The number one way to help students succeed in math begins with making learning visual for them. Visuals help give them something to “jog their memory” when it comes to those crucial concepts. The best way to give your students these tools is by utilizing math anchor charts in the classroom. How do you do that? With math anchor charts of course! This post is all about how and why I use math anchor charts in the classroom and how they help students THRIVE.
Anchor charts are a great way to help students “anchor”, or reference back, to their learning. It’s a visual reminder of all those important skills and strategies that have been practiced. They provide support in helping students become independent learners by letting them choose the strategy that works best for them. It also allows them the freedom to try out different approaches they’ve learned and to make mistakes because that’s important too! We learn most from our mistakes so encouraging those to happen in the classroom, especially in math, is great.
Anchor charts are great for student engagement. You want to build the anchor chart WITH your students because that simple piece has a HUGE impact on their learning. So say it with me now, create math anchor charts TOGETHER.
If you’re anything like me, you like things to look perfect and let’s be honest, cute. But while those cute anchor charts look great hanging up, we must ask ourselves how much MORE impact would they have on student learning and understanding if they helped make it? A whole lot, trust me.
Instead, INVOLVE students in the process and have them help create the chart with example strategies and their knowledge. Some of the best anchor charts I’ve created with students are messy and don’t look great. But man did it capture their learning.
However, I do have a solution to helping make anchor charts cute AND functional. Have you ever tried tracing anchor charts? It’s pretty easy and the best part is you can trace the shell of the anchor chart and laminate that. This way you already have your base created and students can help you fill it in each year with their own information and learning. Pretty awesome right?! Click on the picture to check it out in action below!
Concrete Comes First
It’s important when introducing a new concept to students to make it concrete. Doing this is SUPER helpful for providing students a solid foundation to acquire a skill, and it’s also way more engaging. When it comes to these super tricky math skills, I have a secret tool I love to use that has been a MAJOR game changer in our classroom. It’s called the CRA Model and it has got to be one of the best differentiation tools for teaching. Learn more about it HERE!
Math workshop is another tool that is going to be your best friend for supporting your students during math. Check out this post all about getting started with a math workshop HERE!
Make them Interactive
Interactive anchor charts? Say whaaaat? Do you think you need some fancy technology to do this? Nope! One really simple but effective way to help make them interactive is by using sticky notes. Yep, it’s that easy! Have students use a strategy to solve a problem, showing their work on a sticky note and place it on the anchor chart! They love seeing their work displayed and it provides an exemplar for other students!
Working on measurement? Add real life items to your anchor chart to physically show students how to measure! During your graphing unit, collect real life student data and use it to ask and answer questions.
There are SO many great ways to involve students in the learning process. You can get as creative as you want. This type of interaction helps their learning stick with students and helps them transfer those amazing math skills to their own problem solving.
Display and Storage
Ok so you’ve made a beautiful anchor chart with your students, but when you need to make another one, where does it go? I love creating a GIANT wall to hang all their anchor charts so THEY can access them when they need it. Again, it’s all part of providing them freedom, choice, and independence. You can also hang a hook and store all anchor charts there for them to flip through as needed. Check out some examples below.
After a unit is over, I store the charts for the remainder of the year (in case we need to revisit) to make room for new ones on our board. There are tons of clever ways to store them efficiently to keep for later in the year, or years to come. You can roll them up and stick them in a tall bin, you can get hangers with clips and hang them in a closet, or you can even keep them all stored with binder rings on a magnetic rod!
Anchor Chart Essentials
Not Sure Where to Start?
I love making adorable anchor charts but let’s be honest, I’m no artist. Solution to my problem? Traceable anchor charts! Simply project these templates on your anchor chart paper and trace away!! Included are completed and blank ones so you can make them your own if you’d like to change a component. Check out THIS growing bundle of math traceable anchor charts for first grade! They can be projected and traced or printed as posters!
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I hope you enjoyed learning about the importance of using math anchor charts. Let’s help students not only be successful, but have FUN doing it! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! You will get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES, including the 2 Digit Addition Math Anchor Chart FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how-to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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