During the second practicum, much to my delight, the anchor charts started to become somewhat of an art form. Justine, especially, excelled at them. “My anchor charts never looked like this!” her mentor teacher declared. I am not sure how much the students appreciated the visual dynamics, but they certainly used them. I watched them look things up on the walls that surrounded them. Useful? Yes! Visually exciting? Absolutely! How useful and interesting can you make yours?
I (Cathy) remember one of my student teachers asking me this at the beginning of the school year. So we made them in our university class: plastered the walls with chart paper summaries, reminders and tips about many different literacy events and grammars. I suspected my student teachers thought they may be mildly useful. But that attitude changed when they got into their first practicum. The student teachers not only saw their mentor teachers using them, they began to see how their students consistently accessed them. They reported to me after their practicum that anchor charts were practical. Their students used the charts to help them remember things and using them (instead of constantly asking the teacher for the answer) helped the students gain independence as learners.