Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Making Connections Lesson Freebie

As I'm in a new position now, I don't have my own classroom anymore. However, I still like to be in classrooms as much as possible, so I was very grateful to have the opportunity to try out a lesson in some second grade classrooms a few weeks ago. It was a great success, so I wanted to share it in case anyone out there could use it.

This is a modified version of the Connect lesson found in How to Teach Thinking Skills Within the Common Core.

Teaching kids to make connections can be complex. The purpose of the lesson was to help children make connections between the texts they'd read during the week and the weekly essential question. I started off by bringing in a beach bag with several related items inside such as a towel, sunscreen, goggles, and arm floats. Grouping students, I had them partner talk about each item as I revealed it. We took turns sharing what the partners said to one another. At the end of the activity, I had students look at all of the items and try to decide how they are connected to one another. The students jotted down their thoughts on the back of the graphic organizer I provided. 

This was the perfect segue into talking about what it actually means to make a connection. I provided this graphic as an explanation. We discussed how when we make connections we JOIN ideas together:
Next, we started to use the front side of the graphic organizer. 

I used an ActivInspire flipchart that I made to guide the lesson, but I've converted it to a PowerPoint to include in this freebie (because of image terms of use). I had students jot down what they knew about the essential question (which was about the environment). We took one text at a time and talked about ways that it fit with the essential question, jotting down our notes in the square sections of the graphic organizer. Finally, the students observed the similarities between the texts and the question and jotted a statement about how they were all connected. 

I had done a lesson very similar to this in upper grades previously and was curious as to how it would work with second grade. It went very well! The students understood the JOIN acronym and had no trouble connecting their texts. 

If you'd like the materials and the lesson plan I used, you can grab them for free here in my TPT store. If you use them, please drop me a comment and let me know how it worked for you!

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