• schema
    SCHEMA is making connections using your prior knowledge.  
    ~Concrete Experience: The Schema Roller
       The students are asked to think about what exactly makes you so unique.  As the students share their thoughts, experience, and feelings they begin to realize that no one else has experienced life in just the same way. Then I place a large lint roller (used to represent my brain) on a table along with little slips of paper I have written down some things that have stuck to my brain through the years.  As I roll the lint roller over the slips of paper, I am showing the students that my brain is ready to stick to whatever it comes into contact with.  All of these things constitute my schema. 
    ~Sensory Experience: The One-Minute Schema Determiner
       Many kids need proof that a strategy will really help them.  On a large piece of chart paper I make a T-chart to help show the importance of schema through a graphic organizer.  On the left side of the paper I write a word that is familiar to all the students and give them thirty seconds to call out their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and experiences with regard to the topic.  For the next thirty seconds, the classroom is alive with students yelling out several ideas related to the topic.  I have to stop them at the end of the thirty seconds, but they could go on and on. Then on the right side of the chart I repeat the same exercise, except this time I choose a new topic that is unfamiliar to the students. The students begin to realize that without schema, their comments quickly turn to questions and word observations.  The presence of schema enables a reader to remember new information, connecting to what is known and boosting their chances for meaningful interaction with text.   
    ~Books by Mercer Mayer
        To continue to reinforce the reading strategy schema, the students are partnered up with another student and given a Mercer Mayer book.  These books will enable students to practice making connections using their prior knowledge. Below are the "thinking stems" to go along with schema to help support their dialogue as they practice "making connections."