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Connect 4 Thinking


Students make connections between a concept or text and other words, ideas, or visuals.


  • Concept or text
  • Connect 4 Thinking handout
  • Connect 4 Thinking template (English/Spanish)
  • Notebook or chart paper (if handout is projected)


  1. Project or distribute the Connect 4 Thinking handout.
  2. Using the handout to organize their thinking, students analyze the concept or text by making 4 different connections such as:
    • Synonym or antonym
    • Analogy or real-life connection
    • Quick sketch or visual
    • Example or non-example
    • Another term, concept, or text
    • Genre demands
    • Assessment item
  3. Using a movement and discourse strategy such as Musical Mix-Freeze-Group, students share and compare their learning connections and add new ideas.
  4. Observe students’ thinking and clarify/verify as appropriate.

Classroom Management

  • Model the strategy using a think-aloud.
  • Time Saver: Project the template and ask students to record connections on notebook or chart paper.


  • Promote access by partnering students with a supportive peer/adult and allowing the use of teacher/student notes and visuals.
  • Provide response support by providing an idea/word bank and allowing students to dictate responses to a scribe.
  • Provide response support by allowing students to develop responses using a speech-to-text or word prediction support with a digital version of the Connect 4 Thinking template.

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:
    • Justify which connections help you understand and remember this concept best.
    • Write a paragraph summarizing the 2 most important connections you made.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.