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Activities & Lessons

Using a 5 W’s Graphic Organizer Chart

3 Min Read
Polygon asking who, what, where, when and why

Alright, it’s time to learn something new! Who came up with the idea? What is a summary of it? Where and when did it originate? Why does it matter?

Introducing the 5 W questions to your classroom is an important lesson to help students think about a topic and what they want to know about it. Using a 5 W’s graphic organizer is one way to help students visualize all of the questions they have when writing about a topic and organize their thoughts.

What are the 5 W Questions?

Who, what, where, when, and why are the five questions that help to guide basic information gathering. Questions like, “who is the main character in this story?” and, “when did this event take place?” can help students deepen their understanding of a subject.Encourage your students to ask big questions about a topic. Have them think about what questions can help their research when they are writing a report or story about something they are learning. Asking and answering questions is also a nice way to engage your students in an activity that will feed their curiosity. A few ways that questions can help to facilitate understanding are to make predictions, clarify things that might seem unclear, and to think more deeply about the text.

What is a Who, What, Where, When, Why Graphic Organizer?

A 5 W’s chart is a type of graphic organizer that will help students to visualize asking questions that start with who, what, where, when, and why. When students want to gain knowledge on a topic or get a deeper understanding of a story, it’s a great tool to gain information.

Students can use a 5 W's chart to organize their questions and what they have learned from a lesson or reading. It can also help students to further analyze a topic they are discussing in school. Download a 5 W’s Chart to see one way you can construct a completed graphic organizer.

How to Use a 5 W’s Chart

Make using the 5 W’s chart fun and interactive in your classroom. It’s a nice opportunity to encourage curiosity and creativity with your students. Here is one way you can integrate the chart into your lesson.

  • Project or display the 5 W’s Chart
  • Point out that good questions often start with a w- word
  • Model asking and answering questions about a familiar text. Make sure to use the w- words in your questions. Have students contribute their own questions and predictions.
  • Tell students to practice answering and asking questions as they read a story or book that corresponds to your current curriculum.

If you want your students to discuss or write about a current topic and connect with the subject, a 5 W’s chart is a helpful classroom tool that will facilitate understanding and conversation.


For more free graphic organizer resources, check out these blogs:

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