Friday, March 28, 2014

Anchors Away (Update)

Since writing this blog post, many teachers (including myself) got a special delivery to their classrooms this week... more chart paper for more anchors.  It's unreal! 

I read an article a couple of weeks ago on  entitled, "Have Children Become Unteachable"  Columnist, Patrice Lewis, makes some very good points and one of them is that today students believe "nothing requires improvement except the grade".  Many students don't feel they have to work harder, study more, or memorize information, they just want to be given the passing grade.

Should we really be surprised at this?
The schools give children just about everything these days - food, supplies, glasses, coats, excuses... so why wouldn't a student expect to be given grades.

Here's a case in point -

In the last couple of years, "anchor charts" have become all the rage in the public schools.  Over the years, I have put up some posters and charts as reminders to students for certain rules to follow in math and reading. I believe there is a certain place for them and if not overdone or overused, can be good as a reference.  That being said, anchor charts, bring a whole new dimension to coddling students.

What is an anchor chart you ask?

  • Teachers "scribe" while the students brainstorm ideas of different topics.
  • Chart paper (that big, obnoxious 24 x 32 inch paper) is used so all anchor charts can be put on the walls.
  • Anchor charts can be "open-ended" - so teachers or students can add to them or make changes throughout the year.
  • Anything that needs rules is supposed to be put on an Anchor Chart and posted. (That's a lot of anchoring!)
What do the kids have to memorize?  Not a heck of a lot.  What rules do they have to learn?  Not many. 

Instead of anchor charts being posted to help "anchor" ideas in students minds, anchor charts are keeping students down and holding them back. Here are a few examples of anchor charts that I found on the internet. Imagine a classroom filled with posters like these.  It's like a kaleidoscope of information.  What do I need? Where do I look? Can I even find the "anchor" I need at the time I need it?

There is so much "anchoring" going on that children rely on these charts instead of themselves -  many of the charts cannot even be seen unless you are in a relatively close proximity to them.  I get a headache just looking at them all.

(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

My favorite anchor chart by far is one that was given to me just last week about how to make an anchor chart. If it wasn't so sad, it would have been funny.

Again, it's no wonder students expect grades to be given to them, since they are given everything else. Maybe someone should make an anchor chart about that!

You can read the whole article from WND at this link -


  1. I do not think kids are unteachable by nature but rather one has to look at the homes from which the kids come. This is going to sound racist, but the fact of the matter is that kids from minority backgrounds that have traditionally been marginalized just do not have respect for authority or anything related to the government including schools. Kids who come from backgrounds, such as Hispanics, in which their parents come from countries in which the government is the enemy are not going to view the American school system as benevolent but rather part of an "evil" government. When parents have full time jobs working at McDonald's or manual labor, then kids of those parents may question the value of an education especially if it appears their parents are getting by fine without one themselves. Add to the problem the number of illegal kids we have in our school system who simply do not have a future once they turn eighteen, and those kids may view education as a waste since they have no hopes of getting a job or into college upon high school graduation. I think there needs to be a hard look at the parents of the problematic kids and an expansion of schools for problem children so that those who genuinely want to study are not burdened by some idiots. Even among the minority kids they really do want to do well, but they are distracted by those among them who have no value for education or come from homes where the parents just don't care what the kids do. Feral kids should not be allowed into regular schools, and they should be put in alternate schools and languish there. At least if the majority of the kids can be saved by separating out the problem children, then teachers can be teachers again rather than surrogate parents. Schools have to be empowered to expel problem kids, and those problem kids should suffer consequences. Beyond all of that, if we can get a handle on our massive illegal immigration problem, then there is no question we can definitely weed out a lot of bad kids because the illegals are disproportionately the kids who are the ones who are troublemakers. It is best to get rid of illegals early before their kids get rooted here. With not a small number of illegal families having single parent households with the parent working multiple jobs it is not uncommon to have such kids unsupervised. Unsupervised children of any race will lead to trouble, and it should not be astonishing that kids without adequate supervision at home end up not doing their work and pull down their classmates when they are in school. We as a country have to say no to problematic children, and we as a society need to hold parents, not teachers, accountable for when children turn out badly. Teachers only have kids for one or two class periods at most whereas parents live with their kids, and parents need to start acting like adults rather than pushing that responsibility onto teachers, schools, and school administrators.

    1. Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. I believe parents need to take a vested interest in their children's education and upbringing.