Saturday, February 6, 2010

KWL 2.0

I love to use literacy strategies that allow for both individual and collaborative thought. I've used the KWL strategy to help my sophomore students gather and display information that they've learned about William Shakespeare and life in Elizabethan/ Jacobean England in the past. This was a creative, visually powerful method of showing those who enter our classroom what we've learned, but this year I wanted to be able to show this learning to the world. How? Well, I went through a bunch of ideas before I remembered the pre-made concept sort file that I'd saved last year. I took this basic file (created in pages) and used it for a KWL. I projected the sort on my screen and voila! We had an instant, live, collaborative KWL to use in the classroom. Here is the blank template:

I first asked the entire group of sophomores to think for a silent thirty seconds or so about what they remembered from last year's Shakespeare webquest. As you can see, they didn't retain a whole lot of information. Most students were able to come up with at least one fact about Shakespeare, even if it was simply the title of one of his plays. After this group knowledge collecting/ refresher, students were given another silent thirty seconds or so to think of the questions that they'd like to have answered about Shakespeare. They came up with some awesome questions. Then, students chose partners and worked in pairs to find answers to the questions they'd asked. They also looked for random, interesting facts about Shakespeare's life and Elizabethan/ Jacobean England. I had emailed each student a blank template so that they could fill-in their findings and send it back to me. As I received their emails, I took their information and copied it into the "learned" column. (I decided to type rather than use the tiles because there were so many facts.) Here is the end result of our efforts:

This is now a document that we can add to, reuse, refer back to, and keep for our next Shakespearean experience. As much as I loved using and looking at the huge bull's eye bulletin board of the previous KWL chart, this one is much more functional and it's way easier to read. I plan to use this strategy again!

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