Schema Maps - An Alternative to the KWL Chart

Activating schema, or prior knowledge, is the foundation to helping students understand what they are reading about any topic. One of the more popular graphic organizers to record students' prior knowledge on a topic is a KWL Chart or a KWL+ Chart. I have used these charts many times to help my students record their thinking and learning about a new topic, but I've frequently run into a specific problem with them...What do you do when the kids think they know something, but as the teacher, you know it's totally wrong?! Do you correct the students right then? Or do you move on? What's the best solution to correcting their misconceptions?


Schema Maps provide the perfect solution to this problem! This strategy encourages students to record their prior knowledge and their new learning. Schema maps require students to distinguish between information that is expanding upon something they already knew and information that is brand new learning.  Schema maps also require students to identify any of their prior knowledge that is a misconception and explain why the information is incorrect. I love schema maps because they have really helped my students deepen their knowledge in different content areas and they are super easy to create. This post will tell you exactly how you can get started using schema maps in your own classroom!

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