One of the biggest questions I get about my Interactive Anchor Charts is whether or not they’re appropriate for kindergarten. I’ve always answered that question with a solid “teacher’s know their students best”. Why? Because I didn’t know better. I hadn’t actually seen or used Interactive Anchor Charts in kindergarten to verify. But now? Now I can say YES! Interactive Anchor Charts can (and should) be used in kindergarten!
I’m not gonna lie, switching from 5th to kinder back in October was tough. I had to have a complete mind-shift. One of my saving graces has been “Good teaching is good teaching is good teaching” and lucky for me, good teaching involves Interactive Anchor Charts. I knew they worked in 2nd, 3rd, and even 5th grade. Why not kindergarten?
So, I took a gamble and started using them in Kinder. Although I had to make a *few* adjustments to make them work for my non-reading, non-writing, school-is-still-new-to-me-friends, they’ve been a great asset to our learning routine! So, today I thought I’d share a few tricks for making interactive anchor charts in kindergarten (or 1st grade) work for you!
Model, Model, Model
One of the biggest ways to use Interactive Anchor Charts in your classroom starts with using it as modeling base. Model how you are filling in the information. Model how you are sounding out and forming letters. This turns the comprehension piece of reading into something more meaningful, more powerful for your little learners.
I also like to continuously use the same interactive anchor chart many weeks in a row. This Story Map anchor chart is a staple in our classroom. Not that we don’t work on any other standards because believe me WE DO! It’s just a perfect way to continue modeling how to examine story structure.
Use Pictures and Words
One of the hardest parts of teaching kindergarten versus ANY other grade level is that the majority of my students are non-readers or beginning readers. Unless what I am writing has 3 letters or less, there was no way my kiddos could use what I wrote as a guide for any future learning.
To help with this, I’ll often use a mixture of pictures and words as we fill in the chart.
Add Student Responses (Even If They Aren’t Legible)
After you’ve modeled adding student answers to the chart, eventually you have to pass off the learning to the students. This is the ultimate purpose of Interactive Anchor Charts, isn’t it? To make students as part of the learning.
This past week, I handed over the sticky notes and had students write/draw the information to put on our chart. We had read the story, “The Three Snow Bears” and were working on retelling events from the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
I’m not gonna lie… their responses weren’t exactly perfect. I swear some of them were just random shapes/letters…
My initial reaction was… wait… how could I leave this up? You can’t even READ this! Then, I remembered… they can’t read either! But, they know what they wrote or illustrated. So, we presented the information on our sticky notes to the class.
Let’s talk about the engagement factor here. Sure, before my kids loved putting up the information that I wrote out on the chart. But engagement soared to a new level when I handed them the pencil and sticky note. They were excited to share, they were excited to listen, they were LEARNING! There’s a distinct difference between the appearance of learning and actual learning. Allowing my students to write their own responses may not have the “appearance” of learning, but they sure were learning!!!
I was also able to see right away who understood the events that defined the beginning, middle, and end of the story and those who were on the struggle bus.
There are times where a response from a student needs to look a certain way to help maintain the integrity of the lesson. Other times, you need students’ responses to include very specific details. This is the perfect time to pull out sticky note templates.
For example, this week in kindergarten, we were learning all about adding to make 10. I wanted my students to understand that a tens frame can help us make ten when adding. In addition, I wanted to see that my students could write an addition sentence AND use a tens frame to illustrate their addition fact.
Sure, I could have just passed out a worksheet and coach them through completing the worksheet. Then collect it, check it, and try to remember who got it and didn’t get it the next time I pull a small group. But this is real life and I teach five-year-olds. All I really needed was one response and for it to be QUICK! I also needed it to be littles friendly. Drawing a tens frame AND an addition sentence? A little too much to ask for at this stage in the game.
So, I made up a quick printable “adding to make a ten” template and printed off a class set of sticky notes. Boom! In a matter of minutes, I was able to see who knew how to use a tens frame and write an addition sentence that added to ten-and who didn’t.
No trying to remember (or having to pull up a gradebook)
No wasted time!
These are just a few ways I’m making interactive anchor charting work in my Kindergarten classroom. Want to snag these charts for yourself? Be sure to follow this link (or click any of the pictures) to grab my Interactive Anchor Charts: Never Ending Bundle. This chunky download gives you access to all my current interactive anchor charts AND future anchor charts! #WINNING!
So what are some ways you’re engaging your students in Kindergarten? Do you use interactive anchor charts in your classroom? If you do? Keep the conversation going by commenting below!
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