Prime and Composite Anchor Chart {plus a freebie!}

Prime and Composite Numbers:
This anchor chart contains a mnemonic device to help your students remember the difference between prime and composite numbers!
Prime and Composite Numbers Anchor Chart- This blog post also includes a free practice worksheet!

This anchor chart is the result of a couple inspirations. The first one was Kayla's weekly math homework.  Kayla's fourth grade teacher sends home a sheet of 16 math problems each week, and her students have to complete them and bring the sheet back to school on Thursday (which I think is a great idea!).  The problems vary- addition and subtraction with regrouping, perimeter & area, graphs, story problems- it is obviously designed to spiral.  Also, without fail, there is an Is this number prime or composite? question somewhere on each sheet.  Back in September, Kayla hadn't learned this yet, so she asked me to help.  Full disclosure here.... I was pretty sure I knew what the terms meant, but it had been a while since I had helped anyone above third grade with math, so I had to look the words up on the Internet.  (My recollection was correct, though!)

The second homework sheet came home and the prime and composite question appeared... and Kayla couldn't remember what the words meant.  That's when I pointed out that the letter I looked like the number 1, and that the word "prime" contains the word "me" within it.  I wrote 
PRime= 1 + ME
on Kayla's paper, and explained that a prime number might state, "My factors are 1 and me."  This clicked with Kayla, and she has never since forgotten what the terms prime and composite means.

The second inspiration came from Pinterest.  Have you seen the factor rainbow idea before?  I found it a couple of months ago, and I loved it!  I knew that I wanted to add this idea to my anchor chart, too.  The first image I pinned came from Dandelions and Dragonflies and I think it's such a great strategy to teach students! 
Lots of great math notebook ideas including this one for creating "factor rainbows."

Do you teach your students the difference between prime and composite numbers?  Click on the image below to download this FREE practice worksheet.
Prime and Composite Numbers FREE

Also, I created the following PowerPoint, which is available in my TpT store.

Thanks for visiting my blog today! 

Here Lies Linc: A Book Recommendation! {Rafflecopter Giveaway!}

I am just writing a quick post today to recommend a book, and because I'm dying to know if anyone else has read this fabulous mystery (Amazon affiliate link follows):

Kayla, my fourth grader, brought this home on the day Christmas break began and said "I finally got to check out this book!"  She told me that it was one of the books up for the Iowa's Children Choice awards last year, and that she had wanted to check it out all last year, but that it was never available.  I read the back of it and was immediately intrigued, so I asked her if we could read it together.  Kayla, Brooke (my second grader), and I all loved it!

Here Lies Linc is a mystery.  The main character is Lincoln, a boy who just began middle school after being homeschooled for the previous eight years. He lives with his eccentric mother, a college professor who studies cemeteries.  (His father died a few years earlier.) 

One of the reasons I love this book is because there are three storylines going on at once, and the author weaves them together so amazingly well!  First, there is the storyline of Linc starting middle school and just trying to fit in.  Second, there is the mystery of "The Black Angel", a statue in Oakland Cemetery that is surrounded in legend and spine-tingling superstition.  Finally, there is the mystery of Linc's father, and a part of his past that was covered up for so many years until Linc starts to unravel the mystery.

It was difficult to put this book down.  In fact, when I finally closed the book because I just couldn't read aloud anymore, my daughters would beg "Read more!  Read more!"  At the end of this book, the author tells about how she researched for this book, and Kayla and Brooke were even interested in that part.  It turns out that there really is a Black Angel statue in Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City, and Delia Ray did a great deal of research to uncover the real story about the monument.  This caused Kayla to want to google "The Black Angel in Oakland Cemetary" and we found photos of the statue!  We live about four hours from Iowa City, so now my daughters want to see the statue in person.  I assume that the next time we head to Chicago, we will be making a sidetrip to see The Black Angel.

If you are looking for a mystery to read aloud to students in 4th-7th grade, I highly recommend this one!  If you read it, please come back and tell me your thoughts!  Enter the Rafflecopter if you want an opportunity to win this book. I will send a new copy to the winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Past Tense Verbs Anchor Chart

The past tense verbs anchor chart that I'm sharing today is very simple... yet very important for ELLs.  In fact, I would estimate that I have created this anchor chart at least 20 times during my 12-year tenure as an ESL teacher.
Past Tense Verb Anchor Chart- including both regular and irregular verbs.

Yep, it's those problematic past tense verbs.  I split my anchor chart into three sections:  regular past tense verbs (add -ed), irregular past tense verbs that change forms, and irregular past tense verbs that stay the same.  Before class, my anchor chart looks like this:

I have my students help me write the past tense verb beside each present tense verb.  

By the way, I have found that many students can benefit from this anchor chart- not just ELLs.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard my seven-year-old English-only-speaking daughter utter "brang" in the past year.  I'd be rich!  Even my ten-year-old daughter said "quitted" recently!  And who can blame them?  "Sing" becomes "sang", but "bring" does not become "brang"???  What a confusing language we speak!

If you're looking for additional Irregular Past Tense Verb activities, feel free to take a look at my TpT store. The image below shows my bundle, but all of these products can be purchased individually, as well.

Multiple Meaning Words Anchor Chart {freebies included!}

Have you ever run across a multiple choice question like this? 
Reed walked to the back of the line.  

"Which of the following sentences uses "back" in the same way as it is
 used in the above sentence?"

A.  School will be back in session next Monday.
B.  I hurt my back when I fell on the ice.
C.  We sat in the back of the room.
D. Write back to me as soon as possible.

While providing testing accommodations to my ELL's, I watched students' eyes glaze over when they reached a test question similar to this.  Who can blame them? This type of question requires students to have some advanced knowledge of multiple meaning words in the English language, and to use advanced reasoning skills such as analyzing, comparing, and contrasting.  Furthermore, they have to understand what the test authors are even expecting them to do!  That's why I chose to share this lesson I have done with students, and make this topic the focus of today's blog post!

I told my upper elementary students that a key strategy when it comes to multiple meaning words is to visualize- to paint a picture in their mind of how the target word is being used in a sentence.  I started this lesson by giving students the following worksheet, and asking them to draw simple sketches (and write captions) that come to mind when they hear the word "ring".  

Clip art by Ashley Hughes.  Download this HERE.

After a couple minutes, I invited them to go ahead and share their sketches with a partner (which they are dying to do!) and discuss how many different meanings they thought of.  

Next, I uncovered my anchor chart, and showed them the meanings that came up with before class started.  
Multiple Meaning Words Anchor Chart- Use this anchor chart to help prepare your students for those complex multiple meaning test questions!

Next, we looked at the test question example at the bottom of the anchor chart.  I asked my students to describe what they visualized when they read the sentence in the question stem, and each of the answer choices.  I attempted to draw quick sketches based on the visualizations my students described.  Based on my students' descriptions, my anchor chart looked like this after our discussion.
Multiple Meaning Words Anchor Chart- Use this anchor chart to help prepare your students for those complex multiple meaning test questions!

Ultimately, we all agreed that the picture we created for answer D was most like the picture we created for the sentence in the question stem, making D the correct answer. 

Are you wondering about the "Step 2" listed on this anchor chart?
The next step in this lesson was to discuss a second key strategy: identifying whether the word was being used as a noun, verb (or another part of speech) in each sentence. Consider this question, which I placed under the document camera:

Mom goes for a run on Saturday mornings.  

"Which of the following sentences uses "run" in the same way as it is
 used in the sentence above?"

A.  Do you think you can run faster than Kim?
B.  The melted wax began to run down the candle.
C.  John was exhausted after his 15-mile run.  
D.  Don't run into the sign!

At first glance, answers A and C could both seem like plausible answers because you would visualize similar pictures when considering each sentence. However, when you identify their part of speech in each given sentence, you see that in the sentence stem, "run" is a noun. In Sentence A, "run" is a verb.  In Sentence C, "run" is a noun. Therefore, C is the best answer for this question.  
Download HERE.

If you'd like to try this strategy out in your own classroom, feel free to check out the matching craftivity that is available in my TpT store! After completing a 12-item multiple choice worksheet where the questions are arranged like the ones above, students then follow the directions to create a craftivity using three worksheet items of their choice! These make a great bulletin board display, because each student's illustrations are so varied! (Click on the image to check it out!)

Grams & Kilograms Anchor Chart

I branched out of my "comfort zone" a bit today- instead of creating an ELA anchor chart, I switched gears and went in the direction of math! In particular, I created this anchor chart that focuses on the metric mass measurements of grams and kilograms! I designed this anchor chart because I wanted my students to have a solid understanding of what a gram and a kilogram "feels" like.
Metric Measurement Anchor Chart

I was inspired to create this anchor chart after finding the following anchor chart on Pinterest.  (If you happen to know who created this, please let me know so that I can provide proper credit.  I tried to track down the creator, but I never found him or her.)

As an ELL and reading teacher for the past 14 years, it was rare that I taught much math.  However, I was the person who provided math accommodations on state tests for my ELL students.  I witnessed them struggle with questions like the apple example on the anchor chart, and I was certain it was because they had forgotten the meaning of "gram" and "kilogram".  Then, I saw my own daughter having trouble with this once last year when she was working on homework.  So, when I saw this anchor chart, I thought about how a similar one could be made to help kids remember the difference between grams and kilograms.  However, as you can see, I added the test question that I saw students struggle with, and provided a "think aloud" strategy on the anchor chart.

If I were to actually use this anchor chart in a classroom, I would begin by creating the anchor chart prior to class:
Gram and Kilogram Anchor Chart- providing a real-life example will help your students understand what a gram and kilogram "feels" like. This anchor chart also includes practice questions.

However, after hanging the anchor chart, I would fold up the bottom half, so that only the top portion was showing when the math lesson began:

I would give each student a small paperclip to keep (whenever I have informed a student that they can keep one of my paperclips, they have acted like I have given them a true treasure!), and I would pass around a dictionary, so that students could truly understand the difference between holding an object with the mass of one gram and holding an object with the mass of one kilogram.

After discussing the apple example, I would reveal the rest of the poster, and tell students that we will work through determining the best estimate for each individual item listed, beginning with the bike.  Since I am a huge fan of active student engagement and total participation techniques, I would instruct each student to use their hand to make a sign language G if they thought the gram answer was correct, and to make a sign language K if they thought the kilogram answer was correct.  (I would also allow students to discuss their thinking on the first few with a partner.) Then I would randomly choose 1 or 2 students to explain their thinking as they determined their answer.
Metric Measurement

If you have an anchor chart to share, I would love to see it!  Please link up!

Using Elements of Craftivities in Interactive Notebooks!

Hello Friends!

It was my turn to write a post at Upper Elementary Snapshots today!  Hop over there to read my post!

Reasons to Use Craftivities

For those of you who might be new to my Crafting Connections blog, welcome!  If you click on the "FREEBIES" tab at the top of my blog, you will see another craftivity that I give away free to my blog followers!

In addition to the five I shared at Upper Elementary Snapshots, I want to share one final reason why I love to use craftivities in the classroom... elements of craftivities are ideal additions to interactive notebooks, and provide students with one more device that will hopefully aid in their long-term retention of a skill or concept!

I have students glue pieces of craftivities into their interactive notebooks to further "cement" the connection.  For example, when our focus concept was “inference”, I had students create the “Let’s Make S’more Inferences” craftivity.

Using Elements of Craftivities in Interactive Notebooks

I made an extra set of photocopied s'more elements for each student (shown below), and instructed them to write a description/definition for text clues, background knowledge, and inferences inside the appropriate items.

Using Elements of Craftivities in Interactive Notebooks

They glued these pieces on the left side of their interactive notebook page.  Then, rather than gluing all six s’mores on the craftivity project, I instructed them to save one and glue it to the right side of their interactive notebook.

The left side of the notebook shows definitions/descriptions of the S'more analogy.
The right side shows an inference s'more that the students completed after reading a short passage.  They wrote the text clues provided in the passage on the bottom graham cracker, their background knowledge on the top graham cracker, and their inferences on the chocolate bar and the marshmallow.

I have a few "craftivity companions" all ready ready to go for you!  Click on any of the images below to download it for free!

Prefixes FREEBIE! Students write the meaning of various prefixes and provide example words for each prefix. This interactive notebook freebie can be used with any set of prefixes!

FREE Main Idea Activity! Students can glue this visual in an interactive notebook and refer to it as needed.

Teach your students how to recognize different types of context clues with this interactive notebook activity! It's FREE!

FREEBIE for teaching about themes in literature! Students can glue this foldable into interactive notebooks and refer to it as needed!