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    25 Awesome Anchor Charts For Teaching Writing

    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 charts for teaching your students all about writing. This is the first post in the Teaching Young Writers blog series sponsored by Zaner-Bloser's Strategies for Writers.

    1. The Why Behind Writers Workshop

    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."

    2. Setting Goals

    This second-grade writing-goals chart sets goals around important writing skills for younger students: punctuation, spelling and vocabulary. Older students can set goals around writing complex sentences, revising for tone, using a thesaurus to find just the right word or crafting clear multi-sentence paragraphs.

    3. Writers Workshop 101

    The beauty of this writers-workshop anchor chart, which could be used with any elementary grade, is that when you get to number 10, you're ready to return to number one. To make this chart a living part of your classroom, write each student's name on a clothespin and have the student put the clip where he or she is currently working. That will help you—and the students—track exactly how fast they're progressing on each writing piece and help students find partners to conference with.

    4. Checking Off the Six Traits

    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! Or before each writing assignment, review the chart and check the aspects that are most important so students know where to focus their time.

    5. Writing Realistic Fiction

    This anchor chart reminds upper elementary students how to create realistic stories. As you create this with your students, add organization by color-coding the tips. Red for organization, orange for transitions and so on.

    6. First, Next, Then, Finally

    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.

    7. The Elements of Informational Writing

    Focus upper elementary students on the most important aspects of informational writing, and keep them organized with the color-coded tips. This chart could be used to support paragraph writing or essays. (Color-coding student work by underlining or writing with different-colored pencils can help visual learners be sure they're including each type of sentence as they write.)

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. Pre-Writing Strategy


    These upper elementary anchor charts will help students deepen their prewriting skills as they develop different ways to map out ideas. To make these prewriting anchor charts a living reference in your classroom, write assignment specifics on sticky notes that can be switched out for each new prewriting map. For example, the events on a timeline map could change when students switch from writing chronological realistic fiction to writing biographies.

    12. Organized Beginnings and Endings

    Get upper elementary students focused on good beginnings and excellent endings with this chart. Post it in the writing conference area and provide students with a few questions to start their discussions about one another's beginnings and endings.

    13. Stoplight Paragraphs

    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.

    With this anchor chart, upper elementary students can try out each type of introduction to see which fits best with their writing style. To make this chart interactive, have students write their names on clothespins and pin their names to the type of introduction that they've chosen to write. Then, during conferencing, they can conference with someone who is writing the same type of beginning.

    14. From the Beginning

    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.

    15. Power Up Student Sentences

    Inspire students to get crafty and creative with their sentences. Update the moods or key words with every writing assignment so students are constantly refining their clauses, verbs and descriptions.

    16. 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 narrative nonfiction works. Build this chart out for middle school writers with additional ideas and more complex emotions.

    17. Sentences That Do the Heavy Lifting

    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.

    18. Add Author's Voice

    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.

    19. No More "Said"

    Expand students' vocabulary with more ways to yell, whisper and chortle the word "said." Adapt this chart for students with disabilities or who have ELL needs by limiting the number of word options, or have them create their own mini–anchor chart with a shorter list of words that they want to build into their writing.

    20. 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.

    21. CUPS Revising and Editing Marks

    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 (use this list from Merriam-Webster).

    22. 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.

    23. Conference Starters

    Post this anchor chart (for fourth and fifth graders) in the writing conference area to help students find just the right words when giving feedback. Leave Post-its and pencils by the chart so students can write and post feedback that helped them become better writers.

    24. 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.

    25. The Final Touch

    It's the icing on the cake! An intriguing title will make your third and fourth graders' work stand out and get to the top of your "to read" stack. Keep this chart fresh by switching out the title examples with the names of student works.

    Posting anchor charts keeps current learning accessible and helps your students to make connections as their understanding grows. Teach writing with 25 of our favorite anchor charts for the writing process. Keep the charts up-to-date and they'll serve as a living reference in your classroom and will inspire a culture of writing.

    Looking for writing lessons? We have nine free units on different kinds of writing complete with teacher and student pages at