KWL Chart

Teacher and children in school art class
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A KWL chart is a type of graphic organizer used to help students organize their thoughts about a subject. It stands for:

  • What I Know
  • What I Want to Know or What I Wonder
  • What I Learned

While KWL charts are often used in the classroom with students in grades 3-8, they can be an effective tool in working with preschoolers in a preschool classroom under the guidance of a teacher as well. 

How to Use

Once a subject is chosen, the teacher should demonstrate how to use the three-column chart by writing KWL at the top and explaining what it is being used for and what subject (a nonfiction book they just read, a subject they are discussing in school, etc).

Because many preschoolers cannot read yet, teachers should take care to use pictures when possible so preschoolers can make a connection, but even just having a conversation in class and making the KWL chart as a group is wonderful for stimulating comprehensive and critical thinking and learning.

Working on KWL charts now will also help preschoolers in the future as these types of graphic organizers are used often in older grades. The more familiar they become with these educational tools, the more likely they are to become comfortable using them. 

For preschool teachers, a KWL chart is a good way to do an informal evaluation of how preschoolers are retaining and comprehending a lesson. By participating in the KWL chart discussion, preschoolers also learn important social lessons -- waiting their turn, that it is important to listen to the opinions of others, and that their input has merit.

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