K, W, L Chart (Know, Want, Learn)
K, W, L Charts are used to engage students in their learning before, during, and after a class, lesson, or unit. This activity is adaptable across subject areas and assignment types.
- Students create a chart with 3 columns and label them with K, W, and L.
- Students fill the K column with what they already know about the topic.
- Then students fill the W column with questions for what they want to know about the topic.
- After the lesson or unit, students then fill the L column with what they learned. This column can also be filled during a lesson.
- Have students review the questions in the W column to be sure all have been answered.
This is a collaborative learning strategy in which students work together to solve a problem or answer a question. This simple activity can relieve the anxiety and mental block of being called on to answer a question in class. First, ask your students a meaningful, open-ended question or pose a problem, then follow these steps:
- THINK: Give your students a minute to ponder the question independently.
- PAIR: Invite your students to discuss their answer with a nearby peer.
- SHARE: Ask pairs to summarize and share their answers with the class.
One Minute Papers
You can use this strategy at the end of class or during any topic discussion to support and reinforce student learning and engagement with class content. Simply ask your students to write a short paper in response to the following questions:
- What are the two central ideas or concepts you learned during this session?
- What question(s) remains uppermost in your mind?
- Is there anything you did not understand?
You can organize and sort your students’ short responses to help you target ideas or concepts where students might need additional help.
(Syickni and McKeachie 2014)
Turn and Talk
This can be a good discussion starter, an opportunity for all students to share ideas no matter the size of the class, and a way to build a spirit of collaboration and community in a class.
- The instructor provides a question to the class.
- Students turn to a neighbor and discuss their responses.
(Harvey and Goudvis 2007)
Quick write is a short writing activity, usually about 5 minutes, designed to accomplish one of three goals:
- Access students’ prior knowledge.
- Evaluate understanding of a homework assignment, or
- Engage students in the topic that will be covered in class.
The writing can be graded or ungraded. If the instructor chooses to grade the quick write, it should be a low-stakes value.(Green et al 2007)
Paused lecture encourages students to be engaged continuously in a lecture rather than be a passive listener. Twenty to thirty minutes into a lecture, pause to have students reflect, make notes, or answer a question. This technique fosters "active listening" skill development.
- After you state an important point or define a key concept, stop, and have the students get in groups of two.
- Have the pairs discuss and rework notes.
- Circulate around the room during these pauses to observe discussions and answer questions.
Pausing to let material absorb has been shown to significantly increase learning when compared to lectures without the pauses. This activity can be combined with other active learning strategies such as the K, W, L chart, Think-Pair-Share, Turn and Talk, and Quick Write.(Syickni and McKeachie 2014)