaha

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    1. I do have some anchor charts I just don't want to let go of! How funny is that?!! I love that your kids ask if they can take them home. I get that too, and also always say, "YES!!!!" :-D

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  19. Nancy...what a GREAT idea. I am in a portable so I definitely don't have any space to post many anchor charts. I am definitely setting this up when I get back to school after Spring Break. Thanks again for such a GREAT idea. Joan

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  20. Great way to orgainze!

    I found you through the linky party :) Can't wait to stalk your blog!

    Summyr
    4th grade

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  21. I really wish you would consider selling your binder/photos on TPT. . .I've never done many anchor charts before & would love the examples to go by when I start!

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  22. What a great idea! My favorite part about this is it isn't just something that you, the teacher, can use -- it's something that your little friends can use, too! I love that you've taught them how to leaf through the binder to find the appropriate information and help themselves.

    ...I'm with Lynn -- I've haven't done many anchor charts, and I think seeing your examples would be helpful. I know I'd be purchasing them on TpT! :)

    ~Mrs. K.

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  23. I, too, found your blog through Pinterest! In regards to the requests by many of your followers for a copy of your anchor charts, I found a great post at thereadlinglady.com that explains what they are and how to use them-with information and page numbers to Debblie Miller's book, Reading with Meaning. Folks with little experience with anchor charts may find this helpful. Thank you for sharing your info-makes our jobs so much easier when we all share ideas!

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  24. Love your ideas! I'm a 5th grade teacher too! lets keep in touch :) 5thgradetomfoolery.blogspot.com

    Teri

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  25. I love this! I wish we could buy anchor chart size binders or something to keep them in perfectly! Or someone made them and we could just clip them to a large chart or whatever is used.
    I'm going to put binder cover making on my list to do! I don't know why I didn't think of doing my own earlier!
    Thanks, Michelle

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  26. Love this idea for anchor charts. I had posted on my blog last year how I organize mine- I use a cheap clothes rack that I got at Target and hangers. But I have been looking for a better way that takes up even less space and this is it! I need to start taking some pics!

    Marlene
    I Heart Teaching Elementary

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  27. Great Idea. I found another idea on a different website where a teacher uses pant hangers to hang the charts in a closet. This way they are accessible and can be put up again.

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  28. Hi. I was wondering if you could explain how you used the containers from Walmart for guided reading? Thanks.

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  29. I am "borrowing" this wonderful idea for anchor chart "storage" asap!

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  30. Hi I am your newest follower, I am new to teaching fourth grade, been in kindergarten for the past 6 years...so I LOVE your anchor charts! Happy Blogging!!!

    http://mrsbucaroff.blogspot.com/

    Heather

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  31. Just found your blog through Pinterest! A great idea!!! We have Enoboards in our classroom (similar to Smartboards) so I have made a file of all the anchor charts we have used and when I revisit a topic, I can pull up the chart on the board!! I think i am going to work on creating a binder like yours!!! Thanks for sharing the great idea!!!!!

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  32. This is an awesome idea!! I just graduated college and I did a ton of anchor charts with my kiddos during student teaching! So many infact I ran out of wall space! The kids learned a ton from working together on them! This is a great way to solve my problem! I'm looking to blog more so if anyone has any suggestions I would be interested in hearing them! I guess I don't know where to start of what to put on it?! Thanks for this great idea! Can't wait to read more of your posts.

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  33. Boy I am late to this party but wow what an amazing idea. I was on pinterest when I saw this. I was actually trying to create something along the same lines. I work in an after school program and I figure this will help with our homework time. Thanks for sharing

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  34. This Binder is a great idea. In the past I have taken pictures of my anchor charts before I gave them away to students or threw them out. I just have to figure out how to make it more Kindergarten friendly

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  35. I'm going to be piloting a class set of iPads soon, and I realized ater reading your post that this could be a great thing to do on the iPad. The anchor charts could have their own album in the photos, and every child could have instant access to this important info. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Oh my gosh, Kerri!!!! THANK YOU for the inspiration! On Thursday, before the Christmas break, I was given an iPad for my use and have some available for small group work. It never occurred to me to put the charts in a file on the iPad. LOVE your idea!!!! Thanks!!!

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  36. This is the BEST idea! I am so glad that I stumbled upon it. I will definitely begin working on this ASAP. I am thinking of putting in dividers for subject area anchor charts or maybe separate binders if I have too many. I love anchor charts for building their learning as you go and concept review before a new skill is taught. They are so powerful, but I agree that it is a bad idea to have too many around the room.

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    1. Hi Milly,
      Glad you like the anchor chart binder idea. It is one that works for me every year without fail. :-)
      Nancy

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  37. I love this idea. I plan to use it next year.

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    1. Great, Chelsey! I'm actually thinking of putting together an anchor chart binder kit for my very empty TpT store. It is on my summer to-do list!

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  38. Can I get a copy of your anchor charts? I am a first year special education teacher and am in need of major help.

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  39. I teach special education at the fifth and sixth grade level. I give each student a folder with prongs and ask them to bring in a package of sheet protectors. Each student gets a copy of notes, which are mini anchor charts, for each concept they learn. The sheet protectors keep the notes from getting all marked up and students can also use dry erase markers on certain pages, such as the place value chart. If you email me, I can give you examples. The students are able to take their "notes folders" home and also use it in class. They are all in one place so if they forget how to do exponents at a later date, they can look it up...also, they do not have to take their binders home each night, making their book bags lighter. Examples of pages that I have given students are: subtraction rap poem, order of operations, long division rules, place value chart, vocabulary words with examples, TouchMath chart, and multiplication chart. The students use their folders daily.

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