K-W-L Plus

A 3 step activating strategy. The KWL( Know, Want to know, Learned) strategy, developed by Donna Ogle (1986), is one of the most widely used strategies to active prior knowledge. A variation call KWL Plus (Carr and Ogle, 1987) incorporates mapping and summarize.

  • To activate prior knowledge
  • To provide a focus for learning
  • To categorize information
  • To summarize what has been learned

(PDF. Download).

Why and How would I use it?

I would use this strategy as an introduction to a single lesson or an entire unit using the following steps outlined below:

Step 1 – Know, teacher introduces topic for brainstorming, discussion as a class follows and teachers and students record ideas about topic. 
Step 2 – teacher attempts to provoke questions, disagreements, and highlights gaps in knowledge. Students then list questions they have that they would like answered. 
Step 3 – students answer the question they have written in the want to know column as they are answered throughout the unit. At the end of the unit students ask about any questions that they have that have yet to be answered.
KWL plus – a mind map or summary of info at end of unit.

I love this activation strategy because it provides the students and the teacher with great feedback on the prior knowledge of the students. Furthermore the teacher can consider the students wishes about what they want to learn and lastly it can be used as a comparison analysis for what the students thought was true in contrast to what they have now learned.