Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

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


Text Structures

Powwow Composing Think Aloud

Once the sentences are easy to read for the students , fluency is essential . Now we move to the composing think aloud. I have attached a power point of the way in which  I like to present my own writing to students. I find the visuals along with clicking through the power point a very effective model. Once I have modeled, we do a class paragraph together.

Powowcomposing think aloud

step 2


10 Steps of PWIM step 10

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

10. Students write paragraphs following the teacher model

Encourage your students to write their own paragraph. Remind them to remove student names and sentence numbers from their PWIM sentences. Teach students how to start sentences in different ways-use mentor texts to teach the text structures required at your grade level. Plot your students on the grid below to plan your next steps. Practice fluency by re-reading the paragraphs.

Step 10 grid.PNG


step10 paragraph

Thank you to R.E. for sharing your student work 🙂

Descriptive Writing

Brian Wildsmith has a wonderfully descriptive passage about squirrels in his book Squirrels. I used to love using it as a mentor text springboard with children. Unfortunately the book is out of print. Link to a video reading of Squirrels which you can use if you cannot find the book. If you have suggestions for newer books with excellent descriptive passages please share them with me!

I like the passage because the author starts with “It is easy to recognize a squirrel…” which students can use to start their own paragraph about an animal of their choice.

I usually read the story and we discuss it and I list what the author did that we liked.

I then share my own descriptive writing starting with the same introduction about an animal they might not be aware of.

After I have read my model,we look at the list of attributes to see if I followed the structure of this experienced author. Next we  write a group piece but at this point some children are ready to write on their own. Once all students have written their paragraph we create a class book entitled-It Is Easy to Recognize a...

Grade One Writing With Mentor Text

A grade one room I am working in, has some very struggling writers. We have noticed that we have to scaffold more and more for this small group.

The following process really helped them move forward.

We had been working on writing about animal body parts and trying to use descriptive writing. We realized our group didn’t even understand what the parts were. We had been modeling with the mentor text Horns  by Rebecca Rissman


We quickly realized that it was too hard for this small group. I went back to an old stand by-

I Like Hats. By Blair Drawson.

I Like hats

After reading the story , we talked about what the author did. I pointed out the repeating phrase I like… but pointed out that each ending was different. We talked about capitals and periods and how the author helped us to understand the story through repetition and art.

I showed the students how I tried to write about animals with humps just like we had been talking about in science. I ended my writing using a line from Horns which they found very funny-“Do you have horns? No, you do not!” became “”Do you have a hump? No, you do not!”

We read my writing several times. I then told them that I wanted them to write a similar piece but about animals with  hooves. We had to discuss hooves again. I was surprised to notice that in-spite of showing many photos of hooves the children thought birds had hooves and so did dogs. We looked at more pictures and books. We talked about how hooves helped animals. We made a mind map about hooves.Then we tried a very scaffolded piece. Here is some of their writing:

Next we moved onto the topic of animal tails. This was less scaffolded and they had to write a bit more.

Finally the children chose another animal body part. There was a great deal of laughter as they wrote and illustrated their pages. They shared their reading with each other.

Thank goodness for published authors who have great mentor text to help us with writing!!

Composing Think Aloud 1e

MIMI Picture Selection.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

Les bisons1

Please follow my power point as I model step by step a composing think aloud for grade one/two French Immersion.  I used sentences which the students generated with the help of their teacher.The cloud bubbles are my thinking which I explained to the students. I showed the children how I combined sentences through colour coordination things that were the same. At the end of the model, each student illustrated the paragraph. That gave me an idea of how much detail they understooddrawing

Talk Aloud for Writing

A talk aloud for writing is when a teacher explicitly uses mentor text and the gradual release of responsibility, to help students understand how to improve their own writing.

taljk aloud for writing

Talk Aloud (for Comprehension)

A Talk aloud (for comprehension) is using mentor text to help you explain what published authors do and how text features or structures help you to better understand what you are reading. It is not as important to be able to name them, but being able to recognize the features and how they help the reader is crucial.Talk aloud

Read more

Text Structures-Compare Contrast Writing

I’ve started trying to organize my work in a way that is a little faster for me to grab when I run out to schools.

For my work with comprehension text structures, I purchased some clear thick plastic envelopes. I labeled the envelopes according to the text structure materials I want to use.

In each folder,I have the requirements for text structures per grade as outlined by my province. I have a copy of the text structure anchor chart that I plan to create with the students , and I have a variety of books that are good mentor text for teaching the author’s craft.

These are some of my favourite texts that I use to teach Compare Contrast Writing:

poles apartall about frogs  Big cats  
cats vs dogs


After reading parts of the book to the students, it is always useful to co construct  a Venn Diagram for Compare Contrast Writing.elephants vs rhinosIt is also important to create an anchor chart with the necessary signal words for the text structure.

Compare and Contrast Signal Words

alike           also         as well as            both           but       different

in the same way        like         similar          still      too      unlike       while

Lesson plan using Gradual Release of Responsibility

Compare Contrast Writing

 Explain what structures are and why authors use them (reading/writing


 Talk about signal words-look for them in your reading and use them in your


 Mentor text :Share Jim Arnosky’s writing and what you like about it including

last sentence

 I use  Rhinos and elephants  for my model

We do: Ideas skating to hockey-cats to dogs-before treaty after treaty

 Do we do again

 You try!!

 Head into writing alone

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Grade One Writing – Ecriture en premiere annee

I was invited into a classroom to work on writing in a grade one room. The teacher really wanted her students to start writing more than labelling few words at a time. Merci B.S. for sharing your students with me  🙂

I suggested that we start with a simple text that had a predictable pattern as a model. I also wanted to reinforce the gradual release of responsibility as I modeled this lesson. I told the students I wanted them to feel more comfortable in writing a sentence so we were going to work on it together. I chose the following book to start my lesson:chauve fraiseI read the book to the students. They understood the simple pattern before I was finished the book. I told them which attributes of the book I liked, as I wrote them on an anchor chart to use for future reference. We went back through the book again to check and see if the book actually had all the attributes that I had mentioned.

fraise j'aime

Next, I modeled  a piece of writing that I had written, using the same format. I added the pictures as we read. The children practiced reading the story aloud several times.

chats fraises

Together, we decided on a topic to write about . They wanted to write about food, so after some discussion they chose carrots. At this point the children were quite comfortable with the format. They gave me the simple title. We looked at our attribute chart and I asked them how I should start the piece of writing. They told me what to write, and I printed it out, reinforcing the punctuation as I wrote each line. The children took turns illustrating. Again we practiced reading aloud.

fraise carrots

At this point we told the class that we wanted each table group to create a small book just like in the book 1,2,3 chauves-souris…and just the way we had written about the cats and the carrots. We had each group pick a topic. They had to decide who was going to write page 1, 2 … Each student was given a blank page with simple lines at the bottom. They were to follow the sentence pattern and then illustrate it. We asked them all to stick with the food topic. Next time they can change the topic.

When each group was finished their writing and illustrating, the books were stapled together with a cover page. The children practiced reading their little book aloud in small groups and then presented it to the class. Some groups read the entire book together while others chose to read page by page individually.

The result? 4 new books to add to the class reading basket.A great basket to put in the hallway for parents to look through at conference time.

   Assessment was simple-did the picture match the writing, was printing an issue, could the student read their own writing, how well did the group cooperate.

printing fraises livres fraises


fraise 1fraise 2Fraise 3fraise 4fraise beaucoup


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