Everything Dinosaur Helps Out Primary School with K-W-L Strategy

Team members at Everything Dinosaur have been approached by a primary school teacher to help her introduce a term topic all about dinosaurs for her Year 1 class.  The teacher wants to utilise a K-W-L strategy to establish the topic and to identify what the children already know about prehistoric animals and to use the results to direct learning over the coming weeks.

The Use of a K-W-L Strategy in the Classroom

A K-W-L chart spotted in a school.

Children prepare questions for Everything Dinosaur.  The use of K-W-L in a classroom.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Defining a K-W-L Strategy

A K-W-L strategy is essentially a tabular method of assessing the level of knowledge that children have at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of a period of work.  It can be implemented over a term topic such as “Dinosaur Planet” or “Jurassic Forest” or it can be used at the individual lesson level.

K-W-L – examines:

  1. What the children know = K
  2. What the children would like to learn about = W
  3. What the children have learned = L

A Three-part Strategy for Learning

This teaching tool gives pupils an opportunity to make connections between different topic areas, it appeals to visual learners and allows the teaching team to shape the subject to suit the needs and requirements of the class.  It allows the teacher to identify what prior subject knowledge the children possess, in the case of dinosaurs, it is surprising how much information the children know and are very enthusiastic to divulge.  The K-W-L strategy can help to guide lesson planning and to focus on appropriate teaching strategies to address the lack of knowledge uncovered during the mapping exercise.

Mind Maps Can Support a K-W-L Strategy

A KWL chart on dinosaurs.

What we know about dinosaurs (K-W-L chart).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Experts Answer Questions

In order to help support the teacher, Everything Dinosaur team members have promised to answer emails from the children in support of their enquiries about dinosaurs and life in the past.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“The teacher can include the children emailing our dinosaur and fossil experts within their lesson planning.  The use of email to answer the children’s questions can help incorporate and develop the ICT element of the curriculum.”