Tried it Tuesday - Co-created Anchor Charts

I am linking up with the amazing Holly, the talented teacher behind the blog Fourth Grade Flipper for her linky....

It has been a few weeks since I have linked up but that is all Holly's fault - honestly - she has posted on the exact same topic that I was going to talk about for two weeks in a row ;) This week she had an awesome post on close reading, be sure and read it!

This week I want to share how I am creating and using "co-created anchor charts". I  must admit I have a small, slight even, addiction to the beautiful anchor charts I see on Pinterest. I often start out my anchor charts before a lesson so they can be a little more fancy and creative, but then soon fall apart when I start writing on them during a lesson.

This year at our school we are focusing on teaching our students to USE the anchor charts/resources in the room to improve their work, find answers, as models etc. Not just as something pretty to look at it. I am sure it is the same for many of you, but when our principal or superintendent walk in our classrooms students need to be able to answer the following questions: what are you learning, what do you do if you are stuck, how do you know you are done - to answer these questions students need to be able to use the anchor charts/learning goals/checklists that are in the classroom.

I have been explicitly teaching my students  how to use a checklist - many think they just need to put a check in each box and clip it to their work!!

The other area I wanted to focus on - is what are the levels of work and how can we use them to assess ourselves and others. I read this awesome post from Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching last year. She talked about how she co-created an anchor chart with her students. Her students chose to use making a bed as their example task. I loved this idea.

So here is what I did. I took a picture of my daughter Gillian's bed, my bed on a not great day and 2 pictures from a Google images search. I printed off two copies of each bed (full page) and split my class into two groups. The students looked at each photo and then I asked them to organize the pictures. They immediately started talking about different attributes of the beds and put them in order from low to high. There was a lot of great discussion around the level 3 and 4 beds.

Here is what we came up with after some discussion (which I will get back to in a minute).

The discussion (somewhat heated) was whether or not our level 4 bed was better than the level 3 bed or did it just have more fluff - the analogy was made that if you do good work but then just add a bunch of pretty things around it, it does not make the work any better. But we did agree in the end.

Then we came up with criteria for level 3 (you can tell it is co-created because of my messy printing!!).

Then I gave my students an assignment - take a picture of their bed - what it normally looks like and bring it in or email it to me. Yesterday we spent time revisiting our level examples and our criteria and then we took their pictures and levelled them. Students had to go through the criteria, give reasons for how they levelled the bed and compare them to our examples.

Here is what it looked like with a few beds being levelled!

Students were given a choice, they could go home, Bump Up their bed and resend a picture to show how they improved their work! I have already received a few improved beds!


  1. Great analogy for scoring different levels. I agree that anchor charts should be something students are involved in.

    Eclectic Educating

  2. I love this idea of co-anchoring the charts. I'm a horrible bed maker. I'd email you a pic, but I'd be too embarrassed. I think I'm going to try this out with my students.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I absolutely love this idea! We just had a talk with our students about checklists this week! I think this would really help them understand the purpose of a checklist and how to make improvements during writing workshop -- love, love, love. I'm bookmarking this for later!

    My Shoe String Life

  4. This is fantastic! It's a great visual for students to connect levels to the real world!

  5. How cute of an idea is that!!?? And PS- I didn't hold back on posting the SAME THING that Holly did today! LOL

  6. I love this analogy!! That's awesome! I agree with Jivey...haha! Why hold back? We can all post about the same thing since there is bound to be some little tidbit that is different. Jivey's was super freaky because it was SO close to mine since we used the SAME text to close read! That was too good to pass up! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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