Anchor Boards

Working in a middle school, sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in that awkward time between being a kid and becoming an adult. Now I obviously don't mean in the puberty sort of way, but more in the educational sense. In my mind, elementary school is that super fun time when you're a little kid and there is an art project to go along with every unit, colorful posters and sayings on the wall, and an almost unnatural love of learning. High school is much different. The classes are more structured and tailored to individual interests, a good or bad grade could affect the college you'd like to go to, and the thing you're most excited for isn't to see your teacher, but to see your friends.

Middle school is different. We still have some fun teachers and some kids still love learning, but for the most part, they're growing up, trying to decide who they are and who they can be. Because of this, as educators, we get to deal with the mood swings, the attitudes, and the weird body issues.

Now middle school is a weird place for me to be as an adult. I, like those elementary school-aged kiddos have an almost unnatural love of learning. I love bright colors and posters. I think you should transform your room as your unit changes. In short, I'm one of those annoying, over-the-top people. Luckily for most of my co-workers, they haven't had to deal with it because I'm a para and therefore do not have my own room to deck out or throngs of children to infect with my particular brand of craziness/excitement.

I do however, work with a couple of kids who are self-contained, so they have their own little workspace. Given the individual needs of the child, I will pop out an anchor board every so often and hang it in their space. I also have an amazing supervisor who lets me go crazy and change her bulletin boards and do projects with her math class. I've been pretty fortunate that I'm surrounded by people who let me throw my excitement onto bulletin boards.

Speaking of anchor boards...I love them. Anchor boards are these awesome things that you make to help illustrate a concept. You place it in your/their room in a visible spot so the student can refer to them if they're struggling and need some help.

Anchor boards, more commonly referred to as "anchor charts" can be for any subject. They're designed to work with your lesson because, more times than not, you are the one designing them. Some teachers make them with the students as they are teaching while others make them ahead of time or after the lesson. I'm one of those control freak type of people, and the kiddo I most often make them for is not interested in helping in the slightest, so I make mine at home and bring them in.

Here is an anchor board I designed for improper fractions. It has the definition, verbal explanation, and pictorial explanation. I also tried to color-coordinate the words with the part it corresponds with in the picture.

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