Connecting Coloring with Learning

Updated: Aug 25


Coloring to Building Cognitive Linkages

There are many reasons teachers love coloring pages. They are fun, creative and can help children learn about colors and hone their fine motor skills. But what you may not know is that coloring pages can also be used to connect science, reading, and history lessons. Let's explore how you can use coloring pages to improve student learning in your special education classroom.


The Building of Cognitive Linkages

How does one improve cognitive linkages in students? Recent studies have shown that students can better remember and understand key concepts by integrating visual imagery in core content lesson plans. In other words, teaching using visual aids can help students build strong cognitive linkages within their brains.


There are a few reasons why this is the case. First, visual images are easier for our brains to process than abstract ideas or verbal information. This is because our brains are wired to process visual information more quickly and effectively than any other type of information. Second, when we see an image related to a concept we are trying to learn, our brains create a “memory anchor” which helps us to remember the concept more easily. Finally, visuals can help us to see the relationships between different concepts, which makes it easier for us to understand and remember them.

All of these factors together mean that teaching with visuals can be an extremely effective way to help students build strong cognitive linkages within their brains and improve their learning outcomes. Research has shown that including visuals in instruction can increase student learning by up to 400%! Now I don't know if that number is accurate for all teaching environments, but it definitely makes a strong case for using visuals in instruction!


Making Connections Through Coloring

One way to include visuals in your instruction is to use coloring pages. Coloring pages are a great way to provide visual aids for your students while allowing them to be creative and have fun. And because they can be used to connect concepts across multiple subject areas, they are an ideal tool for helping students build strong cognitive linkages. This is especially true for students with a learning disability or ADHD, who often struggle with making connections between concepts.



How to Use Coloring Pages in Your Homeschool or Classroom

Now that we know how coloring pages can help students build strong cognitive linkages let's explore how you can use them in your homeschool or classroom.


Here are a few ideas:


Use coloring pages as a way to introduce a new concept.

For example, if you are teaching older kids about the water cycle, you could start by having your students color a picture of the water cycle. This will help them to see the different parts of the water cycle and how they are all connected. Additionally, you can also use the coloring page to introduce the vocabulary associated with the water cycle.


Use coloring pages to reinforce a concept you have already taught.

If you have already taught your students about the water cycle, you can use a coloring page to help them review what they have learned. This is a great way to provide a visual study aids for students who struggle to remember concepts.


Use coloring pages to connect concepts across subject areas.

Suppose you are studying the water cycle in science, for example. In that case, you could also use coloring pages to connect the concept to history (the water cycle has been around for a long time!) or to reading (there are many books about the water cycle). This is a great way to help students see how different concepts are connected and how they can be applied in different ways.

Use coloring pages to assess student understanding.

After your students have colored a page, you can use it to assess their understanding of the concept. This is a great way to formatively assess student learning and make sure that they are on the right track.


There are endless ways to use coloring pages in your homeschool or classroom. These are just a few ideas to get you started. So go ahead and print out some coloring pages today and start incorporating them into your instruction. Your students will thank you for it!


Top 4 Free Coloring Pages Websites for Ages k-8

Crayola: Free coloring pages for kids

Little Sprout Art + Learning Lab: Free printable coloring pages for kids

Super Coloring: Coloring pages for kids

Cool2BKids: coloring sheets

Tip: Review these sites regularly for new free coloring pages. Have fun!

Resources

Ilias, Nurulhayati, and Airil Haimi Mohd Adnan. “Enhancing Learning and Retention Through ‘Cognitive Linkages’: A Case Study of Malaysian Children.” SRNN, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268381591_Enhancing_learning_and_retention_through_%27cognitive_linkages%27_case_study_of_Malaysian_children.