I worked with my grade one teacher on this PWIM cycle. We were trying this photo out to see how it went. The kids really liked the photo and it blended well with our curricular goals. Thanks Mr. S for sharing your beautiful kids 🙂


After studying the picture for several days, doing multiple read alouds , asking questions, and co-creating an anchor chart of who /what/ where/when, we had each child give us a word which we added to the word chart. The anchor chart requires a great deal of conversation and looking in books. For example the word Inuit came from a read aloud. Once each child has their own word we added some verbs in red. Each child has their name written in pencil under their word. Older children don’t like having their name on the photo but younger children are proud to say “That’s my word.” We created an anchor chart with the students for any questions they had  about the picture.

We worked really hard on our phonics and high frequency words. I used the sticky notes to show how changing the initial consonant makes a new word that rhymes. face –race-lace,  house -louse-mouse, kid, hid,lid,did…Your photograph should be a living document-not wall paper.

We analyzed the words on the following chart so that we could decide which word properties to work on.

Word Study









sled     pelt


 kid   Inuit   sitting


 son boat    rope      snow  dogs


 fur    hunting

words to support   letters students struggling with in abc

  d    (daughter/blood, dogs,standing) variety of student names  (days)w   (snow ,wood) white winter


blends blood
digraphs(sh,ch,   wh, th)
y   as vowel
r   vowels
word   families  face –race-lace,house -louse-mouse,                         kid, hid,lid,did…
plurals dogs     houses    huskies
silent   letters  rope
hard   soft c
hard,   soft g
ou,   ow house    houses
other vowel patterns(oo, ui, all,aw,ew, au) boot, blood, wood

We worked hard at studying words-through the photograph as well as see say spell and word games. Below is a word-picture match. It is important for the children to see the words in a slightly different context. The word baby means a baby no matter where you read it. We also worked on word to word matching. Finally we gave the students sticky notes and asked them to notice any of their PWIM words or word families in their reading.

We created an anchor chart called What we notice where the students talked about what they noticed in words. They were still noticing mostly number of letters and initial consonants so we tried to model other ideas for them. One example was son and dog. Both are have 3 letters. Both are one syllable. Both have a vowel in the middle. Both have the letter o.

We created a dictionary where the students practiced their printing and illustrated each word.

We worked on building sentences with sentence blocks by rolling the blocks and composing sentences. Sometimes they made sense -sometimes they didn’t . The laughter and self-correcting led to better comprehension. Students then wrote their favourite sentences into their notebooks. This activity also improves fluency and comprehension. Students then illustrated their sentences. Stronger students worked on paragraph writing by rolling multiple sentences and illustrating the sentences.


After  most of the students knew most of the words we moved  on to sentences.  We read a lot of books to see how real authors started sentences so that not all of our sentence would start with THE.

We worked a lot  on titles. Titles are a good lead into main idea and determining importance. We studied different titles of published books. I brought in stacks of books and students had to compare and figure out inductively what kind of title the stack represented. We looked at one word titles, question titles.titles that start with the, repeating titles and titles with alliteration. We used the sentences to help us write class and individual paragraphs.

We learned that the huskies must stay close to the town or be attacked by the caribou. We learned how the Inuit people survived  by hunting the caribou and compared it to how the Plains People survived by hunting the buffalo. We worked hard to incorporate all aspects of the curriculum.

   Subject     Outcomes
Science curriculum connections
Needs and Characteristics of living Things
LT1.1 Differentiate between living things according to observable characteristics, including appearance and behaviour. [CP, SI]
 Health  curriculum connections The Seven Teachings Buffalo-respect

A minimum of one inquiry and/or interdisciplinary unit per year is recommended. Any multi-genre thematic or author/genre study unit can become an inquiry unit.

Treaty Kit The Buffalo-compare and contrast with Northern People Page 30 treaty kit
Social Studies curriculum connections Comparing Cultures Families past to present  

We used a variety of books about arctic animals ,the buffalo, families around the world and the needs of living things to help us with the cycle. Our teacher librarian was really helpful at ordering books for us to use both at the children’s level and at higher levels for us to use for read alouds. We also used the internet and magazines to learn about Inuit clothing, and food.