Information provided for classroom use only; not for publication. 2005

*Prior Knowledge: Find out what the students already know, or think they know, about chameleons by completing a chart as a class: What We Know About Chameleons.  Keep the chart so that it can be revisited at the end of the week to check and see if what they knew was correct.


A chameleon is a lizard that is able to change it's skin color. 

A chameleon can turn pink, brown, blue, red, orange, green, black and yellow.

Unlike what is commonly thought, chameleons do not change colors to match their surroundings.

Chameleons change colors due to their physical condition, mood, temperature, light exposure,

and efforts to communicate and attract a mate.

Chameleons are naturally colored for their surrounding as a camouflage.

A chameleon is a reptile.

Chameleons are found in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Chameleons have a poor sense of smell and are almost deaf.

They have very good vision.

There are 100 different species of chameleons.


*Writing Assignment: Have the students do research on chameleons if necessary and then complete the one of the following writing assignments.

Format 1


Format 2

*Scavenger Hunt: Created and shared by Alice Thomas

Scavenger Hunt

*Comprehension: Listen to the story on tape. (you can record it yourself or purchase the book & cassette)

*Story Elements: After listening to the story and/or reading it, discuss the story elements: title, author, setting, characters, main character, something that happened in the beginning of the story, middle, end, problem, solution, was the author's intent to entertain, inform, or persuade the reader, what was the lesson learned?

I created story element pocketchart cards for this activity.  Print the story element cards below on cardstock, laminate and cut out.  Place them in your pocketchart one story element per row.  The activity can be done in a couple of ways.  As you're discussing each element, you can jot down the answers of the students.  Later make answer cards from their answers by writing them on sentence strips (one answer per story element).  OR, you can have premade answer cards and as a student supplies the answer, place the answer card in the pocketchart beside the story element.  (This is what I'll do) 

The next day, after reading the story again, review the story elements.  Then remove the answer cards and pass out to students making sure that everyone can read their answer card.  (for lower level students, you can quietly read the answer card quickly with them as you had them the card)  Then go back to the pocketchart and read the story elements.  As each element is read, the student with the correct answer card should raise their hand and read their card.  If it's correct, they place the card back into the pocketchart beside the correct story element.

The next day, you could have all the answer cards in the pocketchart, but have them placed mixed up and have the students take turns putting the answer cards in the correct place. 

After the activity has been sufficiently reviewed, you can remove the answer cards and place them and the pocketchart with the story elements in a work station or center for the students to complete individually or in pairs.

printable story element cards

*Comprehension: Have students read or listen to the first paragraph of the story.  Have them create their own booklet for the paragraph.  Write one sentence on each page and illustrate it.  For example:

1) A small green chameleon sat on a green leaf.

2) He moved to a brown tree and turned brown.

3) He got on a red flower and turned red.

4) When he got on the sand he turned yellow.  You could hardly see it.

*Shared Reading & Concepts About Print: Write the sentences from each page to make a pocketchart activity so that they can be read together.  The teacher will point at each word as it's being read.  Then the students can match pictures to each sentence.  The picture cards are made by using clipart, printing onto cardstock and laminating.   


I've converted the printables for this to PDF format,

so you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the file.

The Mixed-Up Chameleon Pocketchart Pictures

I wish I could be big and white like a polar bear. (white polar bear)

 I wish I could be handsome like a flamingo. (pink flamingo)

 I wish I could be smart like a fox.  (red fox)

 I wish I could swim like a fish. (orange fish)

 I wish I could run like a deer.  (brown deer)

 I wish I could see things far away like a giraffe.  (yellow giraffe)

 I wish I could hide in a shell like a turtle.  (green turtle)

 I wish I could be strong like an elephant.  (blue elephant)

 I wish I could be funny like a seal.  (purple seal)

 I wish I could be like people.  (people)

 I wish I could be myself.  (chameleon)

 I also made an extra set of the text (on yellow sentence strips) and cut them apart.  (in bag)  Students can use to match the text.

 *Sequencing: They can use the same pictures/sentences above to practice sequencing in the pocketchart.  They can sequence the pictures and/or sequence the sentences. 

 *Word Order: Make a  second set of sentence strips using another color and cut the words apart.  Students will build the text next to the sentences in the pocketchart using the word cards. (in a wide pocketchart .. if using a standard pocketchart you'll probably have to provide a model of the sentences printed onto cardstock)  Word cards will be cut close to the word so that emphasis can be placed on the student creating “meatball” spaces between the word.  Lower ability students can match the words to the text by placing the word card OVER the matching word in the text (sentence strips that aren't cut apart).  More advanced students can create the sentences without a model.  You may want to separate each sentence into a ziplock bag to make it a little easier.

*Comprehension: Student can choose one sentence from the pocketchart activity above to copy on his paper and illustrate.

*Song Chart: This is posterboard size and the chameleons are clipart from the 'net.  I added a strip of grass border across the bottom and some flying insect stickers before laminating.  Do you just hate that laminating glare on pictures? :(  But the chart turned out cute and the kids like it and the song.

 *Color Words Match: Use a chameleon illustration and copy onto different colors of cardstock.  Create some color words cards so that they can match them to the correct color chameleon. 

When I actually started creating this I changed up my idea.  Carol, at The Learning Tree, shared one of her ideas with me using letter tiles and I adapted it (of course, we both do that ;) ) and came up with this activity.  In this activity the student has to match the correct color chameleon to the one on the card AND then build the color word using the letter tiles.  They fit into the blank boxes.  You can buy yellow letter tiles from the teacher catalogs or you can purchase white letter tiles from Wal-Mart for around $4 a set.  I have both.  I prefer the ones from Wal-Mart because they are thinner and take up less room in my letter case (a plastic nuts and bolts storage case also from Wal-Mart).  The chameleon pattern I had in my files and it's originally from The Mailbox online.  (Thanks Carol for sharing your ideas and your template! ;) )


When I first came up with this idea, well .. after the first, first :), I was going to make the mats above but put "green" on green, and "red" on red to show the way the chameleon's skin changes to camouflage himself.  Then after I got into it, I realized that the colored mats would give away the color word, so I changed the idea.  You could use the "camouflaged" version with preschoolers who are working on learning their colors and leave off building the word if you liked.

*Story Innovation: Students can  write their own story using the same format: I wish I could be .... or they can work together to create a classbook.  Each student would complete the sentence frame and illustrate their own page, then all the pages would be compiled together to make a book.  I suggest typing up each student's sentence on page for them to illustrate rather than relying on them to print it correctly.  I feel like if you're going to "publish" something like this that it should be in an easily read format.

 *Graphing: Have students decide what they'd rather be and graph the results as a class (polar bear, flamingo, fox, fish, deer, giraffe, turtle, elephant, seal, person, chameleon)  You can create a class pictograph by having each student write their name on a boy or girl die-cut.  Each student would place their die cut in the correct spot on the graph.  (Use bulletin board paper or a white plastic shower curtain to create the graph and the printables from above for the column icons)   Students can use the class graph to transfer to their own graph and create a bar graph.

printable student graph and graph questions (below)

*Interpreting a Graph: Answer questions on response sheet using graph.  For example:

How many people would rather be a turtle?

How many people would rather be a giraffe?

How many people in all chose to be a giraffe or a turtle?

How many people are in the class?

Which one was chosen more?

Which one was chosen less?

Were any the same?

*Have students draw what they'd rather be (from the choices above) and write why they chose that answer.

*Rewrite the story having the chameleon visit a circus, a school, a hospital, etc. instead of a zoo.

*Alphabet Match: Cut a chameleon graphic(s) into half.  Program head side with a capital letter & tail side with a lowercase letter.  Can use different graphics or different colors.


Chameleon ABC Matching Cards

*Beginning Sounds Match:  Chameleon graphic with lowercase letter & match to picture that begins with same sound.                               

printable beginning sounds matching cards

 *Building Words: Make words from the story using big chameleon graphic and the word written in tiled letters.  Students build the word underneath it using plastic letter tiles.  If you use a chameleon illustration instead of a graphic,  you can place the word on the chameleon.  For animal words like turtle, fox, giraffe, etc., you can use graphics of the animal with the word instead of the chameleon.

*Ending sounds: Use a graphic for each animal in story and write the word leaving off the last HEARD ending sounding.  Create ending sound cards.  For words like giraffe and turtle, you can use “fe” or "le" with a slash through the e indicating that the e is not heard (silent).

 *Beginning or Ending sounds: Use animal graphics from story and place on a sentence strip vertically as it is in the story.  Program wooden clothespins with the beginning or ending sound for each animal.  Have the student clip the correct pin with the beginning or ending sound to each animal picture.  OR, you could do both ... beginning sound clips on the left side of the strip and ending sound clips on the right side of the clip.  Be sure to place your clips on the strip before programming them to insure that the letters are programmed correctly.  If you don't, you're liable to have letters upside down.

Sentence strip pictures printable

*these are sized to fit on a sentence strip vertically*


*Vocabulary Words: You can also use the activity above, but instead of programming the clothespins with beginning sounds, you could program them with the animal names.

*Patterns: If you print out multiple copies on the animal cards above, you can use them to practice patterning in the pocketchart.  Ex. giraffe, elephant, elephant

*Art: Give each student animal parts or let them create their own.  They will glue them together to create a new kind of animal.  They will need to name their animal and write one sentence about it.  They can use the sentence frame: I wish I were a ______.

*Compare & Contrast: After reading The Mixed-Up Chameleon several times, read Leo Leonni's A Color of His Own several times.  Then use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two stories.

*Culminating Activity: Watch the video of The Mixed-Up Chameleon.  It's on the video with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Related Books:

A Color of His Own - Leo Lionni



Lizards - MM2096 Snips and Snails

A Color of His Own - The Mailbox Aug/Sept 2002

Color Time - A - Z Language Games PreK - K MM2047



The Chameleon emergent reader


Vocabulary Planning Sheet



Literacy Bag for The Mixed-Up Chameleon


Incorporating Technology


Language Experience Lesson (scroll down)


Mixed-Up Chameleon


The Mixed-Up Chameleon resource


Bulletin Board - The Mixed-Up Chameleon


Mixed-Up Chameleon - Grade 2 lesson plan


Science-Literature Links - The Mixed-Up Chameleon


The Mixed-Up Chameleon


Chameleon Observation


Chameleons Science Lesson Plans (3rd)


Visiting Chameleon (Gr 2)




All Mixed Up


Who Am I?


Children's Art Exhibit - The Mixed-Up Chameleon


Building Up Self-Esteem Through The Mixed-Up Chameleon




The Mixed-Up Chameleon (story prop printables)





Graphics by Me! :)



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updated 4.4.10