The Professional Teacher

The Professional Teacher

Support for teaching professionals in the classroom and beyond



K W L - Developing Students Thinking Skills

This is an excellent activity that is suitable for any subject.

K W L stands for Know Want to know Learnt.

This activity is best used alongside a resource such as a video or a piece of text so that students can focus on what they know, what they would like to know and then what they have learnt from the resource. I get my students to draw up 3 columns in their exercise books with the appropriate heading.

So, how does it work. Simples.

I used K W L as part of my sole trader teaching. After discussing the basic concept, I asked students to note down what they knew about sole traders (therefore good for diagnostic assessment) and then what they wanted to know about sole traders (developing students thinking skills). I then showed them a short video from teachers TV on DC7 vending. I then got them to write down what they learnt about sole traders from the video. This kept the students focused on the resource. We then discussed the students W columns so that I could answer any questions that the video didnt cover. This meant that they thought more deeply about the topic and the teaching became more personalised.

K W L can be used for all subjects, for example:

In Geography students could be quizzed on the possible reasons why earthquakes occur. Having completed the K W columns and then having researched the topic (maybe via the internet) the L column can be completed.

In English, students may be asked to think about the key similiarities and differences between two poets, students can then complete the L column using the appropriate literary terms.

In Physics, students could be asked how the Universe came into existence and what they know about its origins. Having completed the K and W parts of the table, they could be exposed to a section of video or text and then asked to complete the L column.

What I love about this activity is that it focuses on independent thinking and learning. Which can’t be bad.

Why not give this a go….........

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The Professional Teacher