Make a Personal Connection

imagesLearning and remembering new concepts and procedures are much more likely when people can connect new learning to old learning and/or present viewpoints.In addition, when children can make a personal connection, they will become more engaged and what they are learning will have more personal significance.

Making a personal connection, especially at the beginning of a lesson is a simple but powerful activity.

 Objectives for Children:

  • To connect the object of the lesson to what they already know, feel, remember, and/or have experienced.
  • To infer or imagine possibilities.


  • Be clear in your own mind as to the object, concept, theme; i.e., main idea of the lesson.
  • At the beginning of new lessons or to summarize just-past lessons, find out what children already know, feel, remember, and/or have experienced about this.
  • You may sometimes bring a concrete object, related to the main idea, for children to examine and tell what they know about it.
  • Ask the children a question related to the main idea.
  • Write, draw or diagram their responses so that all can see.
  • After the lesson, find out what new connections they have.



Before investigating movement, ask: “What things can move by themselves? What things can be moved by something else? Make a list of each on the board.

UnknownBefore investigating color, ask: “What are your favorite colors?” Make a
graph that compares the popularity of different colors.

big-shoes-infant-shoes-29848214Before investigating space, ask: “What are the largest spaces you can think of? What are the smallest? Make a conceptual web around “Large spaces” and “Small spaces.” (Did you ever think of shoes as spaces?)images



Before investigating light, use the KWL format.

kwlBefore investigating shape, ask children what shapes they already know.

Before investigating sound, ask children what they imagine the world would be like if there were no sounds.

Before investigating texture, bring a bag of interesting objects for children to feel and describe, perhaps without looking.



Before reading a book or telling a story, ask students what they already know or feel about the main idea.

While reading a book, ask students to predict/imagine what will happen or to infer what the illustrations are about.

Before writing something, “pre-write” what you already know, feel, or want to include.


Before counting or measuring, estimate first.

Before solving a problem, guess what a reasonable answer might be.



Before conducting an experiment, predict what the outcome will be.


Before looking up or hearing new information, make a guess.


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  1. Adelaida Salvador