Monday, 13 February 2017

Building Connections

Stuart Shanker talks about how teachers and parents have to find a way build connections with your child or your students that works for you and that you and the child(ren) both enjoy.  He describes a father-son connection building program where parents and children sat on the floor singing and it was clear that no one was enjoying the experience - not the parents or the children.  Then they all moved next door to the swimming pool and the bonds that were forming between the dads and their children in the pool were so natural and warm.  That reinforces once again why self-reg is a process and not a program.  
I remember when my youngest daughter was about 18 months old and I signed us up for one of those mommy and me swimming classes.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I hate swimming, turns out she didn't like it either.  But I thought it was what I was supposed to do. The only bond it built was a mutual dislike of swimming.  (Don't worry.  She got over it and is an excellent swimmer now).
Both of my girls love reading stories and being read to, and I love books so that was a wonderful natural way that we built connections.  When they were little, story time after bath time was one of my favourite times of the day, and I continued to read aloud to them each night long after they were reading on their own.  
In my own classroom, I loved reading aloud to students, regardless what grade I was teaching. Sharing books that I love was a way to build connection with students - talking about characters, plot, favourite authors and illustrators.  I can remember a grade three girl who had her dad drive her to several public libraries to check out all the Jon Scieszka books and she brought them to school the next day after we read The Stinky Cheese Man.  Laughing over Shel Silverstein poems, discussing how JK Rowling fooled us all (Professor Quirrell? Not Snape?) and wondering why Robert Munsch has a different illustrator for some of his books - these were all connections and conversations with students that I still remember.  I hope they enjoyed them as much as I did.

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