Using Anchor Charts with iPads

I like to read and write about trucks and cars. I would do it all day long.-Kade age 6

How many students would like to read and write all day long?  I love how when I say it’s time for Reading or Writing Workshop, my kids give a fist pump and say, “YES!”  I’m pretty sure I was never that excited in school.

When children are engaged, and feel confident in their abilities as readers and writers, they are excited about learning.  We use the Reading and Writing Workshop model to teach literacy.  My room is filled with various anchor charts that I create along with the students.  At the beginning of the year, we make an anchor chart for each letter of the alphabet.  The children give me words that begin with the given letter and I model writing it on the chart  and draw a small picture beside it.  We then hang the chart on the wall.  When all of the alphabet charts are made, we go to word families and commonly used words, family words, color words, number words, etc.  We make charts about how to be good listeners when we are launching the workshop model in the fall.  We make charts on why writers write.  We make charts for non-fiction writing ideas, and for what we do when we are in the reading center.  These charts are available for the children to refer to all year long.  Because they helped in the creation of them, they are quick to use them and they serve as a visual reference.

The only problem is that I am out of wall space and even after stringing clothesline across my room, I still do not have enough space.  I wanted my students to still have access to certain charts but I needed to make room for more! I started taking pictures of some of the charts and I synced them out to each student iPad.  The charts are now in each student’s camera roll.  The ones we use all the time are on the wall and they are able to still see other charts when they need to. We made this Ideas chart because earlier in the year, some students were having trouble thinking of things to write about. This is one of the charts on their iPads.

Ideas chart

The other plus for having them on the iPad camera roll is students have the ability to look at them right where they are.  If a child is sitting across the room from one particular anchor chart, they don’t have to get up to go across the room to look at it.  Since my students can only remember one letter at a time when copying something, they might make 6 trips across the room to see a particular word.

Anchor charts are wonderful reference tools that help “anchor” new and ongoing learning to previously introduced concepts. My students know exactly what is on each and every chart and they use them all throughout each day.  Long after I’ve forgotten what is on the chart, they still refer to it with each other. At the end of the year, I take them down and give one to each child to keep.  They love it!

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9 thoughts on “Using Anchor Charts with iPads

  1. Reading is a very critical skill that everyone needs to survive in this world. I will never forget my 2nd grade reading teacher. She would get up and do the jig everytime us kids would do good in class. That motivate us to do better. Apparently she did one heck of a job because I have always done will in reading and comprehension. I am so thankful that this teacher went the extra mile with us kids. I have benefited from her reading lessons many times over. I think it is neat that you use technology to keep the kids attention focused on the task at hand. Kids take to computers so readily because it is like a video game to them.

    • James,
      Motivation is key in engaging kids. I find whenever kids are misbehaving as a whole, it’s usually something I’ve done or not done. It’s a good reminder to stay in tune with their needs.

  2. I love your idea for putting the anchor charts on ipad. I will definitely check it out. I put mine on flip charts – some of them. The kids flip through the chart to find the one they need.

    • Kathy,
      I was putting them on flip charts and putting them out for them to refer to…until iPads. That was the only way to save them for reference. It has worked out really well putting them iPads. They can just reference them whenever they need them. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Kristi,
    This idea is brilliant! A detail question: I am still getting used to the syncing. So once I take the photos and go to sync, do all of the photos get “sunk” or just the ones I specify? Also, I am assuming that I don’t have to send every photo any child ever took to every other iPad. Hope that makes sense! Camille

    • Camille,
      When you go to sync, you can select which photos you want to sync to all student iPads. If you don’t want one student’s pictures to go to all others, then you wouldn’t select any photos. I have my kids erase all of their photos and downloaded images every Friday just to keep the camera roll manageable.

      • THANK YOU! It is so nice to have you lightyears ahead of me so that I can learn from you! I will put your idea to good use! Camille

  4. What a brilliant idea! I wish I’d had this kind of technology waaaaayyyy back in the late 80s when I taught my first class – Yr 2 (6 and 7 y.o.s). We used to have posters with writing ideas, word walls etc all over the walls. Their two favourites were “Get and Got have GONE!” – where we had brainstormed all the words we could use instead of those two, and “Said is DEAD” – on a similar theme. They could see the difference that using “replied, snapped, argued, whispered, shouted, cried etc” could have. (Their parents used to notice too!) We had synonym charts for feelings, common adjectives, etc etc. The photos are a great idea. I’ll probably have to put a reference to this post in my blog somewhere. I have some tips and tricks posts coming up.

    • Sarah,
      I agree that it would’ve been great to have this technology all along. I too, have filled walls and chart tablets with “keepers” and was dismayed at the inability to use them as much as I would like due to lack of space. The iPads really allow for individualization of charts as well. I have some charts that all students have but in my leveled reading groups, some groups may have one chart and other groups have a different one depending on their needs. I haven’t done that in the past due to space restrictions but the iPad really opens that up!

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