Activity Types: KWL Chart


Getting "Handy" in the classroom with technology integration!

What are KWL Charts?
A KWL chart is an excellent way to get people to organize and write about research that they are collecting for background information—that prewriting stage stuff!! Before starting out on research, the learners list the following items:

  • “K” refers to KNOW and the learner lists everything they know about the topic in this column
  • “W” refers to WANT TO KNOW and the learner or group of learners lists exactly what it is that they want to find out in the research project.
  • Finally, the learners return to the chart and complete the “L” or LEARNED section

The information is usually charted on a large board that looks something like this:

What I KNOW about the subject

What I WANT to know about the subject

What I LEARNED about the subject

List everything you know about the subject BEFORE research here

Brainstorm a list of everything you want to know about the subject BEFORE research here

List everything you learned about the subject AFTER research here

Advantages for use in the classroom:

  • Excellent for compiling data collaboratively
  • Incorporates prior knowledge of learners
  • Can be used in small group activities
  • Students can create their own iKWL charts

Disadvantages for use in the classroom:

  • Students must have prior knowledge relevant to the topic


Copyright 2002-2011 Handy4Class Project

Candace Figg, PhD
Brock University
Faculty of Education, Teacher Education Department
500 Glenridge, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1
(905.688.5550, x5347)

Jenny Burson, EdD
University of Texas at Austin (retired)
Education Department, Curriculum and Instruction