Let The Numbers Speak... - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Let The Numbers Speak...

Ideas by Jivey breaks down the data for you, comparing beginning and end of year writing samples in upper grades and kindergarten from teachers who did and did not use mentor sentences. You will be shocked at the difference!

If you've been considering using mentor sentences and need more proof than the feedback you read on TpT, this is the post for you!

If you are all about the numbers, then you are going to love what I have for you!

In the upper grades, mentor sentences provide students the opportunity to notice and imitate grammar and craft in well-written sentences from mentor texts you love and use in the classroom. This is your opportunity to stop teaching grammar in isolation and teach mechanics, grammar, and craft together in your writing time.

Jeff Anderson says in his book, Mechanically Inclined, "Mechanics and grammar are inherently linked to craft… instead of separating them into different lessons, they should be merged whenever possible." Check out more books from Jeff Anderson about mentor sentences here!

By integrating your grammar and writing together, students will apply what they've learned to their own writing! I know this from my experience and from the experiences of others, but I wanted to give you some hard evidence, too. 

I created a rubric to score all of the writing samples (used for beginning and end of the year samples from all students). Mentor sentences improve style, grammar, and mechanics, so those are the only areas I scored. This rubric was used to score the upper grade students:

In the lower grades, mentor sentences provide students the opportunity to read, learn vocabulary and/or grammar skills, and imitate grammar and craft in well-written sentences from mentor texts you love and use in the classroom. By using this balanced literacy approach, students will make the reading and writing connection! 

This was the rubric specifically for K-2 students in the areas of style, grammar, and mechanics:

Here are some great successes from the case study:

•There was a 42% increase in the number of highly effective students using mentor sentences in the area of style. This is 23% higher than the growth of highly effective students who were not using mentor sentences. There was a 52% increase in the number of effective AND highly effective students using mentor sentences in the area of style. This is 25% higher than the growth of effective AND highly effective students who were not using mentor sentences.

•There was a 27% increase in the number of highly effective students using mentor sentences in the area of grammar. This is 15% higher than the growth of highly effective students who were not using mentor sentences. There was a 52% increase in the number of effective AND highly effective students using mentor sentences in the area of grammar. This is 21% higher than the growth of effective AND highly effective students who were not using mentor sentences.

•There was a 26% increase in the number of highly effective students using mentor sentences in the area of mechanics. This is 19% higher than the growth of highly effective students who were not using mentor sentences. There was a 42% increase in the number of effective AND highly effective students using mentor sentences in the area of mechanics. This is 15% higher than the growth of effective AND highly effective students who were not using mentor sentences.

What I found MOST impressive was the difference not just in the growth, but the AMOUNT of growth when using mentor sentences. Check this out! 46% of the students who learned using mentor sentences improved in at least one area by two or three levels. This is 29% more than the students who did not learn using mentor sentences!


Download the complete case study to see more about specific grades as well:

I hope this helps you see the difference mentor sentences can make in your students' learning AND your teaching! You can see all of my mentor sentence products in my TpT store.


2 comments

  1. I was convinced before this post and loved using them in my classroom... after reading all your data again though, I want to do this more purposefully and more regularly! Thanks for all your insight on this amazing teaching focus and the abundant, thorough resources you provide!

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing. I attended one of your workshops and I am so excited about using Mentor Sentences with my kiddos this year. I have shared your ideas with everyone that will listen! I believe this is such a wonderful program and now I have the "numbers" to share with them as well.

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