How to Implement KWL Charts in Your Classroom

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Description

A KWL chart is a kind of graphic organizer that can be used during a learning activity to help learners keep track of their learning. A traditional KWL chart requires readers to ask what they know, what they want to know, and what they have learned. This teaching strategy engages a student’s prior knowledge about a topic by setting up the goal for reading and confirming the original understanding of the topic.

Advantages

  • Students can keep track of their learning.
  • It is a well-structured tool to help guide a lesson.

Disadvantages

  • It would be good if there were a fourth column for “what I still want to know,” so the learner can leave the learning activity with more questions that can be addressed in future classes.
  • Learners sometimes place topics in the (W) What I want to know column that are applicable but not covered in a pre-made lesson plan. This can require the learner to get a bit creative in re-arranging their learning activity on the fly.

Implementation

  1. The chart is just a piece of paper split into three columns: (K) What I already know; (W) What I want to know in this lesson; (K) What I learned.
  2. At the beginning of this learning activity, learners can fill out the first two columns. The first column will help the instructor assess prior knowledge. The second column will help the instructor and learners guide the learning activity by outlining what they want out of it.
  3. Lastly, at the conclusion of the learning experience, the third column can be filled in: (L) What I learned in the lesson. This helps learners reflect on the learning activity to show them that they did learn something!

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