How to Make an Anchor Chart Students Will Actually Use

Here you will learn how to make an anchor chart students will actually use consistently until they’ve mastered whichever learning objective the chart targets.

What Are Anchor Charts?

Anchor charts are student and teacher-made poster-sized visuals that highlight essential content from a lesson or specific unit of study.

Usually placed in highly visible, accessible places, anchor charts serve as visual references for students (and teachers) to use during mini-lessons, guided practice, independent work, or as part of informal assessments.

Anchor charts are meant to be teaching and learning tools that help students internalize learning concepts.

If you want to know how to make an anchor chart that students will use with ease, follow the next steps.

How to Make An Anchor Chart

Following are the 5 steps for making a meaningful anchor chart.

1. Choose Learning Objective.

The first step is to think about your learning objectives, teaching standards, and/or overall lesson ideas.

What exactly do you want students to master?

You may have anchor charts about classroom procedures and rules. Those are skills and concepts you’ll most likely keep posted all year long.

Or you may choose an academic standard based on a current unit.

So if you’re teaching about adding fractions, that’s your learning objective.

2. Gather Materials.

The second step is to gather the supplies you’ll need.

  • White Anchor Chart Paper (with or without lines)
  • Permanent Markers

Plain white chart paper and permanent markers are all you need. An optional material is sticky notes.

You’ll need sticky notes if you want to avoid writing directly on the anchor chart.

3. Draw an Outline and Title.

While it’s perfectly fine to begin an anchor chart with just a blank slate, a simple outline or frame adds a nice touch.

Also include a big, clear title along the top of the chart.

4. Fill In the Anchor Chart With Students.

So what goes on an anchor chart?

As students brainstorm and discuss ideas, you write them on the chart.

If you don’t want to write directly on the anchor charts, write on sticky notes and then place those on the anchor charts.

Have students do the thinking and brainstorming while you record their responses, guiding them and adding your “suggestions” for the chart here and there.

Students taking part in the writing process is extremely important for their learning process.

5. Hang Completed Chart In Visible Place.

After creating an anchor chart, put it in a visible place where students can refer to it as needed.

And consider organizing your anchor charts on the wall by subject area.

Strategically organizing them minimizes the amount of time students use when searching for the exact chart they need when working independently.

Keep charts posted until every child has mastered the concept, and remind students often to refer to them as needed.

If you begin using anchor charts from the first week of school and discuss with students the expectations of using them, they’ll eventually use them effortlessly.

Consistency is key.

Final Thoughts: How to Make An Anchor Chart

Now you know how to make an anchor chart that students will actually use.

See examples of anchor charts in the classroom.