Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

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10 Steps of PWIM step 7

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

7. Class generates titles, main ideas and topics of study

It is essential to discuss the purpose of the title –it is an introduction to main idea. A title is a promise from the author that the content of the book will match the title.

“Mask’ book titles and show them to students one at a time.


If the author is keeping their promise, the title needs to be about the contents of the book. Let’s look at this book-what is it about? What is the main idea? Can you think of a good title? (generate ideas…let’s see what the author entitled the book…)

Brainstorm things that have titles, together with your students- they will have ideas but you might need to push them-People (Mr. Mrs…), movies, video games…) Tell your students that there are MANY kinds of titles. It is important to be able to make up titles for many things.

  • We are going to look at kinds of titles.
  • Begin an anchor chart with kinds of titles
  • Add the name of each type of title as you go
  • Alternate colours
  • This could be over a week or several days

step7Ali titles (1).JPG

Another way to display titles is by writing them on paper and attaching them above your photo. Make sure that there are several options for students. Avoid voting on a class title and provide students with several options to choose from.

I am attaching a link to the power point I use when teaching titles. Each type of title is a separate lesson. Don’t teach them all in one day!!

A lesson on Titles


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...

Teach Kids not Levels

I was so happy when a good friend and colleague showed me what she had been working on at her school. This poster is displayed in the library and classrooms.  Teachers are trying to teach students to look for qualities in books vs choosing a book by its level. This is so important so that we can enable children to look for real books in the real world.(un-leveled) They are also better able to choose just right books they are interested in. Thank you LB for sharing your thinking!IMG_2083.JPG

Even Fountas and Pinell who created the widely used assessment state: “We did not intend for levels to become a label for children that would take us back to the days of the bluebirds and the blackbirds or the jets and the piper cubs. Our intention was to put the tool in the hands of educators who understood their characteristics and used it to select appropriate books for differentiated instruction.”  Read the article here

Interested in more about  this topic?  Read this book! Beyond Leveled Books by Karen Szymusiak, Franki Sibberson, and Lisa Koch



10 Steps of PWIM step 6

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


based on the work of Emily Calhoun

Mentor Text with What Neat Feet

This is a lesson shared with my team by Emily Calhoun. She used Hana Machotka’s What Neat Feet as a mentor text to help students write a descriptive text called Fascinating Faces Familiar Faces.

what neat 1.PNGWhat neat 2.PNGWhat neat 3.PNGwhat neat 4.PNGwhat neat final.PNG

10 Steps of PWIM step 5


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


Based on the work of Emily Calhoun.

10 Steps of the PWIM Step 4

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

based on the work of Emily Calhoun



Encourage them to notice both word properties, and meaning.

Teaching with Graphic Novels

Love this display in our Curriculum Materials CenterIMG_2656.JPG

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

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