Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Anchor Activities

An Anchor Activity is an activity that is readily available in a classroom at all times. Anchor Activities are one of the most important classroom management techniques because they allow for children to be productive after independent work is finished or if the teacher has to attend to something unexpected.

Anchor Activities answer the age old student question, "What can I do now?"

The value of having your Anchor Activities established as a classroom routine, is that students should ALWAYS know the answer to that question. They should ALWAYS know what they are allowed to do if their work is finished or if the teacher has to attend to another situation.

In my classroom, after I decide what activities would be my Anchor Activities, I make a big poster with the words and pictures of the activity. This is posted in my room so that every student can see it. During the first week of school, we review this procedure and practice it so the students know what it means.

The following are some guiding questions that may help you decide what activities you can use as an anchor activity in your classroom:

~ What is the length of time required to complete the activity?
~ Does it require another student?
~ Can each child do it independently?
~ Is it always available?
~ How do students begin and end the activity?
~ Where will students complete the activity?

The following are some Anchor Activities I have used in the past:

~ Read a book
~ Write in journal
~ Do a puzzle
~ Draw
~ Bonus Work: "Bonus work" is extra skill worksheets that I keep in a basket on the counter. I use a Sharpie to write "Bonus Work" at the top and just keep them all together in one stack. Students can pick whichever one they want. I think that reviewing a previous lesson isn't going to hurt anyone. :-) The bonus points are recorded for our treasure box day.

More resources on Anchor Activities:

Best Practices: Instructional Strategies and Techniques

Differentiated Instruction and Anchor Activities

More About Anchor Activities

Vocabulary Anchor Activity

Anchor Activities

6th Grade Anchor Activities

4th Grade Anchor Activities


Anonymous said...

Interesting concept.

At our preschool we don't have seat work or assigned activities. It is free "play" in our classrooms. However we always have these centers available (no matter what the theme/room arrangements):

Playdough table
Painting Easels
Wooden Block cupboard
Writing Table
Math Table
Science Table
Reading Corner
Computer Center
Free Art Cupboard

All of these activities are student directed, and after the first couple weeks of school the children know how to use them on their own.

Michelle_special_ed_teacher said...

Mrs. V-
My pre-k class is also center based. When I taught my K-2nd grade class and 3rd-5th grade class, the posted anchor activities were a classroom staple! They helped me to complete reading and math groups without interuptions. The anchor activity concept has kind of "morphed" with me in pre-k setting and varies according to the needs and dynamics of my group. Primarily, anchor activities for us at pre-k are centers and activities that the students can do without the support of my assistant or me. As the year evolves, this usually is lego center, table toys, coloring, book exploration and puzzles. My best rule of thumb is to think about the guiding principle and the organizational questions. These help me to apply the concept to my current setting even if it doesn't "look the same."