I was lucky enough to be welcomed into Rebekah Picard’s grade 2 French Immersion class at École Hawrylak School this week as she began working on the PWIM strategy with her students. This was my first PWIM experience, coming from a high school background, so Rebekah kindly agreed to let me assist with the process and follow along with her and her lovely students.
PWIM, or Picture Word Induction Model, is an instructional strategy to help support students’ vocabulary acquisition, word connections and classifications, and then eventually supports students as they begin to write sentences and continue on to paragraphs. Where I find PWIM to be so interesting is in the development of not only first language skills but also in the process of second language acquisition. As students in Rebekah’s class learned vocabulary and spelling, they also learned about so many other relevant concepts for learning a second language.
Rebekah’s class has been working on literacy and language prior to this as they have also been working on the Daily Five. Many of the strategies that Rebekah uses as she models appropriate behaviour, the student and the teacher role, also tie in to the PWIM strategy. Rebekah shows her students how important reading is through these processes. (Thank you to my lovely colleague for her beautiful anchor charts!)
Rebekah began the PWIM process by selecting an image that she thought would be relevant and engaging for her students. The picture she chose is of a local swimming pool where many of her students are likely to have been. This is the picture she chose:
Once Rebekah selected her image, she found a place in the classroom that she could leave it up so that the students have a constant visual reminder of the image and the words. They then began the process of ‘shaking out’ the words. It was very interesting to see how the students all participated; in English, in French, they shared their ideas and had ownership in the process. Every student participated and their many, many words were posted on the wall attached to the picture.
Students were eager to share their ideas and to participate in the shaking out process. Adding the gender appropriate article in French in front of the word in question permits Rebekah to tie in grammatical content and language relevant instruction.
The first course was taken up by shaking out the words. It took the entire period but students were thorough, engaged and interacting with each other.
Once we continued on the process, we began the See, Say, Spell part of PWIM. This means that daily, Rebekah will review the words with her students; together they will SAY the words and SPELL them out loud. This reinforces the vocabulary word, reinforces pronunciation and gender, and for French language skills, permits Rebekah to review concepts like gender, number, and even more in depth, questions like “why do we say this word this way”?
As we continue on the PWIM process I will post updates and share the successes (and maybe challenges!). For me, these were some of the interesting points to consider about integrating PWIM or MIMI en français – Méthode Induction Mots Images.
- Students all participated in the process.
- Students were able to contribute words in both languages and Rebekah modeled the spelling and pronunciation in French for her students.
- So many ‘teachable moments’ – for example, why do we pronounce the ‘s’ here? Why is this “des” instead of “de”? Why does the vowel make the sound different?
- Rebekah can easily adapt to her students skill level and/ or ability on a given day.
- Scaffolding in action – she starts small and will work her way up. So easy for her students!
- Reinforces certain grammatical structures her students are studying.
I am very much looking forward to the next steps in the process!