An anchor on a boat can hold it in place, prevent it from going adrift, off course or lost. In the same way anchor charts can hold thinking. They can help learners get back on course by reminding them of discussions, activating prior knowledge, and point them in the right direction. In mathematics anchor charts can be powerful instructional tools that support and enhance student learning.
Communication is an important process in our Saskatchewan Mathematics Curriculum. To effectively communicate in mathematics students need to represent their mathematical thinking concretely, pictorially, symbolically physically, verbally, in writing, and mentally. With so many ways to communicate it is important that teachers support students in learning how to effectively communicate. Anchor charts provide an opportunity for teachers to model thinking in writing, support and record the learning of the class, and build mathematical vocabulary. By supporting communication in your mathematics classroom you can help students to clarify, reinforce, and modify their understandings of mathematical ideas.
To realize the potential that anchor charts can hold it is important to consider a few things when using them in mathematics:
- Students will use them more if they have helped create them. To prevent them from becoming wall paper co-construct them with your students.
- Refer to them frequently during instruction and practice. If a student asks a question which can be answered on the chart refer them to the chart.
- Focus on one mathematical concept per chart. Too much on a chart can limit its effectiveness and create visual overload.
- Use mathematical vocabulary. These charts will become a jumping off point for mathematical vocabulary building, discussions and writing.
- Don’t limit yourself to text. Pictures, graphic organizers, models, even actual manipulatives can be taped to the chart to support the concept. Just remember to not overload the chart. White space can make learning easier.
I Can…. Chart
Thanks to Holly Portas from the Saskatoon Mizbah School for sharing her grade 2 Pattern Anchor Chart.
Math Wall in Progress
Thank you to Laurel Clark from Forest Grove School for sharing her Grade 1 Math Word Wall.
Thanks to Erin Broughton from Lester B. Pearson School for sharing her co-constructed colour charts. These are a great way to study attributes and sorting rules.
Steps to Solve Word Problems
Thank you to Debbie Durand from Forest Grove School for sharing here problem solving anchor chart.
Connecting Ideas- Grade 2 Linear Measurement Concept Map
Co-constructed concept maps can be created as students learn about each idea of a concept. As the unit develops so does the map and with it student understanding.