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Teaching Tip Thursday: Use a Know-Wonder-Learn Advance Organizer

Welcome back to Teaching Tip Thursday. This week we're going to build on last week's ideas around building active recall into your classroom with the Know-Wonder-Learn Advance Organizer.

As an undergraduate mathematics education major, I had to take a reading methods course. While I thought it was odd (at the time) for mathematics majors to take a reading methods course, I loved the course and got a ton out of it. I also stopped wondering why every teacher needed to help teach and promote literacy in their classroom.

One of the topics we covered in that class was the use of advance organizers. Advance organizers are tools used by an instructor to help students connect what they already know to what they will learn. When you review the objectives of a lesson with students in advance and help them see how those objectives connect to previous lessons, you're using an advance organizer.

A simple example of an advance organizer is the KNOW-WONDER-LEARN framework.

a three column worksheet. Columns are headed with the questions of what do you know about the topic, what do you wonder and want to know about the topic, and what did you learn about the topic
The Know Wonder Learn Framework Worksheet

In this exercise, you provide students a general high level overview of the topic that you'll cover. They then write down what they already know or think they know about the topic and what they wonder. After you've presented your lesson, you give them a few minutes to fill in what they've learned.

This simple worksheet can fit into nearly any lesson and works great to build in active recall if you have them fill in what they learned without referring to any notes. Use this as an exit ticket from class and you get the bonus of instant feedback on how well the lesson was received by students. You can also likely identify gaps in understanding that set you up well for your next lesson.

Give it a try in your next class. Click below to download the worksheet.

Know Wonder Learn
Download PDF • 463KB


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