Anchor Charts: An Alternative Instructional Strategy

Anchor charts

Shown is an anchor chart created by sixth grade students tackling the MD College and Career Readiness Standard RL.6.2.

The results were not gleaming.

Actually, it looked awful in some classes.

However, the same excuses were coming “those kids struggle” and “sometimes kids just don’t get it.” As each of those phrases were valid, there becomes a greater question to ponder.

So, what are we going t0 do about it?

It was not OK to  move on when many of our scholars were still struggling with certain learning targets because many future learning targets stemmed from having those prior skills. Fortunately, not long after a supervisor in our district did a professional development session which required us to focus closely on the standards we are teaching.

Standards and Evidence Charts

Being saturated in the standards allows an teacher to fully grasp what is meant behind the standard. Often teachers, myself included, tackle a standard without fully knowing how to get their students to mastering that standard. Reading the standard, we re-word it to simplify it for our scholars, but not using the academic vocabulary is hurting the scholar.

Therefore, it was suggested teachers utilize the exact vocabulary in the standard as much as possible and teach the scholars what it means. Phrases such as delineate, author’s presentation, and many more are foreign to our young learners. However, if the expectation is for scholars to know and accurately use those terms and it will happen.

It has taken a lot of extra time unpacking the Learning Target (posted standard on the board), but students are now capable of understanding what they are doing before it actually occurs in the classroom. To take it one step farther, evidence charts (for reading and math) are being used to measure scholar understanding. This chart simplifies the process of figuring out how to assess your scholars.

Is it the only manner? No. You can absolutely go deeper by providing alternative assessment opportunities, which teachers should be doing, but a having a starting point is very beneficial.

Anchor Charts

Now the standard is set and it has been determined how to assess it, creating an instructional pathway to get scholars to that mastery point is the next step. An alternative strategy is using an anchor chart which mirrors the standard.

Being a new concept, I did a traditional I Do, We Do, and You Do with easier texts and worked my way up to the rigor of sixth grade.

Caught by surprise, scholars found the initial I Do and We Do fairly easy. Constantly referencing back to the learning target and previous work, they felt at ease when tackling the tougher text. The data results from utilizing the anchor charts were much more impressive than previous data charts.


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