Category: Graphic Organizer

ACE – A Writing Strategy

What is the ACE Writing Strategy?

Help students organize their writing by using the ACE Writing Strategy. This teaching device helps organize the answers to short answer/constructive response questions. It prevents students from guessing the answers by providing a structured response to the question. The acronym stands for…

A – Answer all parts of the question in complete sentences.

C – Cite evidence from the text.

E – Explain how your evidence proves or supports your answer. Continue reading

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RUNNERS – A Test Taking Strategy

What is the RUNNERS Strategy?

Help students succeed when answering multiple choice questions with the RUNNERS Strategy. This acronym teaching device helps students break down reading passages, so they can more easily answer multiple choice questions. By implementing this strategy, students will have a better understanding of what they read causing them to more accurately answer questions.

R – Read the title and predict.

U – Underline key words in the question.

N – Number the paragraphs.

N – Now read the passage.

E – Enclose key words.

R – Read the questions eliminating wrong options.

S – Select the best answer. Continue reading

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Wish by Barbara O’Connor Teaching Activities

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

After seeing a cardinal, close your eyes, spit three times, and make a wish. — You can make a wish if you clap three times before crossing a state line. — You can make a wish if you see a camel-shaped cloud.

The Story

These are just a few of the unusual things Charlie uses to make her daily wish; the same wish she has made every day since fourth grade. 

When Charlie’s family ‘becomes broken,’ Charlie moves to the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina to live with her aunt and uncle. She becomes friends with Howard who lives next door. The two are complete opposites — Howard’s calm easygoing personality compared to Charlie’s fiery temper. Throw in a stray dog who Charlie names Wishbone, and you have a heartwarming story that will make you tear up as you watch Charlie struggle with where she belongs. 


Wish by Barbara O'ConnorAll versions of this book are now available.

FREE Teaching Idea for
Wish by Barbara O’Connor

Activity – Comparing Dog Novels 

Literally thousands of great books about dogs can be found. This project centers on six novels including Pax which is the story of a fox. Students read the summaries of the six books. They then complete a chart to make comparisons. A Venn Diagram is also included for student to go into detail when comparing and contrasting two dog-themed books.

The Books 

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds NaylorShiloh  by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

As Marty walks the hills of Friendly, West Virginia, he runs across a shy beagle pup. The pup follows him home. The two form an immediate friendship. Marty names the pup Shiloh after the place he finds him. He soon learns he must return the dog to its rightful owner, Judd Travers, who is unkind to his dogs. After doing so, Shiloh turns up at Marty’s home for a second time. Marty decides to hide him on the hill behind his house. This leads to all kinds of trouble for Marty. 

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson RawlsWhere the Red Fern Grows

Set in the Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression, Billy Coleman works for two years to save enough money to buy two coon hounds. The book follows Billy and his hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann, as they confront challenges of both nature and man. Some of these include mountain lions, bullies, and a winter storm.






Stone Fox by John Reynolds GardinerStone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Grandfather will not get out of bed although Doc Smith says nothing is wrong with him. Little Willy takes over Grandfather’s duties and harvests the potato crop. He thinks everything will be fine, until Clifford Snyder comes to collect $500 in back taxes. In his desperation, little Willy decides to enter the adult dog sled race. Will he be able to win the prize money he needs to save the farm? 




Pax by Sara PennypackerPax by Sara Pennypacker

Peter and his much loved pet fox named Pax are separated because of war. The book contains chapters alternating between Peter’s and Pax’s perspectives as they make their way back to each other. 









Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCammilo

Because of Winn-Dixie

Because of Winn-Dixie tells the story of ten-year old Opal. She has just moved to Naomi, Florida with her preacher father. On an errand to the grocery store, Opal finds a large, ugly, homeless dog. Opal is immediately attached to the dog whom she names Winn-Dixie after the grocery store where she finds him. Together they make friends with Otis, an ex-convict who runs the local pet store; Miss Fanny, the librarian who has a desk full of “Litmus Lozenges” a type of candy which her great grandfather invented; and Gloria Dump, the lady the local children think of as a witch because of her jungle-like yard. This book will make you laugh as Opal and Winn-Dixie make friends with these very likable characters in this small southern town.

 Google Docs

Free Google Digital Activity - Compare Dog Themed Books (Great to use with Wish by Barbara O'Connor)

This activity may be downloading from Google Docs here. The file includes two activities and an answer key.  

Book Unit Samples 

Wish by Barbara O'Connor -- Free Book Unit Samples

If you would like to try out the Wish Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2 
  • Constructive Response Question for Chapters 1-2
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like


Wish Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and Google Digital versions are available.

Gay Miller


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Choice Boards (Think-Tac-Toe, BINGO, Menus, RAFT, & 1-3-5)

Choice Boards

(Think-Tac-Toe, BINGO, Menus, RAFT, and 1-3-5)

Units of study that provide students with the option to choose tasks is a great way to differentiate instruction. Activities are placed on graphic organizers for students to select. Tasks may be organized based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, the complexity of the tasks, learning styles, or multiple intelligence.

Some advantages include —

  • The teacher can easily tier challenges based on the level of learners.
  • Students become actively engaged because they are more interested in the tasks. 

Think-Tac-Toe Choice Board 

With the Think-Tac-Toe Choice Boards, students are given a choice of nine items printed in a 3 by 3 grid to look like Tic-Tac-Toe. Students must complete three tasks in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal Tic-Tac-Toe row. The boards need to have a variety of activities that include different types of learning.

For example, for a list of vocabulary words students might:

Write the words in shaving cream. Draw a picture of each word. Divide the words into syllables.
Write sentences with the words.
Write the words in triangles. Make up a song or rap using the words.
Use the words in a letter to a good friend telling about your school. Use the words in a story.

Make up riddles or silly questions with the words.


BINGO Choice Board

Bingo Choice Boards are very similar to Tic-Tac-Toe boards. Students must select tasks in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row. This will include 4 or 5 tasks depending on the direction a student decides to go.


With menus, students select activities the same way they select from a menu in a restaurant. The activities can be for a single lesson, a series of lessons, or a full unit of study.

Appetizers (Flexible – Open for Discussion)

Students must select one appetizer from a list.

The Main Dish (Required – Non-Negotiable Assignment) 

Side Dishes (Flexible – Open for Discussion)

Students must select two items from a list.

Desserts (Optional)

These are high interest challenging activities that enrich instruction.



RAFT is a writing strategy to help students focus on four areas of communication:    

Role of the Writer




RAFT Example

Students select the role, audience, format, and topic from a chart listing approximately 16 categories. Within one lesson you may have a student who is a reporter writing an article for women about ways to recycle. In the same lesson, a student might be an advertiser creating an ad for youth on ways to take trash and turn it into furniture. The possibilities are great even within your structured lesson. You can read more about RAFT here and download a free sample lesson using this method.

1-3-5 Activity

Students select from a list of activities. Each activity is valued at 1, 3, or 5 points. Students must complete activities that total at least 12 points.

Give Choice Boards including Menus, RAFT, or
1-3-5 a try with these free templates.

This download includes a PowerPoint presentation with editable templates. You can change the text, format and resize the font in any of the table boxes. Click on the text to highlight the table. Then retype the text to create your own choice boards.
Free PowerPoint Choice Board Templates

 Gay Miller

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Suffix Teaching Activities and Ideas


Be sure to check out last week’s post “Prefix Teaching Activities and Ideas.” The prefix post contains some ideas and free printables for teaching suffixes. 

Activity #1 – Activity for Google Slides

Activities and Ideas for Teaching SuffixesThis activity for Google Slides helps students practice using suffixes that change the part of speech in words. This is a “View Only” file. You must save a copy on your computer before you can edit the file. Here is a one minute YouTube video that will show you how to save the copy.

Activity #2 – Three Anchor Chart Ideas

Anchor charts are a great way to teach skills. Use them as a reference, as an interactive activity, or to model information that should be written on a foldable organizer. This section show examples of all three of these. Be sure to click on either the last illustration or the link in the paragraph below it to receive the free printable organizer.

Anchor Chart Idea #1 (Reference)

Activities and Ideas for Teaching Suffixes

Anchor Chart Idea #2 (Interactive)

Activities and Ideas for Teaching Suffixes

  1. Using large flip chart paper, draw three to four vertical lines to form columns.
  2. Label each column with one suffix.
  3. On sticky notes, write base or root words that form real words when added to one of the suffixes listed on top of the anchor chart. Note: When completing this activity for the first time, using base words that form only one real word works best. For example, piano only forms a real word when the suffix -ist is added. Pianoible, pianoion, and pianor are not real words.
  4. Students place the sticky notes onto the anchor chart in the column that forms a real word when the suffix is added to the word on the sticky note.

This activity may be completed in small groups, as part of a learning center, or as an early finisher project.

Anchor Chart Idea #3
(Pair Anchor Charts with a Foldable Organizer
for Interactive Notebooks)Activities and Ideas for Teaching Suffixes

Click here to download this free foldable organizer that goes over six rules for spelling words with suffixes correctly.

Activity #3 – Free PowerPoints

Click on the images to download these two free PowerPoints.


PowerPoint #1 Activities and Ideas for Teaching Suffixes

Activities and Ideas for Teaching Suffixes

This editable PowerPoint makes a quick easy review. Each of the ten slides asks a single question. Students must determine which prefix or suffix to add to the base word to answer the question. The teacher then clicks to reveal the answer. The slides include five prefixes and five suffixes. You can add, delete, or change the slides to fit the needs of your students. You can also easily change the prefixes and suffixes to the ones you are teaching.

PowerPoint #2

Activities and Ideas for Teaching Suffixes

A Real World Example PowerPoint – This short PowerPoint was created as a hook activity for a lesson. It starts with a note Mom leaves about what snack you, the reader, are allowed to have. It contains just five question slides. Students must understand the meanings of the prefixes and suffixes to answer the questions. Again, this editable PowerPoint can be easily adapted or expanded to fit the needs of your students. 
Gay Miller



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Prefix Teaching Activities and Ideas


The English Language

English is a mix of several languages including French, Italian, Greek and Latin, Vietnamese and so on. This makes the number of words linguists estimate the English language to have extremely large —- approximately one million words. About 170,000 of these words are in current use. The average adult English speaker has a vocabulary between 20,000 to 35,000 words. Ninety-five percent of everyday writing and speech in newspapers, most books, movies, etc. use only about 3,000 words. So…how do we prepare our students for college entrance exams when everyday life exposes them to so such a narrow list of vocabulary words? —- We teach students prefixes, suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots.

This post includes several activities and ideas you might wish to try when teaching prefixes.

Activity #1 – Flip Books

Activities and Ideas for Teaching Prefixes - includes free printables

  1. Cut paper into approximately 1 by 5 inch strips.
  2. Cut an additional piece of paper 1 by 7 inches long.
  3. Stack the pages together with the 7 inch piece on the bottom.
  4. Line all the pages evenly at one end and staple them together to form a book with turning pages.
  5. Students write the prefix on the 7 inch piece of paper. On each page of the stack, they write an additional word  (base word) that can be used with the prefix.
  6. The book flips where each word can be read and discussed. Our books contained 8 pages; however, you can make them with more or fewer pages.

Activity #2 – Online Practice

Activities and Ideas to Teach Prefixes - includes free printables

Websites such as Scholastic, BBC, Hartcourt School, and Houghton Mifflin offer free online games for students to practice skills. This webpage contains links to fourteen online games which practice prefixes, suffixes, and/or root words.

Activity #3 – Interactive Anchor Charts

Ideas and Activities for Teaching Prefixes - Includes free printables

  1. Using large flip chart paper, draw three to four vertical lines to form columns.
  2. Label each column with one prefix.
  3. On sticky notes, write base or root words that form real words when added to one of the prefixes listed on top of the anchor chart. Note: When completing this activity for the first time, using base words that only form one real word works best. For example, turn only forms a real word when the prefix re- is added. Nonturn, unturn, and disturn are not real words.
  4. Students place the sticky notes onto the anchor chart in the column that forms a real word.

This activity may be completed in small groups, as part of a learning center, or as an early finisher project.

Activity #4 – Foldable Graphic Organizers

Ideas and Activities for Teaching Prefixes - includes free printablesIdeas and Activities for Teaching Prefixes - includes free printables
Three versions of this organizer are available from the links below.

Blank Prefix and Suffix Organizer

Containing Words Prefix and Suffix Organizer

Answer Key for Prefix and Suffix Organizer

Activity #5 – Prefixes that Express the Negative Booklet

Ideas and Activities for Teaching Prefixes - includes free printables


Students will enjoy creating this 12-page mini-booklet. Students practice with 10 prefixes that mean ‘not’ or ‘the opposite’  by completing charts.  On the charts, students list words beginning with the designated prefix, create a simple drawing of the word, and write the word’s definition.

 Activity #6 – Prefix Spinner Game

Free Prefix Spinner GameStudents play this free Prefix Spinner Game like BINGO. Students take turns spinning a spinner. (A collection of 5 spinners increasing in difficulty are provided.) After the spinner lands, the player must think of a word that contains the prefix s/he has landed upon. [Optional: Students must tell the meaning of the prefix, tell a word that begins with the prefix, and define the word named.] If the group feels the player has answered correctly, s/he may color in the box on his/her game board with the same prefix. The first player to have a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row colored is the winner. This game may easily be adapted for your grade level by using fewer spinners and cutting off unneeded columns on the game board.
Gay Miller

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Learning Log – A Teaching Strategy

Learning Log – A Teaching Strategy

What is a Learning Log?

A learning log is a specialized type of journal. Unlike typical journals, students record responses to the material they are learning.

Learning logs may include:

  • Concept Webs
  • Semantic Maps
  • Semantic Feature Analysis
  • Lists of Unanswered Questions Students Have
  • Observations for Experiments
  • Teaching Strategies

Why Use Learning Logs?

  • Learning logs prepare students to be great note takers.
  • Students have reference notes.
  • Students may use learning logs to reflect on learning.
  • Teacher can check for student understanding of a topic.
  • Learning logs become a example of student growth.
  • Teachers can determine which strategies are effective or ineffective.

How to Use a Learning Log

  1. The teacher must decide if binders, notebooks, folders, etc. should be used.
  2. The teacher prepares ‘Learning Log’ entries. These may be process entries that reflect on what students have learned. They may also be reaction entries that measure what students have learned.

Examples of Writing Prompts

  • List of Questions
    • Summarize what you learned today.
    • What questions do you have about today’s lesson?
  • Diagram or Illustration
  • Flow Charts
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Steps in a Process
  • Webs or Maps
  • Double-Entry Journal 
    • Left Side  – brainstorming, interpretation, drawing, maps, or notes
    • Right Side –  interpretations of the material on the left side of the page
  1. Grade learning logs on a pass/fail basis based on the effort students make in completing entries. 

Differentiating Instruction

Students may record answers on a tape recorder.

Give Learning Logs a Try

This free handout includes three printables that can be used with any novel study. A second set of printables for summarizing a lesson is also included.

You can download by clicking on the image below. 

Free Learning Logs Printables

Gay Miller

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