Skip to Content

KWL Chart Graphic Organizer Template

Enhance your students’ learning journey with this free printable KWL Chart. This graphic organizer is the perfect tool to help students organize their thoughts as they explore new topics.

kwl graphic organizer template.

What is a KWL Chart? 

A KWL chart is a simple graphic organizer used in the classroom to help students engage with a specific topic and organize their thoughts. The concept was created by Donna Ogle. It gained popularity after she published a journal article about this graphic organizer in The Reading Teacher in 1986. 

printable kwl chart pdf

KWL is an acronym which stands for “Know,” “Want to Know,” and “Learned.” Typically, the KWL chart is organized as a three-column table where each column of the chart features a different letter in KWL. 

Instead of filling out the KWL chart all at once, the chart is meant to accompany students throughout the learning process. The first two columns are completed before students learn about a new topic. The last column is completed after the unit of study is complete to help measure students’ understanding. 

printable kwl chart pdf graphic organizer

The first column is the “K” column which stands for “Know.” In this column, students write down what they already know about the topic in question. This is a great way to measure students’ prior knowledge to see if you need to adapt your lessons based on their current understanding. 

The second column is the “W” column which stands for “Want to Know.” In this second column, students can either write down what they want to learn about the topic, or they can choose to write a list of questions that they may have about the topic. 

The third column is the “L” column which stands for “Learned.” This final column is completed after the students have learned about the topic in class or have researched the topic on their own. The purpose of this column is for students to record what they have learned. 

A KWL chart is a powerful tool to help encourage students to be active participants while exercising critical thinking in the classroom. It is an effective teaching strategy to help support students in tracking their own learning progress. 

How to Use a K-W-L Chart in the Classroom

One of the best things about a KWL chart is the wide range of students and subject areas it can be used with. The KWL chart is an effective tool for students in elementary school, middle school, or even high school. 

Most commonly, these graphic organizer templates are used in the history, science, or english language arts classroom. But, I believe they can also be used in the mathematics classroom. 

While you could have students draw a KWL chart on a blank sheet of paper, I recommend giving students a blank kwl chart template to use. I have created several printable PDF templates to make it easy to guide students in using this powerful thinking tool. 

You can easily project the pdf file in your classroom to have a kwl chart example to fill out as students follow along. I recommend having students complete a KWL chart as an entire class for the first time. You could also guide students through filling out the K-W-L chart in small groups. 

If your school doesn’t have interactive whiteboards that can be written on, you could still project a digital kwl chart and have students write things on sticky notes that can be placed in the correct columns. 

Once students understand how the graphic organizer works, you can use it as a tool to help students organize their work on a research project or other independent assignment. 

Free KWL Chart Printable 

This KWL Chart template is available as a free download in PDF format. The PDF file features two different versions. Both versions have a place for students to write the topic they are researching and their name.

kwl printable charts pdf format - two versions

One version includes blank columns for students to write in. The alternative version includes lines in each column for students to write on.

This KWL Chart template is only available to download in PDF format.

KWL Chart Printable (PDF) (208 downloads )

More Graphic Organizers