geralt / Pixabay


I’ve written a lot in my books and blog posts about how much I like the Picture Word Inductive Model activity when I’m teaching Beginning English Language Learners (see The Best Ways To Modify The Picture Word Inductive Model For ELLs).

Now that I’m back to teaching a Beginning class this year (along with International Baccalaureate courses), I continue to have the same enthusiasm for PWIM.

However, I’ve also got a wider range of English-proficiency in the class than I’ve had previously, so have to implement more differentiation strategies.

For example, we’re now learning about school, and I’m using an image of students and their teacher in a classroom.   I’ve got my usual set of simple cloze sentences for students to complete about it (The student _________, The student _________, the teacher ___________, etc., with a small word bank under each sentence).

Perfect for “low” Beginners, but not very rigorous for “high” Beginners.

So, at the same time some students are completing those easier sentences, others will complete more complex sentences without a word bank (though all the words are labeled in the the image they are using).

Here’s the sentence series I developed for more English-proficient students:

School Picture Sentences 2

1.There are ______________________ students and one _________________ in the classroom.

2.There are three _________________________ and ______________________ chairs in the classroom.

3. Every person in the _______________________ has _________________ on their heads.

4.One book is ______________________ and all the other books are _____________.


For students who are at an even higher-English proficiency level, the next level is for them to write a story about the picture.  Here’s the one for the classroom picture:

School Picture Story 3

The class is (before, after) lunch.  The students’ names are _______________,

________________________________, _____________________________, and

_______________________________________.   They are feeling _____________  

(happy, sad)because they all got (good, bad) grades on a test.   They (like, don’t like) 

the teacher because  he is (very nice, not nice).     _______________________ did not

sleep  very well last night, so he is (hungry, tired).  _______________________ is 

(hungry, tired) because she did not eat (dinner, breakfast) in the morning.  All the 

students like the teacher.  His name is ____________________________________.


As you can see, students have free choice of names, but have two words to choose one for each other blank.  In addition, they have to have continual awareness that their word choices are consistent with previous ones.


It seems to be working out well.  Do you have other ideas on how to easily differentiate PWIM instruction?