I have been working on a PWIM cycle in a French Immersion grade two classroom. Special thanks to Mme B for all her hard work and sharing her classroom with me ūüôā

The photograph we chose was fabulous. The children were engaged and enthusiastic for the entire cycle. It was great for tying in First Nation Content through the Eagle we learned about the 7 sacred teachings and the importance of the Eagle.

Mandatory Photo Credit : Flying With Eagles    
Louise Crandal, Courtesy of the Banff Photo Center 

Before choosing the words for the picture we read books about Eagles, birds of prey and parachuting in French. We spent a lot of time talking about the photograph and learning new French vocabulary before the children each chose a word.

The Children asked many questions! This is just one anchor chart of the many they had over the cycle.

It is important to have the children  notice attributes of  the words and learn to do daily word study inductively. Here we began to list what the children had noticed (Je vois) about the words they chose from the photograph. This list should continue to grow as students classify and work on their word study.

During the cycle, titles should be added. (titres)¬†They don’t have to be added all at once. Paying attention to published books and actual titles is helpful. The students noticed titles with L’, ! , ?, one word , starting with Dans, and J’ai. Further work on other types of titles could continue in other cycles.

We have the students store their word cards and subsequent

 sentence cards in laminated envelopes. We are able to record their thinking during our conversations-that way we can push their thinking further each time .

Each child shakes out a sentence. They have sentences to manipulate and classify which are kept in their envelopes, a copy of  the sentences on an anchor chart to read together and this set is also  reduced into a running record so that the teacher can test their fluency during the cycle. It is a great way to ensure that  high frequency words are being learned during a cycle. Student names should be at the end of the sentence to remind students of ownership-the introduction to plagiarism. They are numbered for ease of classification and teacher modeling. The more children practice the sentences the more they have the opportunity to develop the rhythm of the language as well as comprehension skills. This running record is great evidence for report cards and interviews as well.

Students working on classifying their sentences into ideas for paragraphs.   Possible categories with sentence numbers brainstormed by the class.

After working on sentences and reading a variety of materials we reallized the ent ending was a challenge for many of the children. We spent some time studying picture books, looking at when and where to use the  ent ending and created a class book. These are some pages from the book. So much more relevant than memorising verbs!!!

We spent a lot of time discussing good sentence starters. We looked at books and how published  authors started their sentences. We brainstormed ideas and students practiced writing sentences. We built sentence cubes for the students to practice building sentences in the proper order.

We used the sentences to help us build paragraphs together.

Model anchor chart of class paragraph. A well used document about paragraph structure, vocabulary and correcting errors

Students used graphic organizers to help them write compare and contrast paragraphs about Eagles and other birds.

To further develop vocabulary we do Mystery Box¬†(boite¬†mystere) once a week. The students have to figure out which vocabulary item is in the box. They have to figure it out by asking questions that can only be answered by YES or NO.¬† Students discover details about the item’s location,use and other attributes. Once enough attributes are given students write a descriptive paragraph. We did a few together first. After group paragraphs students begin to write their own paragraphs. Here is one example


In order to include social studies in the photo study, we used the community in the photograph as our starting point to study communities.

The PWIM is an exciting way to teach. The key-understanding the process and moving away from worksheets and into inquiry!!