Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

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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 3

Step 1   Step 2  Step 3   Step 4  Step 5  Step 6  Step 7  Step 8  Step 9  Step 10

Step 3A

In a large group or small  focused group,guide the students through the See Say Spell. Point to the picture (See), draw your hand along the line to the word (Say), spell the word. Do not go around the photograph in a circle , but rather point out attributes that you or the students notice, finding words with similar attributes. (What do trees and moss have in common? 1 syllable, double letters, end in you notice another word with the same attributes? cars)Step 3BLezlie Goudie-Cloutier Based on the work of Emily Calhoun

Word Work and PWIM


One of the things I really love about PWIM is how the basic phonics needs are met in context. It drives me crazy when students have no visual connections to words and are just memorizing lists. I was working in a classroom last week, and this was the teacher’s latest photo study. It is so obvious to me that she uses PWIM for far more than the word recognition on the photo. She underlines, adds sticky notes, bolds words as well as adding descriptors of other word properties above the photos.

Thank you MJ for sharing your work and letting me take photos in your beautiful grade one  classroom.

The Linger Finger

I found this lesson in Jennifer Serravello’s book The Reading Strategy Book. It is a great lesson for teaching kids to observe and describe. I thought it would tie in well with the Daily 5  idea of  3 ways to Read a Book.  Model for students, how to really look at the picture and go slowly looking for details.Linger finger

3 Ways to Read a Book

I love the way the Daily 5 explains the 3 Ways to Read a Book. This is particularly useful for beginning readers who are dis-engaged because they can’t read the words. Teaching them to really study the picture is helpful. Studying the picture also builds comprehension and observation skills.

3 ways.PNG


Word Study Instruction

I really like this list-it’s so clearly laid out as to where children are and where are they going. You might find you have a great variety in each layer, but it is a good starting point. Assess your students, figure out which layer they are in , decide what to teach next and what flexible groups you can create for a series of lessons. Then assess them again!word

Read alouds

A read aloud or modeled reading, is more than picking up a book and reading it to your students. A read aloud is a strategically planned lesson where the teacher chooses a text to help students with any of the ideas below.Read aloud

We’re Back! (What is your classroom like this year?)

So summer flew by and school is back in session. The excitement of a fresh start is everywhere . Students will be with you all day every day. What are you doing to make them feel at home? Have you really thought deeply about the environment they are spending so much time in?

My question as I visit classrooms this week is: so who does this classroom belong to? It is always interesting to see where teachers find themselves.

  • Does the classroom belong to the teacher store?- with cute cuddly purchased cartoons, many bright colourful posters, pre-made rules and nothing created by the students? A great many words yet to be taught on all the walls…An overwhelming load of brightness…
  • Does the classroom belong to the teacher?- with a great portion of the classroom sectioned off as teacher space, teacher’s possessions and teacher’s rules. Very much  this is the teacher’s classroom and students are mere visitors…
  • Does the classroom belong in an institution? Devoid of any colour, joy ,motivation, or connection to learning…
  • Does the classroom belong to the students with photographs of them, as well as their families(building community and a sense of belonging) along with co-constructed anchor charts and a variety of learning spaces being created as the days go by…

In my career, I have had all of the above kinds of classrooms…I got better as I learned more. I wish I had a re-do for some of those years. I’m pretty proud of other years.

What does your classroom look like this year?

To read more on this topic:

One of my favourite resources is Teaching With Intention by Debbie Miller   Stenhouse Publishers


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