Today’s Wonderopolis Wonder of the Day: Who Invented Balloon Animals brought back a great memory!

Our family visited Florida in October last year … we went to NASA (and Disney). One night, we had an unexpected learning experience …

As soon as my daughter saw today’s Wonder, she started telling me that story and the things she learned …

According to my 7 year old daughter:

The guy came up at dinner when I was eating pizza. He asked me if I wanted a balloon animal and then asked what color I wanted. I pointed to purple. He said, “neon purple?” and I shook my head. He said, “let me tell you some history about neon while you are waiting.” He asked what animal I wanted. I said that I wanted a teddy bear. He told me that the teddy bear is named after Teddy Roosevelt, a former president. While he made my balloon animal he told me about the history of both the color and the teddy bear!

Wonder #36 will help you learn more about teddy bears!

Neon is one of the Wonder Words on Wonder #1129

You never know when learning opportunities will happen ….

Think about how many connections my daughter was able to make …

And connections lead to learning!

We should do all we can to help students be able to make the connections necessary for learning and comprehension!

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!

There is another type of connection that 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 movie; 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.

What are ways that you help students make connections?

What benefits have you seen from students being able to make connections?

How are you creating an environment conducive to learning?