Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Anchor Mat: Note Taking for Graphing Linear Equations

Here is a quick way to help students organize notes/key ideas from a lesson/unit. I used this anchor mat with my Algebra students when learning how to graph linear equations.  Key information from the unit was in one location, and students could "anchor" their learning back to this chart. Click on the image below to grab a copy.

Clipart frames: Creative Clips. Fonts: Hello Fonts.
 Here are some different ways I use anchor mats in math:
  • Students can complete an anchor mat as a SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW before a unit of study. If used as a preassessment tool, responses can be used to help identify readiness levels of students.
  • Students can fill out an anchor mat during instruction to keep track of key ideas. Then students can refer to this math tool throughout the unit.
  • An anchor mat can be used as a formative tool after instruction to determine where students may need additional support/practice. Students can be asked to fill out what they know independently.
  • An anchor mat can be used to generate math talk. Students can first fill out their anchor mats with what they already know. Then students can pair-share with several partners. With a different colored writing tool, students can add any information they may hear from their partner(s) that they did not originally include. Also, students can correct any misconceptions during the pair-share (Note: I truly believe that "brain loves color." When students use a different color to record ideas from others, it helps them to see what information they knew originally versus what information was added from classmates.
  • Anchor mats can be used graffiti-style before a test. In a group of  4 to 6 students, each student can be given a different color marker to write with. Given a set amount of time, students record information they know. When given a signal, they switch papers with another person in their group. Each student reads what is written and adds any new information that is not included and/or corrects any incorrect information. The process continues until the paper is returned to its original owner. At that point, students see that their original anchor mats have "exploded" with color and information. And in the process, they may have learned or reaffirmed what they already knew by reading what other people wrote! A win-win!
  • An anchor mat can be projected onto a whiteboard, and students can use sticky notes to add ideas to the different sections. Students should be encouraged to represent information pictorially, with words, and with examples.
  • A word bank can be given to students with key words that should be included on their anchor mats. I am always looking for different ways to embed the 8 Standards of Mathematical Practice into instruction. Creating a word bank helps students to attend to the use of clear and precise vocabulary when communicating ideas (Mathematical Practice #6).
  • Students can use their anchor mats as study tools.
Anchor mats are quite versatile. They can be used with any topic. They can cover a broad concept like graphing linear equations or a more narrow concept like slope.

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