great schema Intro, purple pets and sticky notes

Here’s an idea from a workshop I attended awhile back, but it’s worth sharing. We discussed teaching kiddos about how connections are made and new learning become permanent. The presenter had a drawing of a brain with different areas from our experiences. So this is how the lesson went.

1. Introduce the topic to be discussed-we did pumpkins

2. Ask what they already know. For instance I said I knew pumpkins were a fruit.

3. Ask how they know that-I answered that I’d read it in a book.

4. Put glow-in-the-dark puffy paint ($2 at  Wal-Mart) on the area of the brain that says books.

5. Repeat until most of the brain it painted in. Take a restroom break and tell the kids that when you return, you will show them how making connections lights up our brain, or creates more synapses.

When the paint dries it glows in the dark! It was awesome and a moment kids would remember. Of course, you wouldn’t want to do it repeatedly-but what a wonderful intro!

Here’s a picture of her brain with paint (I did not take a picture of it in the dark!)


Our poem of the week is My Neighbor’s Dog is Purple. I love using it to refresh them on mental images, but more importantly teaching how they change as we get new information. I got the idea from Deanna Jump. And yes, these are related! Based on their schema, they draw a dog {Chihuahua, German Shepherd, etc}. They color it purple. It’s what the poem says. THEN you read the 3rd stanza

My neighbor's dog looks nasty,

it has a wicked smile....

before my neighbor painted it,

it was a crocodile.

Now our mental image takes a left turn! I also use the Green Giant poem she recommends. Our counselor uses the same poem for listening skills. She reads it aloud, they listen, then draw and see how many details they can remember. It’s a good one!


And yet one more thing…we finally started our story map stickies this week.I know you’ve seen this poster. It’s a goodie and all over Pinterest, but I love Rebecca’s. I use it as a predicting activity. This also requires a little schema and background knowledge {and common sense}.I write the author, title, character names, a phrase for the problem, solution, theme, and one or two events. I hand out the stickies to whomever I can reach without getting up from my comfy butterfly chair, and they place them on the poster where they think they go. Of course we usually have to change a few. I remember last year someone placed Eve Bunting on the “problem” section! haha! Anywho, it’s a great little part of my weekly routine!


One more day this week. We have Friday off! Woot woot! And it’s Mr. Lamb’s b-day. I actually get to have lunch with him! Lucky guy!


  1. I love this. Haven't seen it on Pinterest (probably because I'm so busy!) So I pinned yours. Thanks for the idea.

    Stickers and Stamps

  2. I love your laminated story map with post-its for the book. That makes it so easy! :) Thanks for the idea!

    The Science Penguin


notes to the teacher

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