KWL is a strategy that encourages students to think about what they already know about something and what they wonder about it or what want to find out. A KWL table or chart helps students to organize their information for reference throughout the inquiry process.
Why use it?
- To encourage students to draw on their prior knowledge.
- To encourage students to keep a running record of what they know, their wonderings/ what they want to know and what they learned.
- To help educators to see students’ preconceptions about a particular interest area and identify any misconceptions.
- To provide authentic opportunities for students to ask rich, higher –order questions that lead to inquiries.
Tips for success
- Provide opportunities and time for students to share what they know, their wonderings/what they want to find out, and what they learned.
- Use the Question Matrix as a tool for students to help them develop rich questions that will lead to inquiries about their wonderings.
How do I use it?
- Use provocations to encourage students to make connections to prior knowledge.
- Model with students how to use a KWL chart or table to record their prior knowledge, their wonderings/want to knows, and what they learned.
- Identify and document any preconceptions/ misperceptions and/or misconceptions that may present themselves as students share what they know and have learned.
- Encourage students to think about new questions that they might want to investigate as a result of what they learned.
- Use a Think/Pair/Share learning strategy to have students share with each other what they know and what they wonder about/would like to know.
- Have students use different coloured markers, pencils or crayons to record and represent visually, their new learning.
- The KWL strategy can be incorporated with other learning strategies (e.g., Collaborative Learning, Question Matrix, or Inquiry Journal learning strategies).