Once you have chosen your PWIM photograph, you need to attach it to a back ground that you can print on. It is best to use a light coloured background. White and pastel colours are perfect-not too distracting. I like to colour coordinate my PWIM cycles. If the first one is on a white back ground, then I will also print all of my word cards , sentence cards and paragraphs on white. The next cycle might be pale yellow or pink. It makes classifying and finding words in subsequent cycles much easier. I use a black marker to trace the lines from the item the student has described to the word I print.If you want to re-use your photograph you may wish to have it laminated with a matt film. It is essential ,when working with young children to print neatly as you say each letter. Do not allow the children to print for you-you are the model.This will be an anchor chart for the rest of the year-make it count.
Your students will be making instant connections to the anchor chart. Do not re-copy or type the words afterwards.You will be breaking those very important visual connections. As you are “shaking out the words” with the students, keep going back and reinforcing words you have already printed and note similarities.This will help later in your classifying. Make sure that you are printing NOT your students. This is your chance to model correct size ,shape and name it. With younger kids also naming the sound of the letter.
Take one word from each student aiming to have 25-30 words MAXIMUM If the student gives you a word with a plural (notice bubbles at the top) draw two lines from the word to indicate more than one. On some occasions, if they cannot properly name the item,allow them to describe it-you are more concerned about word properties at this point. If a student says a long yellow tube take it-it has many important properties. You can add the word snorkel later on,on an additional word chart when you start your read alouds.Remeber however that a phrase counts as several words not just one:blue water would be blue, water and blue water. Students tend to learn the phrases more quickly-we want to ensure they are learning each individual word as well. Some teachers like to print the “author’s ” name or initials, lightly in pencil under each word. This is the beginning of learning about author ownership.
Post the picture in a location where it is easy to see and easy for the smallest child to touch the highest word. Posting the picture to high will remove some of your success later on. Young children will quickly remember-“that was Anna’s word” which gives them their first connection. This is also an especially helpful connection for ESL learners or French Immersion students.
Be sure to assess your students within the first three days of shaking out the words. You want to be able to assess maximum growth and waiting too long will not allow you to see their true growth. As the year progresses you will notice that they learn words more and more quickly each cycle. Be sure to go back to previous cycles and see how many of the words they have retained or added to their sight word vocabulary.