Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! As a teacher, I know how under-appreciated we often are... so I was SO excited to be able to be a part of this fabulous link up to help spread the love! Over fifty teachers are sharing with you "what works" in their classroom in hopes we can make your life easier! I am sharing how I use mentor texts and mentor sentences to save precious time in my classroom, as well as help my students become awesome authors!
If you are like most teachers, you LOVE to read to your class! There are so many great lessons you can do with so many fabulous books- but if you read a book before every lesson, you wouldn't have time for half of what you'd need to get done, right? Mentor texts are books that can be used for several lessons, and often in several subjects. You read it one time, then refer back to parts, only re-reading what you need to for your lesson that day. Luckily, these books are usually your favorite books that you already read! I like to find books that have a theme or topic that I'm teaching in science, social studies, and even math and then turn on my "language arts brain" to see how I could integrate it into other areas of my day. Take the book, Henry's Freedom Box, for example!
This book is wonderful if you are studying about the Underground Railroad, so I read it during social studies time... but it is also fabulous for several reading skills like vocabulary, interpreting meaning, theme, and using evidence! I love to use Head Over Heels For Teaching's awesome unit for this book during my Reading Workshop!
This way, I am covering some social studies content WHILE we are practicing our reading skills!
But wait... I'm not done with this book yet! Check out the next secret...
Students need to SEE good writing to become good writers. It only makes sense, right? So why do so many programs only show them sentences filled with mistakes?? For the last six years, I have been using mentor sentences in my classroom, and I've never looked back at DOL and DGP! With mentor sentences, students are seeing an awesome sentence from the mentor text you are also using in your other subjects. Over the course of the week, they really dig into this ONE sentence. They figure out what makes it awesome, and they also see how the parts of speech (grammar) work together to make it such a great sentence. They revise the sentence to try to make it better than it already is. (Yes, even a published sentence could be better! This helps them see that they are NEVER done when they are writing their own stories...) Then, they imitate the sentence - they keep the structure the same. This DOES carry over into their own writing! My students become such brilliant authors every year, and they learn to LOVE writing!
If you'd like to read even more about mentor sentences in upper elementary grades, you can read here!
Oh, but wait! First, second, and even third grade teachers, I can't leave you out! Mentor sentences work in ALL grades! You can do all of those same skills the upper grades teachers are doing to help your students learn how to write good complete sentences and spice up their writing, too!
Marissa from Inspired Owl's Corner uses mentor sentences in her class and agrees that the more the students are exposed to good sentences, the more will "stick" with them and transfer to their own writing! Check out these awesome imitations!
If you'd like to read more about how to use mentor sentences in lower grades, click here to read!
You won't want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers! Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.