August 2016 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Some common emails I get when people are ready to start mentor sentences, or are in the first week and feel like it's not going like it should, go something like this:
"Help! My students aren't able to write anything down the first week!"
"What do you do if students don't know anything?"
Have you been wondering how you should set up student mentor sentence notebooks?

**Disclaimer: How you set up your notebook should match your organizational style in your classroom. This blog post contains ideas of ways that worked for me!**

My students used their writing notebook for mentor sentences as well. All of the writing workshop lessons were done from the FRONT of the notebook, and mentor sentences were done from the BACK. That way, they could always find their mentor sentence lessons.
You could put a cover or label on this back cover to help students remember! 
Keep reading for some free ones!! :)

I skip the last page (which is page 1 of the mentor sentence section). 

I skipped the last page because I wanted my students to work on a double page spread for the week. This ensured there was enough room for the daily invitations as well as the interactive activity for the focus skill we were working on that week. I do not have a preference for how my students section off their pages, as long as all of the work is there.

This student continued down the page each day.

This student made sections on her page to indicate when she ended each day.

This notebook is from a teacher who used spiral notebooks. She still had her students use a double page spread with the invitations on the opposite side as the previous examples. These students also partitioned the invitations page into four sections- one for each day.
(The star indicated that this student was chosen as a sentence to celebrate.) 

My students never ran out of room in their notebook, but I used the notebook as a resource, not a place to draft

They completed mini-lessons and activities in the notebook for writing craft, grammar, and conventions (writing workshop from the FRONT, mentor sentences from the BACK). They used a yellow legal pad to write on for their drafting time.


For one, since I want the notebook to be used DURING writing time, I don’t want them writing in the notebook. They can’t flip through a notebook as they write in it. 

Second, what kid doesn’t like to write on colored paper? 

I could find packs of these pretty cheap at Wal-Mart, too, so that was a bonus!
My students skip lines when drafting so they can go back to edit and revise on the lines between. We also loved using Rainbow Editing and Revising, which you can check out in this blog post if you are interested.

Need Covers or Labels? 

It might help your students remember which side to open, or which notebook is their mentor sentence notebook, with some covers or labels! 

In this free download on TPT, I have provided covers and labels that you can use for your mentor sentence notebooks in color and black and white. Enjoy! 

Read more about mentor sentences HERE.

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