Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

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


October 2011


I love these two books by Anthony Browne.  He has so much fun describing parents through the eyes and awe of young children. Children love his descriptions and the art is wonderful. It motivates hem to draw and read as well.

I usually use both books  for Think Alouds with Kindergarten and Grade one for determining importance. Think of the six steps to a Think Aloud

I explain to them that the author has one thing he really wants them to understand by the time they have finished the story. He has a purpose for writing the book. The book probably started with one big idea. He is going to give them lots of details but at the end of the story he wants you to understand one thing in particular about “dad” . At the end of the story I am going to ask you what the big idea was about “dad”. I don’t want a list of everything that happened in the story.

I read the story. My Dad

At the end of the story I ask the children to sit knee to knee and eye to eye and share with each other what they think the big idea was. What did the author really want us to understand about his dad.

(knee to knee and eye to eye is a process Debbie Miller talks about in her books. It requires practice  but once the kids are comfortable with the process, it is a great way for kids to share their thinking. We all know that there is never enough time to listen to everybody ,but this way everybody has a chance to speak. After a moment of sharing, we come back together and share our thinking.)

Often the children want to give you the nitty gritty details, but the big idea is how much he loves his dad and that his dad loves him.

Repeating the process with My Mum leads to a feeling of success for the children and the beginning of understanding what determining importance means in fiction writing. This story leads to many other strategies-making connections to their parents,visualizing their parents doing some of the goofy things in the story,asking questions…

Have the children look at books of their own and determine what the “big idea is in their book”> This takes a lot of practice and you need to keep modeling it. If you have older students who need help with this strategy it is an entertaining book to start with.


Big Writing French Pyramids

These are the Pyramids we made to go with Big Writing in French. The Vocabulary Pyramid is left empty so that teachers might add in the desired vocabulary. The photograph below is of a constructed pyramid.

Talk the Big Talk

My book arrived from Andrell education last night. I have already started reading it. I am excited to give this a try!!!

 The ‘Big Writing’ / Power Writing approach, which has been proved to dramatically raise standards in pupils writing, is based on the premise that, “If a child can’t say it a child can’t write it.” In ‘Talk the Big Talk’, Ros. Wilson explores issues around talk, reasons why so many children are currently suffering from forms of language deprivation and strategies to raise standards in talk and thus further raise them in writing. She advises on the ‘Three T’s’, ‘Talking to Learn’, ‘Talking about Learning’ and ‘Learning to Talk’, based on the recommendation that all teachers at all phases of education are teachers and models of language. This publication explores ‘The Big Talk’ both as a strategy for children who are not yet writers, whether it is because they are not yet ready to write, they are in the early stages of learning English or they have a special need that makes the process of writing difficult, and as an ongoing planned strategy to develop and enhance pupils’ language skills.

Big Writing Blog

SO excited to find this blog on Big Writing . My books arrived from Andrell Education yesterday too, so I am set to learn more

Miss Toffee’s Class has all sorts of amazing ideas- Check out her blog 🙂


PWIM in French is M.I.M.I.

Vocabulaire de M.I.M.I.


Modèle Inductif des Mots Illustres

La secousse de mots ou Secouons des mots de la photo/On secoue des mots


Classification ou Catégorisation-analyse du contenue, analyse phonétique, analyse structurelle


Le titre est une promesse

La phrase nous donne de l’information

Formation de concept

Acquisition de concept-groupe positif et groupe négative



Wee Can Write by Carolyn McMahon & Peggy Warwick

Using the six traits   This is a fabulous book for  teaching the six traits of writing through quality mentor text. Popular Children’s literature is used to model   what   the traits are/sound like and give examples that children would enjoy learning from. I have used this book from kindergarten to grade 8 !! It is a great way to introduce the concepts of the 6 traits and reinforce them as well. Reading and discussing is such a motivating way to teach these traits to young children. It makes such a  change from the many books that have  black line masters and photocopy work sheets.

“It is a teacher’s guide organized around renowned children’s books that provide a foundation for six lessons. Within each lesson plan you will find instructions for both students and teachers. There are 36 literature titles that are easily found in any library. Each book title is divided into Summer, Fall,Winter and Spring.

SENTENCES (Phase four) Picture Word Inductive Model

Creating sentences is an essential component of the PWIM cycle. Each student should have their own sentence. We tell them we are “shaking out the sentences.” Students tell you about a particular component of the picture that inspires them. If they make a grammatical error do not write down the error. ” He gots a fin” can easily be corrected by gently saying something like-“when we write, we say he has rather than he gots. Are you ok if I change your sentence a little bit?”  We write the student’s name at the end of the sentence. (In a smaller font) In this way we begin to address authors and ownership of writing. When we use the sentences for future models we always thank the author. an introduction to plagiarism. Numbering the sentences makes manipulating them much easier  once they are typed up. You can see from the photograph that I used two colours of markers to write out the sentences. It is a visual aid for younger students especially. Students see where one sentence begins and another ends. They also see that sentences can continue on to the next line. It makes it easier to teach their eyes to sweep across the page. The sentences are typed up on cardstock and printed off-a set per student, in the same manner as the word cards. They are easily stored in large envelopes, baggies or a container like a shoe box.

Working with the sentences consistently is essential. Re-reading them frequently builds fluency and drills the high frequency words that are required for beginner readers. There are many ways to do this-students enjoy partner reading and choral reading  as well as reading them silently.

Classifying the  sentences  builds an initial understanding of paragraph structure.

Illustrating the sentences and paragraphs helps build the comprehension strategies of visualizing and summarizing.

Combining two sentences to make new ones is an essential writing skill. Start by using the word and ,then teach the students to remove repetitive words. The man is kneeling on the sand. The little girl is hugging herself. Can be easily combined to The man  is kneeling on the sand and the little girl is hugging herself.   Sharks have fins. Big sharks are scary: Can be combined to Big sharks with fins are scary. Learning to combine sentences is a gradual process and needs a lot of practice.

Another good way to work on sentences is to have students change one word in the sentence, read it again and illustrate it. For example-a class book could be made with one sentence, one word being changed by each student. Big sharks are scary.  Everybody has to change the word shark to something they think is scary. Big tigers are scary. Big spiders are scary. Big birds are scary.

The predictability of this booklet will really help those struggling readers in your class. Make a cover, title it and “publish” it for your classroom library.

Building Reading Fluency

“The fluent reader sounds good, is easy to listen to, and reads with enough expression to

help the listener understand and enjoy the material.” 

– Charles Clark, “Building Fluency: Do It Right and Do It Well!” (1999)

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