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Making Connections

Making connections is when we make personal connections from a text with something in our own life, another text or something occurring in the world. Making connections is like a bridge...joining what we already know or have experienced to something that we are reading, viewing or listening to.

Making connections is based on a psychological theory about brain development and learning called schema therory. To retain new information and ideas we need to attach new knowledge and understanding to existing "schema" (or ideas) that we already know about.

When we make connections they can be categorised into three different kinds:

Some ideas for making connections...

 

OWL (Observe, Wonder, Life)

O -- what do you Observe or Notice
W -- what do you Wonder
L -- Link it to your life

Have the kids sit in a circle. The teacher would read aloud a book then open up to a page and  "observe" something. Then the teacher gives the one copy of the book to the next person and they open to a page to observe something in the book. The book travels all the way around the circle. Each child has an opportunity to share an observation

Then the teacher passes the book around again and do the "wonder". The kids open back to the page where they shared their observation. Now they wonder about their page. The teacher models first then the kids wonder about their page. Once again, everyone has a chance.

Then the teacher reads aloud the book to the class.  If the book is at a class reading level, the kids read for the purpose of finding a link to their life.  The teacher and the kids will pass the book again and do "link" to their life.
I have the kids sit in a circle. I read aloud a book then open up to a page and "observe" something. Then I give the one copy of the book to the next person and they open to a page to observe something in the book. The book travels all the way around the circle. Each child has an opportunity to share an observation.

Code the Text

1. Using a read-aloud and think aloud, demonstrate examples of making text–self, text–text and text-world connections.

2. While reading a selected text aloud, model how to code a segment of the text that elicits a connection by using a sticky note, a code (T-S, T-T, T-W) and a short explanation of the connection. Discuss how these connections strengthen your understanding of the text.

3. Have the students work with a partner to read a short text and code the text.

4. Ask students to share their connections with the whole class. Be sure to focus on how the connections helped them understand the text.

Connection Stems

1. After reading a text aloud, show students a sentence stem and think aloud about the process you use for completing the sentence stem. Use the text and personal experiences to explain your thinking.

2. As you read aloud, encourage the students to use the sentence stems to participate in the discussion.

3. Give students a complete set of connection stems. Have students read another short text with a partner and use the connection stems to facilitate their discussion.  For example:

 This reminds me of…

I remember when…

I have a connection…

An experience I have had like that…

I felt like that character when…

If I were that character, I would…

Other resources:

http://pzweb.harvard.edu/vt/VisibleThinking_html_files/03_ThinkingRoutines/03d_UnderstandingRoutines/321Bridge/321Bridge_Routine.html

http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/family-ties-making-connections-1070.html

http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/family-ties-making-connections-1070.html

http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/making-connections-30659.html

http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/guided-comprehension-making-connections-228.html

http://reading.ecb.org/teacher/makingconnections/index.html