My Week in Pictures: Understanding Schema, Life Decisions, and SDE!

Happy Saturday! Is anyone else exhausted or is it just me?  The two weeks leading up to Christmas break are always so tiring! I find myself jam-packing my lessons in order to keep a routine with my kids but also needing to add in all of the fun and exciting Christmas activities that I want to share with them.

Here’s our week in pictures, sprinkled with randomness and ideas for helping your students understand and activate schema while they read!

We used a lint roller to illustrate what happens in our brain when we use what we already know as we read new books.  I explained that everything we already know is stuck in our brains, just like things stick to a lint roller.  As we learn new information and/or have new experiences in life, our new learning sticks in our brain as well.  Our schema continues to grow throughout our lives and we use everything we already know to help us understand what we read!  
The lint roller ideas comes from the amazing Tanny McGregor’s book, Comprehension Connections.  Do you have this book? If you don’t, it’s a MUST. It’s filled with fabulous ideas that make reading strategies come to life for our kids. 
Find it here:
To really illustrate the concept of schema to my students, I wanted to choose a book they could easily relate to in order to help them activate their schema.  I thought the book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day would be perfect!
We used our schema to make some inferences about how Alexendar was feeling throughout the book.  My students did a great job with backing up the feeling with evidence from the text because they had lots of schema about the things Alexander was going through. Many of them knew what it felt like to fight with a sibling, step in gum, etc.
As we read through the book, we activated our schema before we made an inference. We wrote down experiences we have had on little strips of paper, and we stuck them to the lint roller.   
We also made our own Schema Posters to hang in our hallway.  This really helped to illustrate that everyone’s schema is different.  The students drew pictures of things they already knew a lot about.  We all shared three things we drew on the poster to help students recognize that everyone brings their own unique experiences, memories, and feelings into a book. 

To make these posters, we used Krista Wallden’s Character Doodles.  I simply printed them out and let the kids decorate the faces.  Then, they cut the top of the heads so that we could “see” what they already knew inside their brains. 🙂 Easy, effective, and fun!
In other news this week, I had a BIG day on Monday! I presented my very first session for SDE!  I was so proud to put on my purple Practitioner ribbon and give this new experience a try. I had so much fun and LOVED every single minute of it!! I got to spend some time with the amazing Kathy Griffin and my sweet friend Amanda Nickerson, who both presented as well!  I’m so, so thankful for such a wonderful experience.  It made me SO excited to present for them this summer in Vegas! Yayy!!

Last night was our staff Christmas party.  It is always a white elephant gift and no one ever buys anything for it. We find random things from around the house or make something. Here’s a picture of the white elephant gift I brought to the party: Life Decisions Kit (rock, paper, scissors)!  My sweet principal was the one who ended up taking it home! 
Want to make your own Life Decisions Kit? Grab a glass jar, some ribbon to decorate the top of it, and drop some paper, a rock, and a small pair of scissors into it. 

You can grab the label I used on my jar by clicking HERE.

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  1. That's so exciting that you got to present!! I am presenting at a Pre-K conference in February for the first time. I'm super excited but super nervous.. What are you presenting on in Vegas?!?

  2. I know your presentation had to be AMAZING!!! I love your ideas for teaching schema, I'm definitely going to have to check into that book! Love your white elephant gift, we are having ours this week. By the way, I love your hair! 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  3. Love both the schema lesson AND the Life Decisions Jar! So glad your SDE experience was a success! It is on my "bucket list" to present some day! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas and energy!
    Stories and Songs in Second

  4. I was at your presentation on Monday, and it was GREAT! I went back to my teachers on Wednesday and shared how important the speaking and listening standards are to teach to our kiddos!! Thanks for all the great information! You will do great in Vegas!

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