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Use K-W-L (Know Wonder Learned) Chart to Develop Critical Thinking


Social-Emotional Learning ^21st Century Skills All Ages Strategy


Flexible Thinking Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning

Use K-W-L (Know Wonder Learned) Chart to Develop Critical Thinking

If your students are engaged in a topic and you want to go deeper

How To Apply It!

  1. K-W-L charts are a type of graphic organizer that help students connect what they know about a topic to what they are interested in learning and, finally, to what they have learned.
  2. K-W-L charts are typically divided into three columns (Know "K", Wonder/Want to Know "W", Learned "L"). They are often used as a collaborative exercise to be done with the whole class or in small groups.
  3. First, have students share everything they know about the topic. Jot these responses down in the "K" column. To help students feel comfortable sharing, encourage them to share anything they know, including word associations or what the topic reminds them of.
  4. Next, in the "W" column, teachers write questions the students have about what they want to know or are wondering about the topic. Encourage students to bring up anything that comes to mind so that students can really express their interests and feel included in the learning process.
  5. With this information, the teacher has a good sense of what background information the students have and what they are interested in learning. Use the information from the first two columns to plan lessons and promote further interest-based inquiry on the topic.
  6. After the material is taught or the inquiries complete, return to the K-W-L chart and, as a class, fill in the "L" column. Go over the chart again to help students see where they started and what they learned.
  7. This process can be modified in a number of ways depending on the environment and learning goals. Students can create their own K-W-L charts to take a closer look individually at what they know, wonder and learned.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Using K-W-L charts as a regular part of classroom lessons promotes critical thinking and encourages students to connect what they already know to new learning material, which supports understanding and retention. This approach also leverages the importance of using student interests to engage learners effectively.