The Teacher Anchor® is an intentional planning system for your classroom. It serves to keep you organized and intentional in your curricular classroom decisions. The complete Teacher Anchor® is full of calendars, classroom resources, curricular checklists, Year-at-a-Glance pages, professional development logs, goal-setting pages, and a progress monitoring system that includes master forms and checklists for gathering pre/post test data, running records, small groups, individual conferencing and more. Also the comprehensive list of Common Core standards for grades K-6 are available in my free downloadable library as well as other helpful forms and information!
There are two pieces to the Teacher Anchor® - the planner and the binder. The planner is spiral bound and lightweight so it can go with you to conferences, professional development seminars, and progress monitoring meetings. It is where you keep your lesson plans, scope and sequence, checklists, and substitute teacher plans.
The second piece is the binder – you can purchase one from the shop or use an existing one you already have. It’s not about the binder itself but what you put into it that counts! I suggest keeping all student progress in this binder. A tab for each student is helpful for you to stick anecdotal notes or benchmark information in. The binder makes it easy to access this information when you need it. You can use the blackline masters that are found in the planner to keep track of student progress. The binder is also a great place to store your standards for each reference (and we have them in checklist form – available in the free library!) and also to record small group and individual conference notes as well. In my own personal binder I have the following tabs: individual students, small group weekly schedule and notes, and standards. Simple, yet intentional.
The classroom planner and the student data set are meant to work interchangeably, which is unlike anything else currently on the market! By having your benchmarks and plans within the same binder as your anecdotal notes, you can use one to complement the other. Also because it’s completely customizable, you can use the Teacher Anchor® in a variety of ways that would best fit your unique classroom setting with the intention on letting your students drive your instruction.
When I was in the classroom, I had lots of papers to keep track of. I also had various “things” that I needed to plan my day – a separate lesson planner, a conferencing binder, a file folder with each individual student plan and progress monitoring schedule – it was a lot to keep track of! I felt like I was burning out on just preparing to plan that I didn’t have any time to actually plan! I dreamed of a system that would keep all of it in one place for easy access and accountability. Thus, the Teacher Anchor® was born… the first and only of it’s kind - designed by a teacher, for teachers.
The anchor has long been a symbol of hope and steadfastness – two words that any teacher could use to describe her journey each school year. When an anchor is raised on a ship, it signifies that a new journey has begun.
The metaphor of the anchor is weaved throughout the classroom culture. Every teacher is held to a set of standards that serve as the anchor to his or her lessons. The standards even use the language “anchor standards” to define what students should be able to accomplish throughout the school year. And many classrooms have anchor charts scattered throughout them to guide students through their learning.
This system will quickly fill with purposeful curricular, classroom, and student journeys that you embark on every single day. It is meant to keep you secure and stabilized in all of your decisions from gathering student data to drive your instruction, compiling evidence to support individual student development, and mapping out your school year through your lesson plans and standards. This is your “anchor”. Use it purposefully and practically in order to make this year your best yet.