Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Anchor Task Graphic Organizer

Recently I made a poster of this quote from George Polya and displayed it in the front of my classroom. To go along with this, I created the graphic organizer below and used it to introduce anchor tasks for a new topic. The students wrote the problem in the middle and then tried to figure out four ways to represent and solve the problem. This is new for my students and so I have been giving them prompts for each of the rectangles like: draw a model, write a word problem, explain in words, computation, etc.

Anchor Task Graphic Organizer (Full Page)
Anchor Task Graphic Organizer (Half Page)
Anchor Task Graphic Organizer (in Google Slides)

Shown below are examples of student work on three anchor tasks:

1) Dividing Fractions (2 divided by 1/4)

I love the exploration that this student did to figure out that as the divisor decreases, the quotient increases.

This student was exploring many ways to do the computation.

This student added some ideas to their graphic organizer from another student in the group and gave them credit. I also like how this student wrote out their thinking about how the quotient changes with different divisors.

This student shows a strong understanding of the meaning of reciprocal by explaining that since 4 1/4s go into 1, then you simply multiply by the reciprocal to find out how many 1/4s go into 2.

This student tried so many ways to understand fraction division (models, decimals, percents, etc). What I was most impressed by was the reflection that occurred throughout the class period during small group and whole group discussion and is shown clearly in the work. Student wrote "changed my thinking after discussion" and then indicated on the graphic organizer where he needed to make revisions.

2) Absolute Value (Distance from zero--Find the total distance to touch the rock)

3) Multiplying Decimals (4 x 0.3 and 0.3 x 0.5)


  1. Thanks for the graphic organizer.

    1. You are very welcome! I hope that you find it as useful as I have to guide students to articulate their own thinking and explore multiple ways to solve problems.