Teach children to make connections and you will teach them how to learn.
Good learners see connections everywhere. Connecting new information to what we already know helps make it more meaningful — and easier to remember.
Some children already know how to make connections, but most need to be taught. First, teach children the three main categories for connections to things they already know:
- Connection to self (The character in this week’s reading book story is new to school, and that reminds me of when I was a new kid.)
- Connection to information (Learning about bees reminds me of cities because all the bees in the beehive have a job.)
- Connection to a story (Medusa reminded me of the Basilisk in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets because anyone who looks at Medusa turns to stone.)
Model the process for a few days by making your own connections.
Most important: give children an incentive for making connections. In my class, table groups can earn points for good behavior, academic achievement, for example. When I introduced table points for connections, the number of connections my students made shot through the roof. I truly believe that when classmates make connections, the whole class benefits.
You will love to hear your students say, “Ooh, ooh, connection!”