April 11, 2016

Help Your Students Make More Meaningful Connections

My firsties make connections when we read like they are going out of style!

"I've rode a bike before too!"
"My cousin's name is Jack."
"I play hide and seek all the time at home."

For awhile my teacher heart felt so proud.
 But recently I began to think, yes they have a connection to the story, but how are these "connections" helping them understand the story more and become better readers? 
In all honesty, they really weren't. 

I want my kids connections to help them understand the text. To REALLY connect to it.

Without telling them my plan, we read a story, Hazel's Amazing Mother

I literally wrote down every single connection they had.
The following day, we re-read our list of connections and discussed the difference between surface connections and deep connections. 

Surface Connections=ones that don't really lend to helping us understand the story.
(I play baseball too. // My dog barks too. //  I have an uncle who lives in New York.)

Deep Connections=those that help us understand the story or character more.
(I felt the same way ____ did when my mom told me I couldn't sleep over at my friend's.)

I read the story again and had them think about our connections while we read.
We then went back and labeled each connection with a 1 (deep connection) or a 2 (surface connection). 

On day 3, we read the story Ira Sleeps Over.

We did not record our connections on a chart, but shared them during reading time and verbally discussed why they would either be a 1 or a 2. 

Much to my surprise, they caught on very quickly!
I even had two smarty pants make this AMAZING connection:

"A 1 connection is kind of like connecting to the main idea of the story." /// "And a 2 connection is like the details of the story, just little parts that aren't really that important."

Be still my teacher heart!
I can't wait to see and hear how our connections change next week when we meet in small groups!

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