Amber St. John

"A picture is worth a thousand words," or so we’ve heard.  Getting students’ thoughts in writing is something that many struggle with, including some of our English Language Learners.  One way I encourage students to get their thoughts down in writing is by utilizing the Picture Word Inductive Model (PWIM) strategy.

Collaboratively, students label a picture that correlates with something they are learning about in their classrooms.  This builds students’ confidence by showing how much they already know!  Next, depending on the level of the students, we collaboratively or individually discuss and write sentences from the labels of the picture.

Once students are finished writing their thoughts down, I have them orally share their sentences.  I also use this time to add relevant vocabulary needed to make the content more comprehensible in their classrooms.  This enables students to share their thoughts and ideas in a large group, which also assists in reaching their speaking goals!

The PWIM strategy is one that could be utilized in any classroom setting.  It also could be used by caregivers at home.  Don’t focus on the spelling (corrections can be made at another time).  Getting a child’s thoughts out in writing and orally is most important.  This allows students to see that they are writers!  I hope this information inspires you to try PWIM at home or in your classroom.