We had some discussion in my school recently about anchor charts, and whether they should be teacher created or student created. I confess, I shy away from completely student created charts. I think it is hard for young children to come up with one picture or symbol, and then consistently remember what it means. If we have a shared anchor chart, it is much easier to remind them of what each thing means.
However, I do really believe in including kids in the chart process. Thus, the co-created chart. We have been working on this with our nonfiction unit. When I teach a minilesson about a nonfiction feature, I often ask kids to go explore in their own books and look for that feature. For example, once I teach them about the table of contents, I ask them to go work with the table of contents in their independent reading books. When they do this, I make my way around the room with my camera, taking photos of the examples they find.
This serves a few purposes. First, my kids are very on task during this work time. They really want me to take a picture of what they find, so they are working hard. Second, I can use these pictures for a great teaching share time. I can project them on the SMARTboard, and show the kids what everyone found. They love seeing their finds up there! Finally, I have photos for the anchor chart!
I usually create the anchor myself, and reveal each component to the kids. When I reveal part of the chart, the kids are thrilled to see their table of contents (or caption, or diagram, or whatever) on the chart. They really own a part of the chart, and they remember that feature forever more.
I can’t include them all, of course, but I try to make sure that I have things that a variety of students found. And of course, they relate to what their friends do as well, so they still have a personal connection to the chart. Especially for young learners, this connection is key.
Do you co-create anchor charts with your kids? Do you use student created charts, or teacher created charts? What is your thinking behind your choices?