Introducing Schema

When I sent out an email to my entire faculty asking 
"Does anyone have a lint roller in their classroom? I left mine at home and I need it for a lesson today!" I'm certain that I had people saying to themselves... what in the HECK is she doing that that classroom of hers? 

Did you know our brains are like lint rollers? 
We make our schema stick!

I saw this FABULOUS idea from Holly on her blog Crisscross Applesauce in 1st Grade!  What an amazing idea and I couldn't wait to do it in my classroom.


First, I had my students write a fact they knew! It could be anything. Here were some of their sentences:

*Penguins can't fly.
*Hawaii is warm.
*I am seven years old.

We sat in a circle and I told them their brains are like this lint roller. As we learn, we gather up new facts and they stick to our brain! This is called SCHEMA.

I asked the students to tell me about their schema they wrote.

"I wrote about that Hawaii is warm because I've been there and I felt how warm it was!"

That is a perfect example. Some students might have read about Hawaii's weather and a few had actually been there. We can gather schema from many places (books, friends, experiences, etc.)

After we made our schema "stick", I asked the students to draw and label at least 5 things they have schema about! I made these "heads" on 11X17 paper so they had plenty of room to draw and write. They turned the heads into faces that looked like them.

You can download the schema head (haha sounds funny) HERE and another great printable from Holly at Crisscross Applesauce HERE.

Now that my students understand schema, we will continue to reference it and then move on to inferring!

Do You Want to Build a Story? {A Narrative Writing Lesson}

Do you have that Frozen song in your head now? DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN?
Well, your students know that song and it's your gateway to teach them about narrative writing. Narrative writing can be a HOT MESS if it's not structured JUST RIGHT! As I'm teaching my students about narrative writing, I have them help me build (draw) a snowman. I relate narrative writing to a snowman! PLUS I wrote a song to go along with Frozen's "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"  to introduce narrative writing but we call it...
"Do You Want to Build a Story?" (special thanks to my friend Alyssa who graciously and beautifully sang it for me! You can preview the song here!

This pack is perfect for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade 
narrative writing standards!
Included in this pack:
Do You Want to Build a Story Song (and lyrics)-You can sample the song here
Snowman Storyboard (pre-write)
Story Element Cards
Story Element Posters
First Draft Writing Paper (snowman themed)
Final Draft Writing Paper (snowman themed)
Pre-Write Storyboard (pre-write)
First Draft Writing Paper (no theme)
Final Draft Writing Paper (no theme)
Narrative Writing Rubric
Narrative Writing Editing Checklist
Bulletin Board Letters (Olaf not included)

Check it out here!

Our final products turned out great and now they are on display in the hallway!

Our Favorite Ideas for January!

January is crazy month! Right after the holiday rush you have to keep those kiddos engaged somehow. We've gathered our favorite ideas from over the years and compiled them for your viewing pleasure. ;) Feel free to download or pin to Pinterest for later.

Q-Tip Snowflake
We write this poem on the back (on lined paper)
Snowflake, snowflake
Falling down
On the trees
And on the ground.

Q-tip Snowflake

 Magically Appearing Picture
This magically appearing snow scene can be made by mixing 3 parts of Epsom salt  with 1 part of water.  Stir really well! Use a paint brush to create a winter scene and wait for it do dry to see your picture!

 Marshmallow Snowman
The marshmallow snowman's body is made by dipping a large marshmallow into white paint.  The buttons and face are made by dipping a small marshmallow into black paint.  The accessories are made out of paper.

I posted about some *free* January themed activities that you can check out {here}.

I also have this fun word search that I made for January that you can download free {here}.
Clipart copyright Diane J Hood and use with permission by

Here's what we're doing in our classroom next:
This cute board is from Really Roper. She's got a free mini-unit! Go get it (here)!

Then, we've got this amazing unit that we'll do the second week of January:
I love this unit! You can get this one from Deanna Jump {here}.

And lastly for January, we'll be learning about bears. This is from my Bear Unit.
You can find it {here}

 I found Jan Brett's website and I just loooooooove it.  I printed, cut, laminated and attached a popsicle stick to the animal masks from "The Mitten" and my class and I are going to retell the story by using the masks and acting out each of the part.  I am going to use a white sheet as the mitten and my students will have to crawl in it as we retell.

Clipart and/or fonts copyright DJ Inkers and used with permission:
Click HERE for the writing activity.  Click HERE for the mask downloads from Jan Brett's website.

This unit is perfect for Kinder, 1st, and 2nd Graders!
This mini-unit is a perfect way to teach your students about Martin Luther King, Jr. and all of the great things he did for human rights. 

This unit is for K-2!

Click {here} to check it out!

Do you teach grades 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th? Then this unit is perfect for you!

Want to read about what this pack includes??

And here's a pretty snapshot of some of the awesome printables and graphic organizers you will receive. 30 pages total.

This unit is perfect for any upper grades classroom {designed for grades 3-6} and will be a fun way to do some great learning about an important time in American History.

10 Teacher Gift Ideas for under $10

Over the years we've had lots of people ask the question, "What should I get my child's teacher for a Christmas gift?" We realize that all parents have different Christmas budgets and a lot of parents don't have a lot of extra money at Christmas time. Here is a list of 10 different gift ideas you child's teacher will LOVE! And great news... they are all less than $10! 

(Please note, this post contains affiliate links.)

1. Pack of Sharpies
Believe me, all teachers love Sharpies! The more colors, the better! This 24 pack is selling on Amazon right now for only $9.99! This is a great deal and would look so cute all wrapped up with a bow!
(Post edit: This price just went up to $12.00 Keep watching in case it comes back down again.)

2. Flair Pens

Along the same lines as Sharpies, Flair pens are the perfect teacher pen! They write so smooth, don't bleed through pages, and make grading and planning more fun! 

3. Cute water bottle

It's always nice to have a new water bottle around! As a teacher I always had my water bottle filled with cold ice water by my side. You can fill the inside with some candy or add a little vinyl lettering to the outside to make this a gift your teacher will love.

4. Bath Bomb Gift Set

What teacher wouldn't want to spend their Christmas break relaxing in the tub?! Bath bombs are my favorite because they smell amazing and make relaxing so much fun. 

5. Cute Notebook
A cute notebook can be used for so many things. Add a colored pen and this gift would be very much appreciated.

6. Amazon Gift Card

Chances are that if you get your teacher an Amazon card, they will most likely spend in on their classroom. Specifically new books for their classroom! You can never go wrong with an Amazon gift card!

7. New Office Supplies

Now that it's half-way through the school year, your teachers supplies are probably starting to run low. A pack like this would be a fun surprise!

8. Mr. Sketch Markers

Something about scented markers make teachers swoon! And, bonus, this pack is listed as 50% off right now!

9. iTunes Gift Card

iTunes gift cards are perfect because teachers can use them to buy audio books or apps for their iPads for students to use. 

10. Cute Clipboard

You can never have too many cute clipboards! For a cheaper option, buy a regular clipboard and personalize it for your teacher with scrap book paper and some embellishments. 


When in doubt, a nice hand-written card and a $5 or $10 gift card is a great option for a teacher gift! I always appreciated a movie gift card, restaurant gift card, or a shopping gift card. The dollar amount on the card never mattered to me, it was about being able to  have a night out with my husband or friends and relax. Teaching is stressful and the simple act of saying, "Thank you for all you do, please enjoy a night out," always meant the world to me!

Teachers, which of these gifts would you most like getting?
What else would you add to this list? 

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