Sunday, September 30, 2012

"I Got Skills" Reading Linky Party

With the big switch to Common Core, I have completely revamped my reading instruction.  (Thank goodness, I hated teaching from the basal!) 

So, during my shared reading time, we focus on specific skills.  I love teaching this way, but the problem is I have to create my own curriculum.  Which is fine, but why reinvent the wheel?  There are soooo many great teacher bloggers out there, I wanted to create one place with lots of resources for teaching specific skills. So an idea for a Linky party was born!  

Digital Paper by Maree Truelove
I teach third grade, but I know I can get some great ideas from any grade!  So the whole point of this linky party is to make my life a little easier, help some other teachers make their life easier, and to make my shared reading time more meaningful and fun! 

I plan on having several posts this week about different reading skills that I like to teach.  I might even visit some previous posts for my newer readers.  

Today I am going to share one of the very first things I teach, Schema or Prior Knowledge! Webster says Schema is "an underlying organizational pattern or structure; conceptual framework: A schema provides the basis by which someone relates to the events he or she experiences." Aka, the information in our head that forms what we think. 

First off, when I teach about schema, I don't just just say "Schema". We put our fingers on our head, act like we are scratching our head, and say "Schema, Schema, Schema" in a very high pitched voice.  I have no idea why I do this.  Maybe someone told me about it, or maybe it came from my crazy schema.  I don't know. Anyway, the kids always remember what schema is after doing that!  

To introduce schema, I always do schema bags with my kiddos.  I got this idea from my dear friend Elisabeth at Twins, Teaching and Tacos! When I asked her if I could share it, she said, "Sure, Someone else told me about it!" 

So anyway, I bring in a bag and fill it with things about my own schema. When I share with the class, I explain how it helps  me when I am reading.  
For example, I brought in a postcard from Thailand.  I visited there after college and I share how it helps me better understand a story that takes place in Asia or when I read nonfiction about something in Asia.  

After I go over my 4-5 things I have in my schema bag, I explain to the students that they are going to have a chance to take the schema bag home, bring it back the next day and share with the class. I have two bags that have our school name on them.  I send home the two bags with two students and they both present the next day.  You could use reusable shopping bags, bookbags, whatever you have on hand!

 It's like a fancy show and tell related to reading! The kids always LOVE doing this activity!

If you are interested in doing this activity, you can download the parent letter here!

When you open the document in Google Docs, be sure to click on File & Download.  It will open in Powerpoint and and you can edit the information & add your students in the table!

I also do two-three lessons in class about applying our schema to fiction & nonfiction reading. 

This year we read "My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Pollaco. 
The students looked at the cover and shared what schema they could use to better understand the story on a post it.  They did the same thing while I was reading the book aloud. 

We did the same thing with a nonfiction selection about the Scientific Method.  

So now, here's your part!  I'd love if you would link up and share how you teach specific skills! Feel free to link up older posts too!  It would really help my lesson planning! :)   


  1. HI Amber! What a great idea for a linky party! I can't wait to read all of the great ideas. I hope to link up in a couple of days. Thanks for sharing your ideas on teaching schema.


  2. Great idea for a linky!
    CCSS are great- they are eating me up in planning time though- I am going to look through for ideas!!!

    Going Nutty!

  3. Thank you for starting this linky! This is a fabulous idea. I can't wait to begin looking at all the ideas that are shared. I will be using your schema bag idea in my classroom. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I used My Rotton Red Headed Older Brother in my writing unit for personal narratives. My kids are obsessed with the book, and now they love Polacco as much as I do! =)

    Third Grade in the First State

  5. This is an awesome linky. I will be thinking and link back soon.

    Miss Nelson’s Got the Camera!

  6. I am a new teacher in 5th grade and I went to a training Saturday and they presented someone's "schema" activity but so briefly cuz everyone got it, luckily they shared your website with us, BECAUSE I WAS LIKE WHAT THE HECK IS SCHEMA???, THANKS FOR TEACHING ME ABOUT SCHEMA!!

  7. ha! we just did an activity with schema today...and spiders...did you see my pic i posted in TT?? haha!!

  8. What a great idea for a linky, Amber:) (Too bad I'm not teaching reading...but I still love reading about it! This is a great lesson on schema!

  9. I love this linky party! I, too, am a reading specialist, as well as a Reading Recovery teacher. Altho' my skill incorporates RR techniques, it is applicable to all teachers who work with pre-emergent readers.


  10. I teach schema as a file folder in your mind with information about what you already know about a topic in it. There is a great scene in a Spongebob episode where they show the inner workings of his brain as file folders, and he "clears his schema" of everything except one thing. If you Google "spongebob and schema" you should find it.

    Anne Kenney
    3rd grade teacher

  11. Its been very much better for the students to grant every possible stance and probabilities, furthermore, they would be liable to grant more respective elements in this regard. quote checker


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