Category Archives: Anchoring Activities

Week 2 Sunday Summary #MTBoSchallenge & #made4math


Week 2 is complete.  I am still trying to find my groove with having 1st hour prep.  I am a morning person, so I am ready to interact with students as soon as we arrive.  Sitting down for plan time, I lose my momentum.   Paired with having to be out of our building by 3:00 due to renovations, I have no time to sit and process the day’s events.
3 Things That Happened This Week
I finally got my anchor chart board with sentence starters and questions completed.  I am very pleased with it and have been trying to model/give students opportunities to practice in class discussions.  Here is a link to a file of the starters.


I giggled when I saw Sarah saying she “totally stole” from me…that’s what #MTBoS is all about. Sharing and making our classrooms better for our students!

I am using as one of my daily tasks to begin class.  I wanted students to have a page in their INBS to record these…


Here is the file.  Print 2 up and front/back for a booklet for your INBs. 

I shared Thursday how I was a bit hesitant to allow my students to go with their process of locating the midpoint given coordinates of endpoints.  I know.  There are those that say just tell them the midpoint formula.  I could but this is the method they are owning.  Basically, they are finding the distance between the coordinates, then “moving” half the distance will put them at the midpoint. 


But then I got to thinking about the actual standard:

Find the point on a directed line segment between two given points that partitions the segment in a given ratio.

Midpoint is the most common and yes, we’ll use it in proofs later.  But if I go in Monday and ask them to find 1/3 point which would be a 1:2 ratio, or a 2/5, 2:3? Will their method actually prove more efficient because it is actually the same process for both?

2 Things on My To-do List
I have 3 tubs that still need to be unpacked from our renovation move.  I have my shoe boxes on the shelves, but I need to get those labeled correctly.

Finish an Intro to Matrices Unit, I hope will work as  flipped/blended learning unit.

1 Good Book to Read
Thanks to @mathymeg07 for sharing Wonder by RJ Palacio. 


Megan said it is a book everyone from 9-99 should read!  Right now, the Kindle version is on sale for $2.50.  I am making posters of Mr. Browne’s Precepts for my classroom, such great lessons to live by.

Anchor Activities during Wrong Answer Analysis


While having a conversation about Wrong Answer Analysis (WAA, discussed here) with a colleague today, I was asked, “What do you do with students who mastered all/most of concepts while you are working with other students?”

This past year, I was in the computer lab one day each week and most of my one-on-one help occured on these days.  Hmmm.

There were a few times I sent the WAA home with students – I learned VERY quickly, this was not very effective.  Those who needed to reflect and analyze the most, rarely completed the assignment on their own and required being assigned to remediation to complete it.

It needs to be during class time in order to provide help when necessary.  This is something that needs to be included as I plan/pace for the upcoming year – a full day for test analysis.  Within this discussion – what do you do with students who have mastered the content – those who only have a couple of items needing reflection/correction?

I’ve heard of teachers who use these kiddos as “tutors” for those who struggle.  Ehh.  Not sure I like that one – too many times students are put in this situation and become frustrated, ending up telling the student what they did wrong and fixing-it for them, but no learning has occurred.  Don’t get me wrong, in a well-thought, planned activity where students share their thinking, I’m all for it.  Even occasionally, but I don’t want to make this practice the norm.

I don’t want to “punish” them and require them to do only meaningless, busy work.  Is it wrong to want to reward them with some type of a “fun” learning activity?  I suppose I should research the idea of having an Anchor Activity List – for those students – give them options.  But I ask myself – does it have to math related?  For example, is it legitimate to allow them to read?  Do Anchor Activities need to be assessed?  Or can they simply be fun activities that require students to think?

I don’t know what’s acceptable?  I haven’t had this conversation before today.  I realize its my classroom, and in the end, the decision is ultimately my choice – but for today, I wish I had a Curriculum Specialist / Administrator who I could set across from, share my ideas and let them ponder my options with me…questioning my reasons for choosing what I choose.

How many options should I post?

Is it possible to have too many?

Do they need to be related either to current or upcoming unit of study?

Or is my initial thought to provide a shelf of resources like these acceptable?

  • Read a book.
  • Who Dun It Puzzles
  • Mind Benders – Deductive Thinking Skills – variety of levels
  • Critical Thinking – Balance Math & More – get variety of levels for different levels of students.
  • Word Roots – not sure which level would be appropriate – definitely something literacy focused
  • ACT/SAT flash cards (for those who are concerned about getting the “perfect” score)
  • 100 vocabulary terms to help you on the ACT/SAT (again, for my sweet little nerds)
  • Balance Benders – Logic & Algebraic Reasoning Puzzles
  • Have an index card file students can choose an interesting math topic to learn about – Pascal’s Triangle, Mathematical Quilts, etc.
  • Games: Set Game, Chess, Peg-Puzzles, Toothpick Challenges, Rush Hour, Acuity
  • Keep copies of Games Magazine on the shelf

I understand in many classrooms that an Anchor Activity is one that students can go to when they have completed their work – but in my classroom, I could count on one hand how often their is down-time in my classroom.  If its not an assessment day – we truly do go bell-to-bell…I’m not lying, ask any of my students!

I will share more as I iron-out the details  the closer we get to the school year beginning!

In the meantime – feel free to share your ideas and insights!  Please share your success stories & what you’ve learned from not-so-successful stories.


Best Practices: Instructional Strategies  Techniques for Anchor Activities

Suggestions – for middle and high school – ranging from ideas for different content areas – to Planning/Implementation/Scoring Guide.  Short, sweet and to the point.