LighthouseProject Pagosa DifferentiationTip3 by lmUp4Z0f


Anchor activities are meaningful, relevant tasks students automatically move to when they complete
assigned work (Tomlinson & Eidson, 2003). Tasks are provided in list form usually created by the teacher and
may include student-generated ideas. Several reasons to use anchor activities include: allowing time for teachers to work
with individuals or groups, maintain a productive work environment, and provide ongoing activities related to content.

Guidelines for Anchor Activities:
       Explain what the anchor activities are and the purpose.
       Teach class to work independently and quietly on anchor activities.
               o Half the class works on one activity while the other class works on a different activity
               o 1/3 class works on anchor activity, 1/3 class works on different activity, 1/3 class works with the teacher
       Provide the amount of choice appropriate to grade level. Lists may be posted on the whiteboard, provided on
           note cards in a file box, with dividers for specific content areas or generated independently for students.
       Make sure students have access to materials needed for the activity.
       Hold students accountable for on task behavior and task completion.
Planning for Anchor Activities:
          Subject/Content
          Name and description of anchor activity
          How will students be introduced to the activity?
          How will the activity be managed and monitored?
               o Points, Percentage of Final Grade, Rubric, Portfolio Check, Checklist, Teacher/Student Conference,
                    Random Check, Peer Review, On Task Behaviors, Other . . .
           Language Arts
• Journal writing prompts.
• Worksheet with open- or closed-ended questions.
• Create a greeting card, use spelling words and lots of color.
• Illustrate your spelling words, your illustration should show the words meaning.
• Create a crossword puzzle or word search with your words, create an answer key and give to a friend to complete.
• Silent independent reading.
• Create a bestseller list for your ten favorite books.
• Design illustrations for your favorite chapter book.
• Rewrite the ending of a book with a new twist.
• Create an original dialog between two characters from a book.
         Social Studies
• Create an imaginary continent; draw and name the countries on that continent. Include borders & capitals. Then, write
about one of the countries. Explain its government, culture, and laws.
• Brainstorm ways you could’ve contributed to your family’s well being during the depression if you lived during that time.
• Make an ABC book of plants using books in the classroom.
• Write a letter to a famous scientist or person who has contributed to science. Have the person answer an important
question for you.
• Create a perfect “habitat” for an animal of your choice.
• Write an experiment you could conduct to teach others about a concept you have learned in class.
• Search the Internet for an article related to the unit, and write a brief summary about it.
• Computer activities: For early grades check out Triangle Alley at
•Research money and bartering systems. Work to discover where and when these systems originated.
•Plan a road trip across the USA stopping by at least 5 famous landmarks. Use a map/scale to measure distances. Then add
up the total amount of mileage the round trip would take. Decide how many days you’d be gone and calculate the cost
of gas, motel and meals for a family of four. Calculate the total cost.

Montgomery County Public Schools. (2009). Accelerated and enriched instruction: Gifted programs: More about anchor activities.
       Retrieved from
Performance Learning Systems. (2009). Resources for teachers: Differentiated instruction and anchor activities. Retrieved from
Tomlinson, C. A. & Eidson, C. C. (2003). Differentiation in practice: A resources guide for differentiating curriculum grades k-5. Alexandria,
       VA: ASCD.
Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. (2009). Newsletter: Differentiation in focus, December 2004. Retrieved from

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