Did you hear how excited the kids were? They can’t WAIT to find out what the Mentor Sentence will be each week, and they are dying to be the one who figures out the skill I want them to see in the sentence, or for their sentence to be chosen to get displayed.
Still need more…? Want to read about it, too? Here you go, friends. Below you will find information about grades 3-5 mentor sentences. If you are a primary grades teacher, there are mentor sentences for you, too! Read about how you can implement them in the lower grades here!
On Monday, I give the students their sentence for the week to glue down into their journals. (Mine use the back of their Writer’s Notebook.) This sentence comes from a book we read the week before, or we are going to read that week. Usually, I have not read the book when I give them the sentence, so when I do read the book, they are hanging on every word, waiting to hear the sentence. I have trained mine to snap when they hear me read the sentence (instead of shouting out). Last week, we used a sentence from one of my favorite books, Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Davis Pinkney which I had already read to them the week before as part of our biographies unit.
Sojourner put one big-black-beautiful foot in front of the other and she STOMPED on the floorboards of ignorance that were underneath.
(Remember, the original sentence was: Sojourner put one big-black-beautiful foot in front of the other and she STOMPED on the floorboards of ignorance that were underneath.)
We talk about the things that are different in the revised sentence:
*I changed the word put to placed, making it more vivid.
*I also replaced STOMPED with POUNDED- both are vivid, but POUNDED makes an impact in all capital letters, too.
*I used the preposition across instead of on because I thought it fit better with POUNDED.
*I changed the adverb underneath to below.
The students write their sentences and I allow the ones who volunteer to share; the rest of the class listens for the revisions and shares what they hear. It’s very important that you stress to them they are keeping the meaning of the sentence, but just making it sound better. Once they learn Thursday’s task, they will sometimes get confused and want to change the meaning of the sentence. Just remind them that they won’t do that until the next day…
Thursday’s task is to write like the author. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, I always say! So, on this day, the students decide what they want to write their sentence about (this is the day they change the meaning!) but try to keep the structure of the sentence the same. It is important to go back and review the noticings from Monday. The author used a metaphor? Oh, I should too! The sentence is a compound sentence? Then, so should mine! The author connected three alliterative adjectives with hyphens? I will, too!
Again, I share my example with them and we compare how it is the same as the mentor sentence:
I wrote a compound sentence with three alliterative adjectives connected with hyphens followed by a prepositional phrase, and capitalized my vivid verb. Sometimes, I even go word by word or phrase by phrase, pointing at the mentor sentence and pointing at mine to talk about the similarities. Then it’s their turn! They all imitate the sentence and I choose 4 students to write their sentence on sentence strips with special markers. Some weeks, it is REALLY difficult to choose only 4! The students all want to be one of the four chosen, so they really try hard to write some SUPER sentences. I also try to pick different students each week to give everyone the chance to be displayed on the bulletin board.
The four sentences I chose last week were great! You’ll notice they don’t have EVERY element from the mentor sentence, but that’s okay! You can tell they are trying some of the elements, and hey! I would be so happy with these sentences written in their writing pieces! The first one is by far my favorite. I laughed out loud!!
My dog dropped one stinky-smelly-surprise in front of me and BARKED for me to clean it up.
I bounced the basketball with my super-sweaty-super-sized hand and threw the basketball into the white netted hoop.
My mom made the best-blasting-booming with taste pasta and my brothers and I devoured it.
Jeremy bought delicious-dreamy-delicate brownies from the Debie Snack store and he STUFFED the brownies in his mouth and ate it.
Perfect sentences? No. But better than those boring ol’ sentences I’d be getting otherwise? Absolutely!! And YES! They do try to incorporate the elements and structure of mentor sentences into their own writing! I have seen improvements in my students writing over the last few years while using mentor sentences.
|FYI: this is one of my ELL students! Yippee!|
If you want even more IN-DEPTH step-by-step help with implementing mentor sentences, check out my courses!