Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Different KWHL Chart

We began the planning stages of our train unit by starting a KWHL chart. 
K- What do we know?
W - What do we want to know?
H - How will we find out?
L - What did we learn?
A traditional chart would have a piece of chart paper divided into parts with the above categories.  But this type of chart tends to limit the amount of space that is needed to write. This version uses the entire paper for each column and then we hang them in an area where we can study and build upon on our new knowledge.  I use the bulletin board outside my classroom to build these types of charts and then use them as teaching tools.  We sit in the hallway and read, discuss, collaborate, and expand our knowledge using these charts. 

I label my charts a little differently. 
What do we know . . .
What do we wonder . . . We are curious
How will we find out?
New Learning
Here is a sample of our beginning charts.  And yes, I left a word out by accident.  See if you can find it.  What a great opportunity for my students to see me model the strategy:  Writers read their work to see if it makes sense.  We will read it together as a class tomorrow and see how quickly they notice the missing word! 

What do you notice?  Let's look at the children's "What We Know" statements and compare them to the "I Wonder Statements."  Many of the children were curious about what their friends said.  So we will get to research our own " What We Know Statements."  Also, our school uses nonfiction text for guided reading and for independent reading.  You can tell some of the students have read a book about trains.  Nonfiction is a powerful springboard.

Strategies for Engagement and Differentiated Support:  Keep it simple!
*Use a different colored marker for each child's words.  Different colors helps separate the text.
*Write the child's name after his/her words.  There is nothing more powerful than showing your students they are "authors" of their words.
*Support all statements and encourage all students to participate.  That might include talking to a child one-on-one to support that participation and recording the information at a later time.  
*Provide pictures of real trains before the discussion to help students with special needs and English Language Learners.

Want to get them more engaged?  Here is a strategy: Have them "turn and tell" a friend what they know about trains before you start your chart.  Get the conversations flowing and give them a brain boost at the same time.  Young children need many opportunities to share what they know and raising their hand while waiting to be called on is very hard for young children to do.  This strategy encourages participation. 

Tomorrow's Blog:  How will we find out?  
I have a children's DVD on trains.  Here is a strategy I use to support engagement and participation instead of just viewing a DVD.  Give each student a clipboard, piece of paper, and a pencil.  Tell them they are going to watch the DVD and record new information and new learning.  I tell my students that they can use pictures and words to record their new information.  Check back in and see their amazing pictures and words.  Can I just say a picture is worth a thousand words?  Never underestimate the power or children's illustrations plus learn a child's learning style by viewing their samples.  See you tomorrow.

Here are more posts about the Polar Express and Trains:

Polar Express Researching Trains

Polar Express Drawing Trains

Polar Express Drawing Modern Trains

Polar Express Train Completed Project

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