Some familiar topics were discussed where I asked them to tap into their schema, and we discussed how it helps us to better understand and make meaning of our reading. I then had them "activate their schema" on the topic of rain forests. They took some time to jot down everything they knew on the topic. We then shared. This was really great because we noted how our schema grows and changes as we have more life experiences. Sharing what they knew was helping to build their schema. Here's a sample of a page from one of my friend's reader's notebook.
I then read The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry. If you don't know this book, you will want to check it out. It's a classic and has the most amazing illustrations. Essentially, a man begins to cut down a kapok tree in the rain forest, but stops to take a nap. While he naps, all the different animals of the rain forest come to him and whisper in his ear the many reasons why he shouldn't cut down the tree.
As I read aloud, I modeled how my schema, the schema we shared, helps me to understand and make meaning of the story. The love the book and they really get this lesson. I then sent them off for their independent reading with the focus of tapping into their schema. At the end of the period, in their reflection log, I asked them to tell me how their schema helped them with their reading today. It was a good lesson.