The KWL ("Know", "Want to Know", and "Learned") strategy helps students and teachers to create a base of knowledge from which a unit or lesson can be started. In using this strategy, teachers can measure students prior knowledge and their learning. Students are able to use their prior knowledge and their curiosity to lead them to further research. After learning more about the subject matter, students report what they've learned from their study of the subject matter.

This strategy is applicable across content areas. I use this strategy to lead into William Shakespeare's Macbeth. I've seen other English teachers use it to create a knowledge base about a variety of time periods and historical figures.

There are many, many templates for this strategy available online for classroom use. I don't like the size of this template, but I do like that the author of this page asks students to go back and check their original thoughts in the "K" and "W" sections. If you want to create your own KWL template, here is a link to a KWL generator.

I also liked the addition of the "H" section on this KWLH chart. Here, the "H" stands for "HOW we can learn more". I like this because some students have a hard time going about research, especially online. I also like this additional section because it could lead to avenues of research that are not internet-based.

Here's the beginning of a group KWL chart about William Shakespeare's life that my sophomore students created before reading Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice.
Here's the beginning of a group KWL chart about William Shakespeare's life that my sophomore students created before reading Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice.