You can do well on a test if you remember things by heart. Effective teachers now know that students truly learn and remember what they’ve been taught when they connect with it. There are many ways to get kids more interested in what they are learning and help them see how it applies to their lives.
However, the KWL chart is one of the most influential and straightforward teaching methods. This simple graphic organizer activity is a great way to give students more control over their learning and help teachers choose the most exciting lessons that students will remember for a long time.
What does a KWL Chart do?
A KWL chart is a way to organize things that students and teachers mostly use in the classroom to help guide and motivate learning. As you can see, KWL stands for “Know,” “Want to Know,” and “Learned.” There is one space for each letter on the KWL chart, and this is where students write the following:
- What they already know about the subject
- How do they feel about the subject, or what they want to know
- What they found out (after class or homework)
KWL charts are great for getting kids involved in learning, helping them remember what they’ve learned, and keeping track of their progress. KWL charts are often used to help students understand their reading better, but they can be used for any subject or lesson.
Why Kwl Charts Are Helpful In The Classroom
It is usually easier to learn and remember things when they are given in a variety of ways. For instance, a study in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition found that students who took notes during a lesson and used outlines and diagrams to help them learn more deeply understood the material.
One more reason why KWL charts are great for the classroom is this. At every step of the lesson, KWL charts help students organize and picture what they are learning. There are many good reasons to use this visual tool in your school. KWL charts:
Make it easy to use
- Show how much you know and where you need to improve your learning.
- Encourage students to learn and get them involved in the process.
- Keep track of your progress and what you’ve learned.
- Show an easy way to keep your notes in order.
It gives you options and can be changed to fit the needs of the lesson or the student. KWL charts are an excellent way for students and teachers to take notes because they are easy to use and understand.
By keeping track of each step of the learning process (present knowledge, questions or gaps, and results), KWL charts help teachers figure out what each class needs and plan lessons that meet those needs. This method helps teachers and students understand each other and gets students interested in the subject and involved in their learning.
How to Read and Use a KWL Chart
Make a table with three columns, one for each letter of the alphabet: K, W, and L. This is how you use a KWL chart. Follow these steps to fill out your chart before, during, and after class once you’ve made it:
Start with Column 1: Know
In the first column, let students write down what they already know or think about the subject. The KWL chart can be used for learning by yourself or a group. You could put people into small groups and have each group share their notes with the rest of the class. You could show the class an online KWL map they can all complete. This will help them stay on track, and they can also do their own worksheets as they go through the training.
This is an excellent way for teachers to find out what their students already know to plan lessons that build on what they already know. Column 1 can help teachers figure out, for example, if their students have misunderstandings before class. If necessary, you may want to fix the students right now, or you may want to use this information to plan your lessons so that these misunderstandings are covered later on.
Tip: Bring extra questions to get kids to think of new ideas and take charge of their thinking.
Fill Out Column 2: What Do You Want To Know?
Fill out the “W” column after your kids have written down what they already know. “What do you want to know about this topic?” is a question you can ask your students. Again, break the class into pairs or smaller groups to start the talk. Then, have each person share their thoughts with the class so they can be written down on a master KWL chart. If your style needs people with knowledge or experience with the subject, ask them thought-provoking questions to help them develop ideas.
People often develop new ideas and start a conversation by writing “Who, What, When, Where, Why, How” at the top of the column. This phase is a valuable teaching tool because it helps teachers figure out what topics students are interested in and what questions they have about them so they can change their lesson plans accordingly. Doing things right makes students more interested and helps them learn more.
Fill out Column 3: What You Learned.
During the class or unit, students can use their KWL chart to fill out the third column: Acquired knowledge. As they learn, they will note it and cross off the questions in the second column that have been answered. In Column 1, students can write about what interested or surprised them and clear up misunderstandings.
Some teachers like it when students fill out their KWL charts as they learn, while others like it when they record what they’ve learned at the end of the lesson. Any way you look at it, this step gives students another chance to review what they know and strengthen it. It also helps teachers track how their students learn and grow.
What a KWL graph looks like
So, how does this work? Let’s say you’re an elementary school teacher, and you’re speaking about clouds. Take a look at this finished KWL chart:
- There are different kinds of clouds.
- Clouds come in many shapes and sizes.
- Clouds are made up of water.
- What do storm clouds look like?
- What makes clouds appear?
- These are the different clouds: Altostratus, Cirrus, Cumulonimbus, Stratocumulus, and Altocumulus.
- Cool, rising air condenses into tiny water droplets when more water droplets form, a cloud forms.
Kwl+Sifr: Changes to the Kwl Chart
The basic KWL map can be changed and used in many ways. Depending on your lesson plan or goals, try some of these different versions. To keep learning and make it better, you can add more fields to KWL charts. One more piece for you to think about:
S: I still want to know
KWLS adds a fourth space at the end of each lesson or unit for students to write down what they still want to know about the subject. Here is where you should write down any questions from the first column that are still open, as well as any new questions that came up during the lesson or task.
This is a crucial part to have so that teachers can answer questions from students before going on to the next unit and keep improving and rethinking lesson plans for future classes.
I: How important
“Why is this information important?” is a question students answer. This is especially helpful when keeping track of learning over a more extended unit or using the KWL chart to help you study for tests or articles. Knowing why something is important or valuable also helps students connect with the subject by putting the lesson in context and keeping them motivated while they’re learning.
F: I found
In this section, students can write down where they learned something. It’s a great way to keep track of their sources, especially if they need to use them in a project or want to study the information again later.
Lastly, students can write down any important information they want to remember in the R section. This is very helpful for learning and getting ready for tests. The I-F-R columns can be used in many lesson plans, but they are especially helpful for students who want to take notes on reading or other tasks where they need to keep track of sources, remember important information for later use, and understand why what they’re learning is essential.