One of my favorite one-day activities is called Anchor Statements. It’s pretty low prep and can be stretched in many different directions to fit the needs of any classroom any group or learners.
One handout that I think is helpful in keeping this activity organized is my Anchor Statement Handout (available for free here). You could do the this activity on plain paper as well but I find students sometimes struggle with spacing when left to their own interpretations.
I create a slide with a variety of different sentences. I try to have them related to each other but also have a variety. I incorporate as many repetitions of target structures as I can. If you want to make this lower prep you could do the same thing any text and not create your own slide…just use the text as your source.
Students briefly see the phrases and then see how many they understand. Then students get their handout. They choose one anchor statement and write that done on the anchor line. Then I set the timer for three minutes and in the large box above, students draw and illustration of their phrase.
Students fold back the anchor statement so that no one can see it. We then swap papers so everyone has a new paper. Most of the time I play music and just like musical chairs when the music stops, you sit down at a new desk. At the new desk students must interpret the picture and write down which phrase from the collection of phrases they think the anchor statement is.
They fold back their guess revealing only #2 and #3. We continue rotating until all 3 guesses have been made. Then students return to see their original paper.
Extension and Variations
- Instead of writing your guesses make this an interpersonal activity where students speak to each other and say their guess (maybe even asking questions and describing their images)
- There are a lot of things that can be done with the anchor statements when the rotating and guessing are over. My favorite way to use these statements is in short writing activities. I typically have the students pair up–making sure that students that chose the same anchor statement are NOT together. They then have to write a short paragraph that attempts to combine their two phrases.
- Instead of copying/guessing a phrase from the original bank of phrases, rotating students could add an original sentence related to the image to stretch out the writing practice.
- I will usually keep the papers, cut off the sentences so I’m left with just the drawings and use them in later activities or assessments. Sometimes we use the images and interpersonal and describing practice and sometimes they use them as writing prompts. Since the images are based on familiar targets, it’s an easy way to generate possibilities without having to do the prep work myself.
This activity always yields strong comprehension results and really strengthens my student’s abilities to use familiar targets in sentences. I hope that, if you try it, your students will enjoy it too!