EDU 6526 Session 5

EDU 6526 Survey of Instructional Strategies

How could the PWIM be used with different grade levels and/or subject areas?

I think the applications for the PWIM could be vast.  “The picture-word inductive model is a very interesting addition and is unusual for the breadth of its grounding and width of its applications.” (p. 129)  Simply stated the PWIM looks to be a very versatile tool for teachers.  I believe PWIM could be applicable in many subjects and on many levels; Literacy development, Social Studies, Science, Literature, Geography, English, Art, and more.  PWIM seems to stretch the boundaries of a traditional lesson into discovery through exploring of word, background knowledge, and the sharing of ideas from the perspectives of both the teacher and students.

The grounding is in research in the field of literacy- how students develop literacy in general (particularly how they learn to read and write), and literacy in all curriculum areas, as well as cognitive development.  The development of metacognitive control is central- learning how to learn is built in the process. (p. 129)

I will illustrate the idea that the PWIM could be used on a grades higher than K-2 for not only literacy development but knowledge acquisition. Although most 5th graders have the literacy skills set to write independently, it could be used to introduce a new theme for Social Studies.  For example a lesson on Civil Rights could be enhanced by the PWIM.  By starting off the lesson showing the 5th graders a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. the teacher could guide the students through a process of first discovering words/vocabulary that they associate with this image.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The teacher could select a one or two kids to write on the board the words as the other students call them out: podium, African American, Martin Luther King Jr., people, microphone, freedom, justice, passion, compassion, anger, leadership, etc.  In the 5th grade it is possible that some students already have knowledge about the Civil rights movement and the role that Martin Luther King Jr. played in it.  However, some students may have little or no knowledge about the subject. This introduction could encourage a line of questioning or a discussion that would lead to knowledge acquisition about the subject for all students.  The PWIM could also be a great way for a teacher to gauge what the class knows (like a pre-test), introduce new vocabulary, and to open up the path to studying a new topic.  The students could then write a short essay about Civil Rights using the vocabulary and the themes introduced by the teacher and the class. Alternately, the teacher might introduce the image first, as a way of “jogging” memories, asking the students to journal independently about what they know/think about the image.  Then they could share their ideas, thoughts, and vocabulary they wrote down based their previous knowledge of the subject.  Then a discussion would follow where new vocabulary is introduced while students share their knowledge with one another. The teacher then has the opportunity to introduce new ideas, themes, and knowledge to the class.  This model would probably move at a faster pace in a older class and there would be some freedom in the steps that needed to be followed.  With the younger age the steps would be a very important process to stick to.   Overall, I think that the PWIM could be a very creative and valuable tool for all grades and all level students.

Why is the PWIM particularly successful for students of low SES, ELL students and learning disabled students?

The PWIM encourages all students by prompting their previous knowledge through visual cues.  It is a great way to tease out what students already know and offer them a visual tool to refer back to for clarification.  It allows the student to search and find the words that are being taught to them.  For ELL and learning disabled students this would be particularly helpful for hearing and speaking the language. With the PWIM “…children learn to listen and speak the languages spoken to them in a most natural way.” (p. 129)  When used for any student, the repetitive nature of this long and dedicated process becomes the tool that makes the PWIM successful.  The “natural” consequence of the PWIM is that the students “…connect[ing] the items they identified to words already in their naturally-developed listening/speaking vocabularies.” (p.131)  Thus the SES, ELL, and the learning disable students bring their individual knowledge and vocabulary to the lesson while acquiring additional vocabulary and knowledge from their fellow classmates.  They are then encouraged and supported by visual tools to transform the connections from listening/speaking to reading/writing the vocabulary.  In the study offered at the end of the chapter in our text the end result were as follows:

The student achievement for the entire population of kindergarten students rose with the implementation of the formal and more robust curriculum in literacy, it appears that the subpopulations (SES, ELL, learning disabilities) benefitted simultaneously.

Mild to moderate learning disabilities appear to be diminishing.

SES did not inhibit growth.  (p.155)

I think that this shows how impressive a tool the PWIM model can be in ANY classroom.

Describe an instructional scenario that utilizes inquiry training in a subject other that science.

I can remember a time when my daughter was in a cooperative preschool that focused many of the lessons on inquiry based training for subjects other than science.  One such lesson, both my daughter and I remember fondly, was based on teaching the children about exercise by way of developing a “mock Olympics”.  The real Olympics were currently taking place and thus it was the hot topic of conversation between the children during daily sharing. The teacher recognized the student’s interest and developed a lesson, about the importance of exercise, around this interest.  The children were eager and open to this idea as they had proven through their own inquiries.  The teacher, who I will call Mrs. E., introduced the concept of the importance of exercise by asking what the children knew about the Olympics. They then shared their knowledge and thoughts about events and what they had seen on T.V.   Mrs. E. told the children that they would be having a mock “Olympics” and asked the children to come up with different events that they would like to have in their “Olympics”.  The children brainstormed and came to a consensus of what events they would like to have: running races, relay races, weight lifting, and an obstacle course.  For the next two weeks the children explored through training: running around the playground, doing mild exercises, playing in relay races, lifting “weights” (made out of cardboard), jumping over hoops crawling under bridges and walking on balance beams, etc.  All the while Mrs. E. would guide them in a certain direction so as to improve their understanding of their bodies in motion.  For example the kids would run then stop and take their pulse by laying down still and feeling their heart in their chest.  By Mrs. E. asking open ended questions, “Explain what your heart is doing, what it feels like in your chest? Does anyone have guess why it speeds up? Why is it different when we rest?”  The children would examine how their bodies were feeling and share their findings.  The students would call out, “tired, energetic, ready to go on, too tired to move etc. and Mrs. E. would ask why?  Mrs. E. encouraged the ideas from the children as a parent volunteer became the journalist (wrote on a big board) and the children became scientists offering their theories. Mrs. E. helped the children develop processing skills that they were able to apply to future investigative studies.

The children eventually competed in their “Olympics” exploring the concepts, ideas and hypothesis they had developed.  Throughout this two week adventure in inquiry based learning Mrs. E. was able to develop her BIG IDEA, the importance of exercise, by way of the student’s interest (inquiry) in the Olympics.  She provided the children with an engaging and enriching learning experience by following their lead.  The students had the opportunity to investigate and explore ideas and develop their own understanding of exercise and its importance.  Additionally, the children came up with a t-shirt design for their team and in the end experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, all by exploring the “Olympics” through this inquiry based approach. And everyone won a medal is was pre-school after all.

On I found a wonderful example of an entire school devoted to inquiry based practices. Check out the link below.

5 year old inquiry based learning school.


Joyce, B Weil, M., (1996). Models of Teaching (5th Edition). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon


2 thoughts on “EDU 6526 Session 5

  1. Sarah,

    I really enjoyed the mock Olympics that you shared from Mrs. E’s class. She did a fantastic job incorporating the lesson on exercise with something that her students were sincerely interested in–the Olympic games. Because the kids were excited about the games, a sense of meaning was established and they probably maintained a stronger memory of the lesson. What a fun and relevant way to use inquiry training!

    Thanks for sharing.
    Whitney D.

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