Get a Clue about KLEWS Charts

KWL charts have been a regular part of my classroom for many years, but I didn’t know about KLEWS charts until I took a free NSTA webinar.

A KLEWS chart is a science specific KWL chart that helps you move students through all the steps involved in scientific reasoning. Here’s a quick summary:
K=What students know
L=What students learned from evidence
E=Evidence they learned through observation
W=What students wonder about
S=Scientific understanding.

BLUE1_COVERLESSON PLAN: It’s for the Birds!
Elementary teacher Kathryn Yablonski has created a youtube video she calls KLEWS CHART 101. This 6-minute video walks you through the columns of the KLEWS chart. The example she uses is straight from the Next Generation Science Standards for Life Science: “How do birds to survive?”

This lesson plan is based on Yablonski’s video, enriched with using the books from The BLUES Go Birding series.

Suggested Grade Level: K-3


  • A blank KLEWS chart posted it on the wall (The chart consists of 5 columns, with the headings K,L,E,W,S.
  • Post it notes for students
  • One or more books from The BLUES Go Birding series
  • Photos of birds


  1. Write the essential question at the top of the chart: “How do birds survive?” This question guides the entire lesson and is revisited again and again through observations and discussions.
  2. Begin with the “K” column…what students already Know by asking: “What makes birds special?” Have students write their responses on a post it note and place the notes under the K column.
  3. Move to the “E” column, which is the third column. E stands for Evidence. The NGGS standards requires that students make their own observations rather than being given the content. Because it’s difficult to bring actual birds into the classroom, you can use photos and/or the illustrations from The BLUES Go Birding books. All of the illustrations were vetted by experts, right down to the number of tail feathers on an Arctic Tern! Ask students, “What do birds have in common.” Record their observations, their Evidence in the E column.
  4. Move to the second column, the “L” column, which stands for Learning. This column shows what they’ve learned from their observations. It relates to the NGSS Crosscutting Concepts.
  5. The “W” column gives students an opportunity to Wonder about some of their observations. They write their wonderings on post it notes and put them on the chart. If they discover an answer to their wondering during the lesson or by doing independent reading, the post it is moved to the L column.
  6. The “S” column is the last column to be completed. It contains Science Understanding and helps students develop science vocabulary. This lesson includes the words: survive, adaptation, and habitat. These terms are beautifully presented in The BLUES Go Birding books:

BLUE2_COVER2-150x150Conclude the lesson by reading aloud one of the BLUES books, BLUE3_SHOPincluding the “Journal” entries, which present science concepts in a fun and interesting way.

Common Core Standards (ELA 1-3)

  • ELA Reading Literature: Details: K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 1.7. 2.7, 3.7
  • ELA Reading Information Text: Details: K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 1.7. 2.7, 3.7

Next Generation Life Science Standards (DCI 1-4)

  • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structure and Processes
  • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • LS3: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
  • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Note: The KLEWS chart was developed by Carla Zembal-Saul and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania. You can get detailed information about using a KLEWS chart in the books What’s Your Evidence?

subscribe     Blog by Carol Malnor I love making connections: kids and nature, science and reading, fun and learning. I discovered the joy of connecting Dawn Publications' books with kids when I was a classroom teacher. Dawn's books were easy to incorporate into my lessons and the kids loved them. I used picture books with students of all ages, from primary school all the way up through 9th grade. Over the years, my relationship with Dawn changed and developed, and I authored Dawn’s Teacher’s Guides as well as writing books for children 4-14 years old. ARTICLE How to Use Creative Nonfiction Picture Books in Support of Common Core and Science ACTIVITIES Dawn Publications STANDARDS Common Core State Standards Next Generation Science Standards National Science Teachers Association Picture Perfect Science   OTHER FAVORITES Dawn Publications Children and Nature Network
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