Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

Instructional Consultant sharing my learning with others. Please scroll way down to follow me!!

Speaking in French

I had the opportunity to visit a grade 1 / 2 French Immersion classroom. I was really impressed by the way the teacher encouraged her students to speak in French as frequently as possible. She clearly laid out her expectations and taught the students what was expected. Students self assessed and decided when they were doing well and when to improve. There was no question of what should be happening. These are the anchor charts she constructed with her students to help them remember the expectations. (I have added the translation below) Thank you NS for letting me take photographs of your work!!


I speak French all the time to my teachers, French Immersion Friends and in the classroom.


I speak a lot of French with my teachers and in the classroom.


I use some French words in sentences or when Mme asks me to speak French.


I speak English a lot. I say simple words in French like “hello” and “goodbye”


The posters are up in the classroom and also a smaller version on the white board at the front. Students could self-regulate by moving their names on magnets to where they want to be.

Powwow Composing Think Aloud

Once the sentences are easy to read for the students , fluency is essential . Now we move to the composing think aloud. I have attached a power point of the way in which  I like to present my own writing to students. I find the visuals along with clicking through the power point a very effective model. Once I have modeled, we do a class paragraph together.

Powowcomposing think aloud

step 2

Be Careful What You Say


Peter Johnston has written an amazing book which Debbie Miller shared with our team. In Choice Words he talks about how easy it is to make or break a child with our words.

In Debbie Miller’s Book Teaching With Intention 

download (1)

I compiled some of the ideas Debbie mentioned in her book.

Debbie Miller Teacher Talk


A Fish In Foreign Waters

by Laura Caputo-Wickham

I love this book.

Having grown up bilingually in another country and raised my children to be bilingual, I really could relate to it.

Now however,  I think about all the children in our classrooms who come to us speaking multiple languages and I think they too could relate to this book.

As the author states: “You cannot waste precious time looking for the right words, so you pick the first words that come to your head regardless of language.Or the “secret language” that you share with your parent, often used to gossip about people standing next to you assuming they don’t understand (and sometimes your assumption is wrong!).Other common aspects are less amusing, though – like the feeling of awkwardness for being different, especially as a child.”




10 Steps of PWIM step 10

Step 1    Step 2   Step 3   Step 4    Step 5   Step 6   Step 7  Step 8   Step 9

10. Students write paragraphs following the teacher model

Encourage your students to write their own paragraph. Remind them to remove student names and sentence numbers from their PWIM sentences. Teach students how to start sentences in different ways-use mentor texts to teach the text structures required at your grade level. Plot your students on the grid below to plan your next steps. Practice fluency by re-reading the paragraphs.

Step 10 grid.PNG


step10 paragraph

Thank you to R.E. for sharing your student work🙂

10 Steps of PWIM step 9

Step 1    Step 2  Step 3   Step 4    Step 5  Step 6 Step 7  Step 8   Step 10

9. The teacher models paragraph writing through composing think alouds

 Once the students have had some time to generate sentences as a group, practicing them for fluency, it is time to have them classify their sentences and compose paragraphs.

  • students name an important component in the photograph- e.g.sharks. the students look carefully for all the sentences that talk about the sharks
  • write down the # of each sentence onto chart paper under the titlesharks
  • tell the students that this is a category and the title is sharks
  • have students explain their thinking
  • generate many categories over a few days, and shared with the class
  • teacher composes a paragraph.
  • teacher writes each sentences in a different colour. (This helps to visualize how sentences sweep back and forth across the page and that sentences do not end at the end of the page).
  • teacher shares their own paragraph with the students, (show the category they used and sharing their thinking as the writer. It provides a good model of the thinking involved in writing)
  • model several paragraphs every cycle. It is important to have students share: their categories, their paragraphs, and their thinking as often as possible. We want students to practice reading these paragraphs orally to increase fluency as well as to gain a comfortable understanding of basic paragraph construction.


This is the kind of metacognitive thinking students need to develop. With young children ( k-1) keep this as a group activity initially. After a cycle or two, even kindergarten and grade one students will be able to do this inductively. Gradual Release of Responsibility  or  GRR!!!



10 Steps of PWIM step 8

Step 1    Step 2   Step 3   Step 4    Step 5  Step 6   Step 7    Step 9  Step 10

8. Class generates, reads, classifies and improves sentence

Each student has the opportunity to contribute a descriptive sentence to the class set. The teacher is encouraged to elicit proper grammar and a variety of sentence starters. Writing each sentence in a different or alternating colour models that sentences vary in length and can be more than one line long. Some teachers like to write each sentence on an individual sentence strip while others prefer to write them all out on chart paper.


Give students plenty of opportunity to read the sentences as a group and alone. Choral reading in a variety of voices develops fluency and engagement by reading grade appropriate material in context. Students will naturally classify by structure and mechanics (Starts with The, They, # of words in the sentence, capitals,) but it is very important that they begin to categorize the sentences by content because these categories are necessary for generating good paragraphs.

Have students substitute a word in the sentence several times.

E.g. The elephant is walking on the grass.

The elephant is walking on the beach.

The elephant is walking on the cement.

 Ask them to illustrate their favourite one of the 3.

Have them share their illustration and sentences with a partner. The partner must figure out which of the 3 sentences was illustrated.

change a word.jpg


Create sentence cubes (I use a math black-line master) for the students to roll out different sentences, allowing them to play with sentences starters content and descriptions. The first block is a variety of sentence starters. The second block is nouns from the photo.The third block is linking verbs-is-are-was…) The fourth block is verbs ending in ing and the final verb is a location in the photo.

cubes (2).jpg

 Assessing sentences is essential in this step of the model. What do students know about sentences? Do they know the difference between letters/words/ sentences? What high frequency words are they incorporating into their PWIM sentences? Are sentences starting and ending in a variety of ways? How long are the sentences?


Use your sentences for running records and repetitive reading to build fluency and check accuracy.

running record.JPG







10 Steps of PWIM step 7

Step 1    Step 2  Step 3   Step 4    Step 5  Step 6  Step 8  Step 9  Step 10

7. Class generates titles, main ideas and topics of study

It is essential to discuss the purpose of the title –it is an introduction to main idea. A title is a promise from the author that the content of the book will match the title.

“Mask’ book titles and show them to students one at a time.


If the author is keeping their promise, the title needs to be about the contents of the book. Let’s look at this book-what is it about? What is the main idea? Can you think of a good title? (generate ideas…let’s see what the author entitled the book…)

Brainstorm things that have titles, together with your students- they will have ideas but you might need to push them-People (Mr. Mrs…), movies, video games…) Tell your students that there are MANY kinds of titles. It is important to be able to make up titles for many things.

  • We are going to look at kinds of titles.
  • Begin an anchor chart with kinds of titles
  • Add the name of each type of title as you go
  • Alternate colours
  • This could be over a week or several days

step7Ali titles (1).JPG

Another way to display titles is by writing them on paper and attaching them above your photo. Make sure that there are several options for students. Avoid voting on a class title and provide students with several options to choose from.

I am attaching a link to the power point I use when teaching titles. Each type of title is a separate lesson. Don’t teach them all in one day!!

A lesson on Titles

Descriptive Writing

Brian Wildsmith has a wonderfully descriptive passage about squirrels in his book Squirrels. I used to love using it as a mentor text springboard with children. Unfortunately the book is out of print. Link to a video reading of Squirrels which you can use if you cannot find the book. If you have suggestions for newer books with excellent descriptive passages please share them with me!

I like the passage because the author starts with “It is easy to recognize a squirrel…” which students can use to start their own paragraph about an animal of their choice.

I usually read the story and we discuss it and I list what the author did that we liked.

I then share my own descriptive writing starting with the same introduction about an animal they might not be aware of.

After I have read my model,we look at the list of attributes to see if I followed the structure of this experienced author. Next we  write a group piece but at this point some children are ready to write on their own. Once all students have written their paragraph we create a class book entitled-It Is Easy to Recognize a...

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