A routine for connecting new ideas to prior knowledge

How are the ideas and information presented CONNECTED to what you already knew?

What new ideas did you get that EXTENDED or pushed your thinking in new directions?

What is still challenging or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings or puzzles do you now have?
Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?
The routine helps students make connections between new ideas and prior knowledge. It also encourages them to take stock of ongoing questions, puzzles and difficulties as they reflect on what they are learning.
Application: When and where can I use it?
The natural place to use the Connect-Extend-Challenge routine is after students have learned something new. It doesn’t matter how much they have learned – it can be a lesson’s worth, or a unit’s worth. The routine is broadly applicable: Use it after students have explored a work of art, or anything else in the curriculum. Try it as a reflection during a lesson, after a longer project, or when completing a unit of study. Try using it after another routine!
Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?
This routine works well with the whole class, in small groups or individually. Keep a visible record of students’ ideas. If you are working in a group, ask students to share some of their thoughts and collect a list of ideas in each of the three categories. Or have students write their individual responses on post-it notes and add them to a class chart. Keep students’ visible thinking alive over time: Continually add new ideas to the lists and revisit the ideas and quetions on the chart as students’ understanding around a topic develops.


Already use this Thinking Routine?

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