Thursday, October 1, 2009

Anchor Charts

While we did this as a teacher prep activity, I think it would be interesting with K-12 students as well. I first heard about anchor charts in Mosaic of Thought (I think), and like how they serve as both assessment and culture building. I've had students make charts about a particular concept, about what to do when you're stuck, and for what it means to do, learn and teach mathematics.

For this most recent lesson I had the students read "Mind mapping As a Tool in Mathematics Education", by Astrid Brinkman from Mathematics Teacher, Feb 2003. (They had previously expressed curiosity about and a lack of experience with concept maps.) One reason I love these is that they are frequently surprising. I expect one like this, that echoes the NCTM process standards we emphasize in the first unit: (Remember you can click images to see them full size.)

But then they go and make these completely original things like:
with different processes emphasized


Highlighting the difference and connection between
school mathematics and real mathematics.
Instructions to the students:

Activity: Anchor Charts
The following example comes from Ellin Keene’s (2008) To Understand: "Teachers generate anchor charts to capture and celebrate increasing sophistication in oral language use." (p. 278)
If you substitute ‘understanding learning in mathematics’ for ‘oral language use,’ you have the purpose of this activity. (Follow a link for a free pdf of the first chapter, under samples.)

Create an Anchor Chart for Learning in Mathematics
1. Identify the concepts and ideas that you want to remember as they relate to doing mathematics.
2. Develop an anchor chart that captures and celebrates your increasing sophistication in understanding “Doing Mathematics.” This might be a list, or a mind map, or a representation of your own creation. You decide – just be prepared to share your chart during our next class.
3. Be sure you leave 10 minutes to reflect.

Reflection: How well does your group’s anchor chart capture what you want your future students to think of hen you ask them “what does it mean to do mathematics?”

Home Extension: You might want to check out how math teachers use anchor charts at - Integrating Literacy and Math. by Ellen Fogelberg, Carole Skalinder, Patti Satz, Barbara Hiller, and Lisa Bernstein.

Other interesting examples:
(OK, the last one's mine.
Fair's fair if I'm putting up my students.
No, I don't know what's up with that guy's hair.)

Send me yours or your students' and I would be happy to post that!

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