Lesson #1

Lesson Topic/Subject: Thanksgiving KWL - Preassessment
Grade Level: Third Grade
Teacher of Lesson: Cari Schaffer


  1. Students will brainstorm as a class about anything and everything they know about Thanksgiving.
  2. Students will brainstorm as a class about anything and everything they want to know about Thanksgiving.
  3. Students will provide me with a general understanding of what they already know about Thanksgiving. This KWL will be the basis for my future Thanksgiving Mini-unit lessons, my Thanksgiving Thematic Unit activity ideas, and my two science lessons that I will be teaching(one is a conceptual building lesson while the other is a conceptual change lesson). By learning about what they know and want to know, I will have an idea of what to base my lessons on and where to begin.
  1. Black marker
  2. Blackboard space
  3. Large piece of poster paper
  4. Tape
  1. Draw three columns on poster paper with black marker before hand. And label each with a K, W, and L.
  2. Tape the poster paper to the blackboard.
  3. Introduce lesson by referring back to our first Thanksgiving lesson on being thankful. Say that that is an important theme but there is also much more to Thanksgiving.
  4. Explain to students that this KWL is about Thanksgiving and that I want them to tell me anything and everything they know about this topic.
  5. Throw out some ideas about maybe who was involved in the first Thanksgiving, what they ate, how we celebrate it today, etc.
  6. If the discussion is dead and not many students are responding, go down a class list to have everyone respond with something they know.
  7. Move on to the next column of what the students want to know. Again, repeat the process.
  8. Complete the L column at a later date, after the lessons are taught.
  1. Were the students able to brainstorm as a class about all that they know about Thanksgiving? Were their ideas original? Did all students respond?
  2. Were the students able to brainstorm about what they want to know about Thanksgiving? Again were there ideas original? Using the class list, did all students respond?
  3. Was I able to gather enough information from the students to be able to accurately assess their knowledge prior to any more Thanksgiving lessons?

How did the KWL go? Was I able to call on and include all students? How will I focus my lesson planning and activities?
This KWL went quite well. The students provided me with much insight as to what they already know as well as what they want to learn. This KWL definitely made it easier for me to plan my lessons and gave me a clear focus as to how to direct my lessons.

One thing I might want to do differently if I were to do this again would be to administer a different type of KWL. Although the majority of the class participated in our discussion, I believe a better way of doing this would be to pass out KWL charts to every individual. This way each student could come up with his or her own ideas for fifteen to twenty minutes, and then our class could come together as a whole and share some of the responses. I could write these collective ideas on the large butcher paper.

Like I said, one benefit of this would be that everyone would be participating. Another would be that the amount of anxiety a child might feel about speaking out in front of the class could be reduced (they could simply read one of their ideas off of their papers). Finally, this would be a great first page of the studentsŐ Thanksgiving journals. These journals would keep track of all they experienced during the Thanksgiving Mini-unit. At the end of the journal could be the page stating what they really did learn.

Return to the Thanksgiving page
Return to the 96-97 Mini-Unit page