Perhaps I have been doing it wrong, but I have never really enjoyed the KWL (What you KNOW, What you WANT to know/learn, What you LEARNED) strategy I learned in college, and I feel I am not alone. When I talk about this with my teacher friends, they too take issues with it. Well, maybe not it, but the pacing guide and the larger system pace found within schools. They, like me, feel like when you introduce a lesson (or unit) like this, you never really get to what the students want to know/learn. Instead it is a “just kidding, kids, we are actually going to learn this instead” or “go this direction instead”. But, like I said, maybe I have been going about it all wrong.
What is interesting to me is that even though I have had a love/hate relationship with the KWL, the love part still remains, because I love the concept behind it. It really should be about the students’ questions and wonderings. Because of this, I decided to give it another try last week, but with a twist.
My kindergarteners have been exploring bears and their habitats (for more details please see my previous posts: Bears & Their Habitats: Kindergarteners Create and Bear Hibernation & Bears in Early Spring Books). Instead of starting the unit with a KWL, we moved it toward the end, and changed the order to be a KLW (Know-Learned-Want to Learn), or rather a KLWL (Know-Learned-Want-Learned).
My co-teacher and I wanted to informally see what they had learned so far with our bear unit (the KNOW being toward the end of a unit). We then had the students learn more by reading, watching, and hearing stories from a teacher created collection in EPIC! (Click HERE to learn about the EPIC! platform. Note: Our school is 1:1 with iPads.)
After some time learning through reading, watching, and hearing stories about bears, we gathered the students back on the carpet to hear what they LEARNED. We then closed the lesson by hearing what the students were still curious about, and recorded it under WANT. Now, here is where it gets exciting…as if it wasn’t already. 🙂
I took the information under WANT and using the Book Creator platform (click HERE to learn about Book Creator and its wonderful applications in the classroom for student created demonstrations of knowledge) I created a bear book that explored all of the students’ questions. Book Creator allows you to add text, pictures, drawings, self-made videos, hyperlinks, and audio to pages. Audio, is especially important, because I was able to record my voice as I read the text I wrote. While Book Creator does feature a “read-to-me” text feature (I know, so great), when I airdrop it to my students, it will go to iBooks, which doesn’t have that feature, but keeps any recordings. Below are just two pictures of the bear book I created for my students. (Note: I did include a reference page at the end of the book for the photos and information.)
Once our students explore this new book (happening later this week…I am so excited! 🙂 ), we will gather them back together to review all of their questions to hear all about what the LEARNED. Making this a KLWL approach to learning. 🙂
Now, is this a fictional story that I created? No, but don’t think I haven’t thought of those connections…perhaps a future post.
Also, as a special note…please don’t think I think a teacher created book is the most ideal way to go for a KLWL. Absolutely not, creating centers, or other types of exploration lessons based on student wonderings is the most ideal way to go. As are student created books, in Book Creator or another platform, documenting their learning. But, what I do think is important is making time for student questions and following-up on those questions. I am also very excited about creating this option…it is something I haven’t thought of before, or created, so perhaps it is new for you also. As a side bonus, I can use it as a model for knowledge documentation for my 1st and 2nd grade class. 🙂