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Connect the Dots


Students make connections among four different visuals, terms, assessment questions, events, texts, historical figures, or characters.


  • Connect the Dots handout (English/Spanish)
  • Notebook or chart paper
  • Markers (if handout is projected)


  1. Organize students into groups of two or three.
  2. Project the Connect the Dots handout representing four different visuals, terms, assessment questions, events, texts, historical figures, characters, etc.
  3. Model the connection (relationships, similarities, differences) between the topics/images at the end of the arrows for the first 2 dots. (I do.)
  4. Student pairs work collaboratively to explore and record connections between the next 2 pairs of words/images. (We do.)
  5. Students independently record connections using the last pair of words/images. (You do.)
  6. Observe students’ thinking and clarify/verify as appropriate.

Classroom Management

  • Rehearse the strategy with candy examples before using it with academic content.
  • Consider using the following for the 4 dots: 4 released test items, 4 complex words/concepts, 4 visuals, 4 texts, 4 types of learning mistakes, 4 characters, 4 historical figures, or 4 math visuals.


  • Promote access by providing an idea bank or pairing with a supportive peer.
  • Promote access by using concrete objects for the 4 dots in a 3D activity.
  • Promote access by providing summaries or visuals of each topic.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • What conclusions or generalizations can you draw about the ideas on all 4 dots?
    • Create or represent a 5th word, image, concept, or question, and explain its connection to 1 or more of the 4 dots.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.