Anchor charts are a great way to make thinking visible as you record strategies, processes, cues, guidelines and other content during the learning process. Here are 25 of our favorite anchor charts for teaching writing.
1. Why Writers Write
First and second graders will draw inspiration from this fun-filled anchor chart about why we write. Make this chart applicable to older students by expanding on each aspect with a specific audience or goal. “To share experiences” can become “to share experiences with friends, in a postcard or with readers in a memoir.”
Source: The First Grade Parade
2. Personal Narrative
Personal narrative is a style that all students will practice in elementary school. This website has some great worksheets to use with your students to prepare them to write their personal narrative. Then all your students can reference this anchor chart to keep them on task.
Source: Rachel’s Reflections
3. Understanding Character
Before you can writer about character, you first have to understand it. This anchor chart will help your young writers understand the difference between inside and outside characteristics.
Source: Teacher Trap
4. Diving Deeper into Character
Now that your students understand inside vs. outside characteristics, dive deeper into describing a specific character. This anchor chart is a wonderful idea because students can write their idea on a sticky and then add it.
Source: MPM Ideas
5. Six Traits of Writing
This anchor chart is jam-packed with things for fourth- and fifth-grade writers to remember about the six traits of writing. Use the chart as a whole-class reference, or laminate it to use with a small group. When it’s laminated, students can check off each aspect they’ve included in their own writing. Meaningful dialogue? Check! Problem and solution? Check!
Source: Working for the Classroom
6. Writing Realistic Fiction
This anchor chart reminds upper elementary students how to create realistic stories. It really walks your students through so they have all the elements they need to create their own story.
Source: Two Writing Teachers
7. Sequence of Events
Help early-elementary students stay organized with an anchor chart that’s focused on order-of-events language. Tactile learners can write their first drafts on sentence strips and use this format to put the events in order before they transcribe their work onto writing paper.
Source: Life in First Grade
8. Informational Writing
Focus upper elementary students on the most important aspects of informational writing while keeping them organized. This chart could be used to support paragraph writing or essays.
Source: Teaching with a Mountain View
9. OREO Opinions
This deliciously inspired opinion anchor chart can be used by students in grades 3–5 during writers workshop, or when developing an opinion for discussion or debate. To build out student writing, have them “double-stuff” their Oreos with extra “E” examples.
10. Student Reporters
This anchor chart, best for K–2, is made relevant with examples of student work, in this case a fantastic ladybug report. Keep this chart relevant by updating the examples with student work throughout the year. In kindergarten, this will also showcase how students move from prewriting and pictures to writing words and sentences.
Source: Joyful Learning in KC
11. Write from the Heart
Sometimes the hardest part about writing is coming up with who and what you should write about. This is the fun part, though! Use this anchor chart to remind your students that they have lots of good writing options.
Source: First Grade Parade
12. Get Argumentative
Use this anchor chart with middle schoolers to make sure they’re considering all sides of an argument, not just the one that matters the most to them. One way to adapt this chart as students develop their understanding of argument is to write each element—claim, argument, evidence—under a flap that students can lift if they need a reminder.
Source: Literacy & Math Ideas
13. Writing Process
This is an anchor charts you’ll likely directly your students to again and again. The writing process has several steps, and it’s good to remind students of this so they don’t get frustrated.
Source: Mrs. Skowronski
14. Writing Checklist
For those young writers in your class, these covers the basics in an easy way.
Source: Kindergarten Chaos
15. Cause and Effect
Cause and Effect will always be an essential part of any story. Help your students come up with different scenarios for cause and effect. In many instances you could have multiples effects, so challenge your students to identify three to four at a time. This will really give them something to write about!
GE DIGITAL CAMERA
Source: Mrs. Sandburg
16. Organized Paragraph
The stoplight visual can be used to help early elementary students understand and write clear paragraphs. As students are editing their work, have them read with green, yellow and red pencils in hand so they can see how their paragraphs are hooking and engaging readers.
SOURCE: Mandy’s Tips for Teachers
17. A Strong Lead
This sixth-grade anchor chart gives students lots of ways to start their writing. It could be updated midyear with strong examples of leads that students have written or that they’ve found in books. Students could also copy this chart into their notebooks and keep track of the different ways they’ve started their own writing, to see if they develop a signature lead.
Source: Miss Klohn’s Classroom
18. Power Up Student Sentences
Inspire students to get crafty and creative with their sentences. Update the moods or keywords with every writing assignment so students are constantly refining their clauses, verbs, and descriptions.
Source: Teaching My Friends
19. Show, Don’t Tell
“Show, don’t tell” is a cardinal rule of writing. This anchor chart, best for upper elementary writers, can be used to strengthen scenes in fiction and narrat
ive nonfiction works. Build this chart out for middle school writers with additional ideas and more complex emotions.
Source: Upper Elementary Snapshots
20. Narrative Organizer
Leave this chart up in your classroom for your students to reference often when they’re writing. It really takes them through creating a successful story.
Source: Working 4 the Classroom
21. Expository Writing
This anchor chart really brings together the elements of a story in a creative, color-coded way.
Source: Adventures of a Future Teacher
22. Strong Sentences
Get early-elementary students to write longer, more descriptive sentences with this chart. Bonus: Use sentence strips to switch out the examples of strong sentences based on student writing.
Source: The Good Life
23. The Internal Story
This second-grade chart gives students the language to add their own thoughts into their writing. Modify this chart by highlighting key phrases for students with special needs. Or have students create different thought-bubble icons to represent each internal-dialogue sentence starter.
Source: Totally Terrific in Texas
24. Evidence Supported
Upper elementary students will benefit from reminders on how to refer to and cite text evidence. Use this anchor chart during writing and discussion to help connect the language that we use across domains.
Source: History Tech
25. CUPS and ARMS
Pick your acronym when revising and editing. These charts are great for third, fourth and fifth graders. Older students can get more targeted with editing marks.
26. Spicy Edits
Have students choose one element or “spice” to add to their work as they revise. This chart works for students in elementary and middle school, depending on which elements they include.
Source: Ms. Liu
27. Writing Buddies
Sometimes students can get stuck when working with writing buddies. This anchor chart will help, encouraging students to be positive and make good, thoughtful suggestions.
28. Publishing Guidelines
Third and fourth graders can easily see if they’re finished writing with this publishing checklist. Consider making an anchor chart that shows how students can determine if their digital writing is ready to publish (or print) as well.
Source: Juice Boxes and Crayolas
Posting anchor charts keeps current learning accessible and helps your students to make connections as their understanding grows. Keep the charts up-to-date and they’ll serve as a living reference in your classroom and will inspire a culture of writing.
Before you begin, be sure to model and discuss each step of the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing), preferably using a whole-class story or class newsletter article. Please note that the revising stage precedes editing. Student should have already worked through content revisions before reaching the editing step.
When they are ready for the editing stage of the writing process, students should edit their writing and then meet with a partner to engage in peer editing. Prior to having students use this tool independently, it is important to model its use. To do this, display sample text on an overhead projector, document camera, or SMART Board so that all students can view it. Model the use of the self-edit column with the displayed text, with you assuming the role of author. Then have a volunteer fill out the peer-edit column so that all students can hear and view the process. Finally, discuss what went well and what could be improved in the editing steps that were modeled.
This tool serves multiple purposes, including:
- The self-edit step
- encourages students to evaluate specific features of their writing, increasing self-awareness of writing conventions
- keeps the pen in the writers hand for the initial editing phase
- The peer-edit step
- helps build a learning community in which peers work collaboratively
- heightens the awareness of various print and grammatical conventions for the peer editor and the author
- Use a fish-bowl technique to allow the class to view a self- and peer-edit session of two of their classmates. To do this, first choose one student to model the self-editing phase. It is helpful to select a student who has a good understanding of the criteria on the rubric, such as proper grammar and punctuation. That student works through the items in the self-edit column as the other students observe. It is helpful to put the editing checklist on an overhead projector or document camera so all students can see the process. After the self-edit is complete, discuss the process with the students. Next, choose another student to serve as the peer editor for the piece that was just self-edited. Have the two students sit in the middle of the class so that all students can see and hear them as they work through the peer-editing phase. Afterward, include the entire class in a discussion about the process itself and ways in which the editing session will help the author and peer editor improve on their writing.
- Have students work in groups of two or three to edit one piece of writing. The interaction between peers will help make the editing process more explicit. While the students are working in groups, move from group to group to check their understanding of the editing process and use of the checklist. Try to notice groups that lack comments in the Comments and Suggestions columns and encourage them to use this section to provide feedback to the writer, particularly for criteria that lack a check mark. To guide them, you could ask, What do you think you could write in the Comments section to help the writer fix this error? Be sure to tell students that if they are unable to mark a check in the After completing each step, place a check here column, they must indicate the reason why they cannot check it in the Comments and Suggestions column.
- Regularly review the editing process by using samples of students work or your own writing samples. Assess students progress of the editing process by creating a simple checklist. List all students names down the first column and a row for dates on which the editing checklist was used across the top. Then, as you observe students during the editing process, you can rate their level of effectiveness as an editor by using simple marks, such as:
NO = Not Observed (use this for students you did not get to observe on that date)
+ = exceeds expectations
√ = meets expectations
- = below expectations
Student Names Date 1 Date 2 Date 3 Date 4 Student A Student B
If you notice a student who receives a below expectations two times in a row, you can have him or her work with a peer who typically scores above expectations to model the process for him.
- If your school uses a team approach for grouping students (a group of students who all share the same content area teachers), consider encouraging other team teachers to use this checklist in their respective content areas. Consistency in the editing process will help students understand that the editing process can apply to all written pieces, regardless of the content area.
Grades 5 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Digitally Telling the Story of Greek Figures
In this lesson students research Greek gods, heroes, and creatures and then share their findings through digital storytelling.