Making a personal connection to a character or an even in a story can help with student comprehension of that story.
Helping students establish connections between topics they are learning about strengthens their understanding of both topics.
Making connections between things is one of the key ways I make sense of things ... and serves many times as blog post topics!
It was not until today that I really saw how another type of connection plays a very important role ...
While reading Setting the Tone: A Connected School Approach to Creating Bully-free Classrooms by M. Carpenter, S. Roy, and G. Smith, I came across a statement that really jumped out at me:
"Connections are like background music in a move; they set the tone for everything else that happens."
This book was not talking about the text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections related to reading that I normally think of when I hear about students needing to make connections for learning.
The connections for learning being discussed in that chapter were the connections created between the teacher and students in the classroom ....
It is all about creating an environment conducive to learning ... making those personal connections so everyone feels they matter, are respected, and able to succeed even if they don't at first.
As I reflect on my time in the classroom, I think it was about finding something student enjoyed and helping to make connections between that and what we were learning. It was about going to see my students play basketball to show them that what mattered to them was important. Some days, making those connections just required a smile and simple hello ... then other days, it required more ... but if it was going to help learning happen, then it was my job to do it!