An anchor task is a problem given to students at the beginning of a math block that provides an opportunity to activate prior knowledge, requires students to collaborate and ask questions of each other, and promotes an environment for students to productively struggle and persevere in problem solving.
Purposeful planning for this task is done by the teacher so that students can begin to construct their own knowledge on new learning before direct instruction is introduced. During this time, which should last approximately 10-12 minutes, students are encouraged to try various strategies through concrete, pictorial, or abstract modalities, in order to create multiple retrieval points for information. While students are collaborating, the teacher acts as facilitator by posing questions to guide thinking. At the conclusion of the task, students may or may not arrive at the anticipated answer which helps the teacher determine the starting point for direct instruction.
Check out this website full of anchor tasks for kindergarten through fourth grade.
First, click on the button, “Anchor and Performance Tasks.”
Next, click on the button for whatever grade level you would like to view.
Then, you will see a list of tasks you can choose from that are organized by grade level strands.