Remote Learning A-Z: K is for KWL Charts

KWL Charts (What We Know, Want to Know, and Learned) have been around since long before I was a teacher…and when I was teaching my coolest technology in the classroom was my overhead projector! KWL Charts are still a standby because they activate prior knowledge, elicit questions, and allow students to reflect on their learning.

KWLs have evolved over the decades, though, even gaining a few letters here and there.

K-W-L Variations

If you do a search, there are quite a few variations of good old KWL. Here are some of my favorites:

  • KWHL: The H stands for How can we find out? Love that.
  • KWHLAQ: It’s a mouthful, but this one adds two things at the end that I also love: What action will I take? and What new questions do I have?
  • KWLS: The S stands for: What strategies did I use for this?

A Virtual Tool for KWLs

There are a lot of tools that can be used for KWL charts. Programs like Google Docs and Google Jamboard are easy ways to work in real time on these brainstorms together. Here is one you may not know about.

Ideaboardz is a great little tool for class brainstorms and KWL charting. It’s free, easy to create, and has some cool features that other programs like it don’t have. Also, did I mention it’s free?

How to Create an Ideaboardz

Create a Board

Go to the Ideaboardz site and click Create my own IdeaBoard. Give your board a name, description, and select a format. There are a few pre-made sections, or you can choose up to ten.

I chose four sections, one for each in KHWL.

Tell them you are not a robot, then click Create.

Grab the Link

Copy the link in your browser and send it to your students.

That’s it!

They can start brainstorming immediately by clicking on the green plus sign.

Vote, Delete, or Edit

When you click on a sticky, you can edit, vote for it, or delete it. It’s important to note that ANYONE can do that, even if you weren’t the author. Thus, it’s pretty important to set some ground rules with your students before starting a board.

Combine Like Ideas

This is one of the features I love most about Ideaboardz. In a brainstorm (especially a virtual one with your whole class at the same time) we know there will be many similar ideas.

All you need to do to combine stickies is to drag one on top of another. You will be asked if you’re sure, then the two are one!

For a little extra critical thinking and comprehension, ask your students read through everyone’s ideas and see where some can be combined. Not sure about what a sticky means? What an opportunity to ask clarifying questions!

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