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The Art of Teaching the Kwl Approach

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    The students background information is extremely important. What the child knows will give them a better chance to develop understanding of the vocabulary and of their concepts. A teacher can find out how much background information each student has by using the K-W-L approach. This approach will not only let the teacher know what they already know, but also what they want to learn about the subject and finally what they have learned though their reading. A child that does not have a wide variety of background experiences to draw from can learn from what the others are saying, though pictures, discussion, film, filmstrips and if at all possible a field trip or a guest speaker to bring more meaning to the subject. For example, if the class was beginning a unit on Farm Animals, the teacher could ask what kind of animals live on a farm. They could read stories, look at pictures, make a farm by choosing which animals they would want on their farm, bring in different farm animals, bring in hay to use in the quiet area, have a farmer come and talk to the class and take a trip to a farm. This way the students can see first hand what a farm is, the animals that live their and how they live. Even though some students will have been to a farm or have a knowledge on what a farm is, they can also learn more from these experiences as well as those without first hand knowledge. The more information that is given, the more print rich the environment is, the better off the students will be.


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