Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Anchor charts for organizing and setting expectations

Every year I create the same anchor charts for my classroom.  I sometimes think I won't need them, but inevitably I do.   These were created over the past 4 weeks of school.

This is what I want them to do the moment they walk into the room.
This is how they pack up to go home.  I have them pack up about 30 minutes before they leave for the day.  This helps keep the last minute out-the-door frenzy down.

I feel the students need an organized work place. This allows them to quickly find their materials. Having their work materials organized is a life-long skill, plus loose papers drive me BATTY!

I hesitate before posting this chart.   I posted this chart last year and I guess it was a little controversial    First some else copied this chart and blogged about it. For once, I was glad they did not give me credit for the idea...ha, because it caused some backlash. 

Here is the deal and my 2 cents.  

Colors that make sense:  I want my students to complete their work with care and thought.  
I do ask my students to color their work with colors that make sense.  Now, if my student wants to color their tree a different color, that is fine, but they must do so WITH a purpose. I feel it is important to question your child's color choice (not judge).  When I see a colors used that doesn't seem right, I ask, "Tell me why you chose this color."   Sometimes sisters do have blue hair and sometimes families do have red faces (especially after a trip to Florida)!

One of my smart friends also pointed out that color blindness could also be a factor. According to what I know, about 7% of boys will have some form of color blindness, where less than .5 of girls will.  So the tone of my questioning is important.  You must be a good kid watcher and listener.  

 However, more times than not, the issue is the "rush to finish" that is behind the entire illustration colored in bright yellow-green, than the inability to distinguish colors.  I love the creativity... TRUE STORY: I was looking over an illustration where a boy colored his entire illustration purple.  He told me it was a picture of him building a snowman.  Hmm?   So I asked, "Why did you chose this color?"   He had that deer-in-the-headlights look, then said,  "Because we sprinkled grape Kool-Aide all over him." I will take that!  However, in my conferring notebook I jotted down,  "? color choices" so I could watch and guide him over the next few days.

Staying in the lines:  Coloring is a fine motor skill.  I understand that.   However, the expectation is their fine motor skills should improve as the year continues.  I am not a big "handwriting" drill and kill teacher.  I do know that students can improve their fine motor skills through coloring.  I feel it is a disservice to accept anything less than your student's best.  Student A's best might be different than student B's.  I praise ALL of my student's best efforts.

No white space:   I have had students who rush through an activity and "color the bear" with three swipes of their crayon.   Sorry... I don't accept it.   I tell my kiddos that coloring helps their little muscles.  These are the same little muscles they need to write with.  So coloring the whole space helps to build those importing writing muscles.

 When I find great exemplars of student work, it goes to the "All Star Paper" wall. Students work hard to do their best (and I love them for it).   I make sure that each child has multiple turns on the "All Star Paper" wall.
That's it!   Love it?  Hate it? I would like to know!

43 comments:

  1. I love them all!! BTW, I always tell my students to use "true" colors...am I going to be hated for squashing their creativity? Oh well...hee hee! :)

    ~Jen
    Jen's Kinder Kids


    ReplyDelete
  2. Anchor charts must be on the minds of many teachers. I just blogged about it. Here is the link just in case you missed it. http://learningwithmrsparker.blogspot.com/2012/09/creating-better-anchor-charts.html

    Love yours.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with you...but I have to admit that when I first saw this chart (on another blog) I was thinking to myself "someone is going to be disturbed by this thinking that it restrains creativity, and she will hear about this". Guess I was right! I don't see anything wrong in encouraging kids to do things the correct way. I actually think more of that is needed. I am not to politically correct am I.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Jackie... I was having a conversation with a colleague (on line). I realized I need to modify my post, so added some clarification.

      Delete
  4. When I taught K I told them that "good coloring led to good handwriting" and "filling the white space of your picture will lead to filling your story words". I still say it:)
    love your drawings:)
    Staci

    Going Nutty!

    misssquirrels@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love the all star paper. I agree with you on using colors that make sense. We talk about that a lot in my class. I agree if they have a purpose for coloring it a certain color that is fine. But when I have students who color everything on their paper orange just do get done, that is not creativity in my opinion. Thanks for sharing.
    Denise

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE IT! I find that students want to do great work and once they have the expectation they strive for it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Deedee,

    I have to respectfully question your chart. As you mention, kids work is all over the place as far as ability level, particularly in K. The best work of children who struggle with fine motor skills may only rate a sad face. Using appropriate colors is a developmental issue. I agree we must have high expectations for our kids, but we also must accept them for who they are. A rating system doesn't seem to accomplish this. Kids very quickly start to compare their work with others. Whether they're on the Star Wall or not, they are not fooled and recognize the differences between their coloring and others. Should a child's self worth depend upon how they measure up to a coloring chart? The message the chart sends to both children with strong fine motor skills and those without is questionable. Coloring is a fine motor skill, that's it. Aren't our expectations deeper than this? Don't we want them to think and plan and generate work based on their own ideas?

    Sandi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandi, Thank you for being so respectful...sincerely!!! I hear your argument. Here is where my teacher-ness comes in. As you and I agree, their ability is all over the place. I can honestly say I have never even used an unhappy face. If I get a paper that does not appear to be that child's best effort, I ask them to continue to work on it.

      Also, I do not use this system (ever) in writer's workshop. I use this in their Saxon math and station work.

      I hope that clarifies it for you... and it is still okay to disagree. :)

      Delete
    2. Hi Deedee,
      I hope you know from past conversations that I think you are absolutely wonderful. My comments were about one of your charts. I almost didn't comment because I suspected others might think I was attacking you. Anyway, I'm not the least bit worried about this chart carrying over into WW.
      I too have high expectations for my kids and will ask them to continue to work if I'm not seeing their best effort.
      I thoroughly enjoyed the book study this summer and am loving the Writer's Workshop units.
      Take care,
      Sandi

      Delete
    3. Sweet, Sweet Sandi I do feel like I know you. And I do REALLY value your input. I sort of feel like my blog is this open forum where thoughts need to be shared by me AND the people who read them. Trust me when I say that your comments have pushed my thinking, but in a welcome and positive way. I have been reflecting on your perspective today. I am wondering, "Why do I need the unhappy face, if I never use it? Would this chart help me towards my goal if I formatted in a different way?"

      I'm going to let these thoughts roll around my head some more. Stay tuned! I am sure I will have something come together soon. THANK YOU!!!

      Delete
  8. Deedee, I know you! No, I don't live near you or have ever taught with you, but I know you. What I mean is that from reading your blog and seeing (through your posts) your passion for teaching it would never enter my mind that your children feel anything be encourged, supported, and empowered. I do suggest that others might find it helpful to read some of your other posts on how to teach your kiddos to love writing (btw which includes illustrations, as we know from our book study this summer!) Megan and I were just talking the other day, after your writing post, that you get so excited about the writing your little ones do. She said that it really encourges her, and reminds her, to slow down and look at those illustrations for deeper meaning of the understanding of the habits of good readers. This is just one of many tools that you use to encourage your children to become raters of their own work and move themselves forward in the process of becoming a writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kim! It is hard to embody my every thought surround illustrations into just one post. You are right, this is just ONE tool. If I only used this tool exclusively then, my students would feel squashed I am certain.

      Delete
  9. I meant habits of good writers, but don't know how to go in and fix it! Oh well, you get the idea! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love that purple Kool-aid comment! Quick thinking boy! lol I struggle with this and would always ask myself "Am I squashing their creativity or expecting too much that they're going to hate coloring if I push this?" But I've noticed it IS the ones who rush their work who are using ONE color to draw the complete picture (and in yellow--aaaaH my eyes!)! I've always told them to go back and add more (and different colors) and then they would just scribble some blue or pink here and there....and it still didn't make sense. Thanks for these charts--I am totally going to use this in my room!

    I think for early writers they are just learning about the world around them and how to express that on paper. I also think that by encouraging them to use colors that make sense, it empowers them to think critically and start questioning and writing with a purpose! :) Otherwise the laziness continues and the 1st and 2nd grade teachers are pulling their hair wondering how to break them of it!

    SO do you let them use "silly" colors in writer's workshop?

    Well, guess this means I should probably go add some skin colored crayons to their boxes right now! ;)

    Gone Primary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or...you could have a Todd Parr author study and turn the "true" colors idea on it's head a little!

      Delete
  11. Deedee,
    First of all, congratulations on all your TpT success...that's wonderful. I just finished my first quarter on TpT (www.hellojenjones.com) and am hooked! Also, I love your blog facelift, it looks fantastic, I love the color scheme! I do see you are enjoying my fonts, that's what I want people to do. So I have a favor, and you do not have to do this, but could you add my Hello fonts button to the right side bar of your blog layout like under Kevin and Amanda's free fonts button? On my blog, www.helloliteracy.blogspot.com, on my Terms of Use document there is a Hello fonts button image that you could use. I would definitely appreciate it if you would consider this. Keep up the awesome work!
    Thanks,
    Jen Jones
    www.helloliteracy.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer!!! I am happy to add your credits. I apologize! I am actually not smart enough to do my blog facelift! Ha! I will go to your blog and grab your imagine today ... probably will be after school.

      Thank you! Sorry you had to ask :(

      Delete
  12. See, this is why this dude admires you so!! I am still all over the place in this area. Coloring in the lines bad. No creativity. Coloring in lines good. Fine motor and doing your best. However, after reading your post, I am going to borrow your ideas and create anchor charts! I get ALOT of scribbles and a lot of random colors (purple spaghetti anyone?). And in my very humble opinion, a lot of that is just a rush to get done or beat their friends. Also, with my monsters, some of the color issues stem from a lack of exposure and never having seen the things they're illustrating. My plan is to create anchor charts, display monster-ific examples and provide real life pictures of things we are illustrating so they have a reference.

    Thanks for the ideas and guidance!

    Greg


    Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greg,

      You are the coolest dude EVER! Thanks for visiting my blog. I am still conflicted. I guess the day when I feel like I know best, it will be time for me to hang up my smelly markers!

      Thanks again!!!

      Delete
  13. I love your anchor charts! Would you be willing to post pictures of all the ones you use? I like putting them on my smartboard and then tracing them for my sweet kiddos:) I'm on Fall Break, and of course I'm spending it in my classroom! I wouldnt have it any other way! Thankyou for all your help!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love it! DeeDee, I have an unpacking check list poster for the beginning of the year! Never thought of it as an anchor chart before. Then if a kid still can not unpack, he/she gets a mini-one for him/her to check off every morning. It totally works! I love the coloring one...awesome ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello, friend! Idea for the chart: red, yellow, and green circles in place of the sad/happy faces. The colors are easily recognizable as stop, slow down, go...and the children would see them as an action statement rather than a result. My kinders like to clarify if we are using "realistic colors" on our work projects. They have become quite adept at distinguishing the difference between realism and fantasy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your suggestion!!! I have had a rumbling stomach over this smiley face issue. My stomach feels better. Thank you sweetness!!

      Delete
  16. Deedee, girl, what an artist you are!! I love your charts! I especially love the "colors that make sense." My first graders struggle with this. Many of them just grab a color and go. Hence, my purple Johnny Appleseeds last week! Your chart reinforces making thoughtful choices! Going to use! Thanks for sharing!
    Laura
    Peace, Love, and First Grade

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Artist? I can make a mean stick figure!!! Poor purple Johnny!

      Delete
  17. I love your "inside my desk" chart! We don't have desks so I am going to make an "inside your cubby" chart. Thanks for the great ideas! I love your blog and your products. We are having fun with your lowercase letters sort and sequence this week.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think I am in line mostly with Greg Smedley's post! I think that if I dont push students "at times" to know the expectation then it limites there ability to continue to move forward. I agree that even if you never use the :( face it is still something that they can relate to. Even if a student has issues w/ fine motor or IEP goals dont we still want to "show" them, "model" for them the expected outcomes. No one would have ever said to me, well Sarah you cant write so we are just going to leave it at that. Im sorry about that. I am not going to show you want we "want" you to do, we just expecte you to "figure" it out. No, they said. Sarah, chin up this is going to be hard work, we are going to move along this grading scale. This is "hard" for you but w/ practice, effort and goals we can start to make this better.

    My other thought to creativity, is not all things get to be "creative" I cant drive down the wrong side of the road b/c I want to be creative. Now, I fully understand I just made some mad, but there are places and times when creativity can be included and places where you have to "follow" the rules.

    How do our children especially those that are already disadvantaged by lack of reading, lack of writing, lack of experiences ever to learn what IS expected of them if no one tells them, shows them, models for them, guides for them.

    Just my thought. I LOVE the charts --I LOVE the pushing students to be the best that they can be...taking them where they are and moving them along!

    Sarah
    shetrick@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's interesting that I stumbled upon this post tonight. I've felt like I've been beating a dead horse with the whole illustration thing. I've done so many many lessons on space and color in writers workshop and I'm still ending up with blue trees and scribble scrabble everywhere. It's good to read others ideas about this topic. Now I'm trying to decide if I should make the anchor chart. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I share your philosophy on coloring! 100%

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Deedee...I think your anchor charts are terrific! If you don't mind, I am even going to do a variation of them in my classroom. Thank-you so much for sharing them and don't pay attention to any negative comments!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I used your anchor chart for coloring. It does not stifle creativity at all. I have struggled for years trying to figure out how to help students work neatly and produce work they could be proud of. This chart changed how my students approached their work in TWO days. It actually turned my students' work into recognizable pictures. It taught them to slow down and take pride in their work. And, it gave those many kiddos who have never colored before a picture of what their work could become. I have had a student tell me that another student was "scribbling"...I told her that the other student was doing his best and with practice, his work would keep looking better and better. We can be proud of our learning and progress I love that she recognized quality work and began to understand that it is a process. That student now gently helps others instead of judging. Do everyone's pictures look the same? No way! Are they representative of their best work and thinking? Yes Siree! Thanks for that chart. It has changed my students' work for the better.

    Janet
    jangazz1@cox.net

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have a similiar rubric to your anchor chart for coloring. I call it "My kindergarten best". It has 3 papers hanging up with descriptors to go with. One is called "Amazing", one is called "So-So" and one is called "Getting started". I often will pull examples of work each day and show the class and then reward those kids who did "amazing" work by allowing them to move their clip up.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I like your charts for getting organized, but not really crazy about the coloring ones. I'm sure had Jackson Pollock been a student, he would have gotten all sad faces and had his clip in the warning/parent phone call zone

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I actually might have a few future artist with hopefully a less tragic and sad future than Pollock experienced.

      I was in a discussion with an aquaintence who is actually a university art professor about this subject. As we rolled this subject around, he said that even art students need to be able to represent images in a realistic fashion. They may not represent their art in this fashion, but they all possess this ability.

      Today my class was looking at the book Beauty and Me by Anthony Browne (one of my all time favorite author/illustrators). On one page Browne colored everything red (to represent the anger the gorilla felt). We discussed how this color gave the picture a certain emotional feeling.

      Can you tell this subject has been on my mind? LOL!!! I can't stop thinking about it.

      Lastly, Sarah, I have NEVER had a student move his clip or called a parent because a child decided to color his tree purple. I teach kindergarten and I am a kindergarten teacher... not an evil dictator.

      Delete
    2. Crud! My husband did not post the last comment... I did! Ha! He doesn't know much about kindergarten other than it consumes my life.

      This is what happens when you leave your laptop in a bag in your classroom closet! Darn it!

      Thank you Sarah for adding your thoughts.

      Deedee

      Delete
  25. I made your rubric chart this year in my class and it has helped reduce my "scribblers". I think it's important to set your expectations so your children will know them. When I made the chart, I made sure to emphasize that colors making sense simply means following the directions. If the paper says to color the 2's blue, they are blue not purple. :) Thanks for the idea. Controversial or not...I like it!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love your rubric chart! I think it helps students see our expectations, and it also gives them something to strive for. Will all students be able to do it day 1, no, but again, it gives them an idea of where they will (hopefully) be eventually! I'd love to make one for my classroom.

    Amanda
    www.averycuriousclass.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am the same mindset and I teach 4 year old kindergarten. I have always had high expectations for my kiddos and a part of that is coloring in a way that is a best effort. I think your chart conveys that and with the teacher's explanation also tunes kids into what to strive for. That is also one of the reason one of the first books we read at the beginning of the year is "Leo the Late Bloomer", so children understand that everyone blooms in their own time and any paper that is done with a best effort is a star paper, and it does make a difference, I have seen it in my own classroom for many years. I think school is the learning part and expectation part of a young child's life, and the experiences they gain there help them understand the choices they make when creating. I am sure there are many opportunities for students to color and draw in a way they choose both at school and home, so children are able to experience not using colors that make sense or coloring in lines and aren't stifled in their creative process.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great job! Come join my first linky party: http://who-is-on-first.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-first-linky-party.html

    ReplyDelete
  29. I don't see anything wrong with teaching children the correct way of doing things. If we don't teach them, then how can we be frustrated or complain when they aren't doing it correctly? I LOVE the chart!!! No controversy here. lol

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have used the "quality coloring" anchor chart with great success! As I tell parents, there is a time and place for creativity, but there is also a time and place for following directions. If we are doing worksheets, it's about following directions. If it's a project, then they get to use their creativity. No problems here!!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...