Appendix: Tools for charting learning progression and for learning new vocabulary

(a) A KWL chart is a simple but effective tool for charting learning progression. One student, a small group of students or an entire class can complete it.

The three steps are simple. Before delving into a lesson, ask students what they know (K) about the topic. Write their answers in the K column. Next, ask students what the want (W) to learn about the topic. Write their answers in the W column. Now is a good time to explain the learning objectives of the lesson. The teacher may wish to revise the learning objectives and activity somewhat to address the W column. After the lesson activities are completed, ask students to reflect on what they have learned (L). Write their answers in the L column. This last step helps students summarize and remember the key points from the lesson. It also helps the teacher assess if the learning objectives were met.

Sample KWL chart template

(b) A word wall is a visual dictionary of important terminology related to a topic. For example, to make a word wall for the “What is Biodiversity?” activity, have students read the section and then list all new or unfamiliar vocabulary. Their list may include “biodiversity”, “genes”, “species”, “ecosystems”, “microorganism”, “ecosystem services”, “resources” and “food web” The teacher might add the vocabulary words listed in the accompanying lesson plan. Assign a word to each student. Students write the word on a piece of paper and draw a picture explaining it. All the words and drawings are posted together on the wall.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme