Action Words Anchor Chart

Action expresses priorities. -Mahatma Gandhi

Action is something that is never lacking in a kindergarten classroom.  Something or someone is always in motion. In other action news, my students are very interested in action figures.  There was a fairly intense discussion going on at one point about who was more powerful-Spiderman or the Dark Knight. Of course, everyone had an opinion and several offered other action figures that were more awesome than the original 2 being discussed.  How does this impromptu conversation fit into the Common Core Standards?

By taking action, we can turn a random classroom discussion into a learning opportunity.  One of the kindergarten Common Core Standards is that students will participate in collaborative conversations about kindergarten topics with peers and adults. We turned their interest in that topic into an anchor chart.  Afterwards, they used their Whiteboard App to illustrate an action they could perform.  This activity involved using our sight words to construct a basic sentence and an illustration.

The following day I was reading an Eric Carle book, “Rooster’s Off to See the World” as a part of our Eric Carle author study.  As I was reading, without prompting, the children began calling out action words they heard in the story. Our discussion from the day before had carried over into a new activity.  Higher order thinking skills?  You bet.

By being alert to everyday situations, we can take action and turn them into meaningful learning activities.

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More on Anchor Charts

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. -Benjamin Franklin

One of the first things we do in kindergarten (besides learning where the bathroom is) is to create an anchor chart together.  Anchor charts are charts that are created with the students to help them “anchor” their learning.  We make one for every letter of the alphabet, we make one with our classmates names, we make one for how to listen, we make one for colors, one for numbers, and any other skill I would like them to use on a regular basis.  We use them daily in our Reading and Writing Workshop activities.

My students love them and refer to them all throughout the day. They are engaged in the process of creating them so they take ownership in them.  After a while, they know more of what is on the charts than I do.  Space is a concern…and do I really need to leave a chart on Halloween words up all school year? Those questions are answered with the iPads.  I find that I leave the alphabet charts up all year; however, seasonal charts, or special charts made for a specific activity do not have to stay up and take up valuable wall space.  By photographing all of the anchor charts and syncing them out to the children’s iPads, they have the charts with them all year long regardless of whether they are on the wall or not.

A recent writing activity included writing about our families.  After making the Family Words chart, they were able to refer to it all week as we discussed our families.  We also wrote about foods we liked.  By having the anchor chart, students were able to write about these foods.  In a week or so, I can add these to their iPads and they will have access to these words even if I take these charts down.

Another advantage of having these charts on the iPads is that students don’t have to walk across the room to see them if they are writing something and need a word.  The charts are also available if students are reading on their iPads and would like to read the charts.  It is like Read the Room, only it is done in their seats.

If you aren’t using anchor charts, I highly recommend them.  They are quick and easy but they pack a powerful punch.  Parents can even make them at home and post on the refrigerator or in the child’s room.

By involving the child in the learning, they create connections that are critical for mastery of skills.

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Anchor Charts: Why We Use Them!

Sorry, this isn’t a blog post about boating in the beautiful Charleston area. The anchors I’m referring to are anchor charts. 

Anchor charts are valuable visual support tools to assist students in learning new concepts.  Teachers and students may refer to them all throughout the year.  When we are working on new content in our Reading and Writing Workshop mini lessons, anchor charts are co-created with teacher and students to help “cement” the learning.  They help to make abstract ideas more visible for students.

So where do the iPads come in? The anchor charts are only the start. Due to space restraints on the chart paper, I’m unable to add all of the connections that the students share with the class.  Students then use their iPads to jot down their own ideas.  We use the Notes app to make a list of things that go along with our anchor chart.  Students may then use that list as they are writing to activate their schema.  Students also use the Pages app to write more complete thoughts and incorporate images. By using the iPads, students are able to quickly record connections as they make them, then refer to them as they need them in their writing.

Emergent readers and writers struggle at times with ideas.  The anchor charts and the students’ abilities to extend them with the iPads are a perfect pairing for successful learning!