|FOR THE LOVE OF READING|
|FOR THE LOVE OF READING|
Anchors are incredibly useful tools.
I haven’t been boating on the ocean many times in my life, but on the occasions where I was lucky enough, the anchor has been immensely important. On our honeymoon, my husband and I took a catamaran on a snorkeling trip. The boat soared over the sea, rocking with amazing speed. It felt like we were flying.
When we finally stopped, the captain released the anchor down into the turquoise abyss.
And it held us in place.
In the middle of this giant expanse of untamed ocean, it held us in place. The waves rocked, the wildlife teemed below the surface, the colors exploded in our view as we snorkeled, and the entire time the anchor held the boat in place.
It’s incredibly simple and powerful: an anchor. It’s a tool as old as the ages. And it’s power and simplicity doesn’t need to change in order for it to hold an entire boat in place. Hold it despite rough waters, an entire world of species below, an unpredictable sky above.
Anchors are incredibly powerful tools in the classroom too. “What?” you say. But it’s true. I talk with teachers about anchors all of the time.
To create an anchor in the classroom is very simple. There is no forging of metal needed. Anchoring a child’s thinking simply takes a chart, sometimes a text and a clear focus. A classroom anchor doesn’t need to hold an entire boat in place. It simply needs to hold a child’s thinking in place.
A mental anchor holds a child’s thinking in place.
It takes the thinking back to the place where the child first learned something and allows him to connect new thinking to that old experience. Anchors also help children transfer any disconnected learning to an appropriate context.
A classroom anchor, whether a chart, an experience, or a text, helps children connect new learning to old thinking despite distractions, rough days, time spent away from school.
Anchors are immensely important on boats. If you don’t anchor a boat it may float off in any direction and completely lose track of where it started and where it is going. You may even lose the entire boat.
Anchors are even more important in teaching a child to think and learn. If you don’t anchor thinking it will float off in any direction and completely lose track of where it started and where it is going. It will get lost. And the thinker may be lost as well.
But, we can create classrooms where mental anchors hold the thinking in place and help children grow and expand their thinking in meaningful ways.
Expand it in ways that are bigger and broader than an entire ocean.
And yet keep it anchored in place and connected to prior learning so that it all makes sense. And it all adds up to bigger thinking than ever before.
Anchors can help us do that. Simple, powerful anchors for small, powerful thinkers.
We can do it together. Joyfully.