The Anchor Chart: Activating Schema Using the Senses
by Chase Young

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This whole group lesson is geared towards second graders. The main idea of the lesson is to introduce text structure and their features. However, the structure of the lesson will effectively draw on prior knowledge and experiences utilized multiple senses while allowing students to monitor thinking and check for accuracy.  Throughout the lesson students are listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and visually representing (Silver & Strong, 2000).
An anchor, as created by Debbie Miller (2003) should be used to introduce the bat unit—cleverly placed near Halloween. The anchor chart beings with the following sentence, “What do we already know about bats?” After having students write down they know about bats—each fact on one note card—they physically placed them into the schema file. The schema file is file folder attached to the chart paper below the first sentence. The habit of the mind covered is drawing on past knowledge and experiences (Costa & Kallick, 2000).

After drawing on previous knowledge of discussion is held about what we already know. The sentence below the file reads, “What is our new learning about bats? What will we add to our mental files?” At this time Zipping Zapping Zooming Bats  by Anne Earl is read out loud stopping as students write down new learning on note cards. We also stop to notice every text feature of the book. After reading we tape the new learning below the second sentence (Miller, 2003). 

Finally, we check for accuracy with the third sentence, “What were our misconceptions about bats? What will we delete from our mental files?” We read through our schema attaching what we already knew under the first sentence. Any common misconceptions such as “bats turn into Count Dracula” are placed under the last line where we can visually remember it was a misconception. It is extremely important to instill a need for accuracy in student work (Laureate Education, 1996). 
The anchor chart can be used in many ways, and for many lessons. Students learning was enhanced significantly by guiding them to activate, build, and revise their schema through multiple senses and processes (Miller, 2002). 

Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (Eds.). (2000). Activating & engaging habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (1996). Helping students become self-directed learners. [Video recording]. Los Angeles: Author.

Miller, D. (2002). Reading With Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades. Stenhouse Publishers.

Silver, H. F., Strong, R. W., & Perini, M. J. (2000). So each may learn: Integrating learning styles and multiple intelligences. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

View the Anchor Chart

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