Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Another Approach to Mentor Text

As you know, this year I'm attempting to be really thoughtful about the use of mentor texts in Writer's Workshop, and our class is just finishing our first unit 'writing under the influence' of those texts. For this unit I chose to use numerous mentor texts, creating a text set of feature articles.

Overall, I feel like the use of mentor texts were helpful for many reasons. Students specifically benefitted from seeing the titles, text features, leads, introductions and conclusions in our mentor texts. I can see the impact in their writing.

  • My writing wasn't the 'mentor'. Published 'real' writing could serve as our guide.
  • Mentor texts made the task more authentic.
  • Analyzing mentor texts allowed the inquiry cycle to live in writing.
  • Mentor texts were tools throughout the entire writing process, not just during immersion.

Next Steps:
  • I want students to independently use mentor text for assistance.
  • I want to specifically use a few, well written mentor texts as guides, instead of a text set.
So, with our next unit around opinion/persuasive writing I've found two text that will serve as our mentors. Storyworks is a great Scholastic publication, and I was able to find a few essays in their Debate section.  I specifically was looking for texts where the claim was shared at different times (beginning, end, etc.). I also narrowed the texts by looking for those that state both sides of the issue. The two texts I've found so far are full of voice and interesting to read. I'm positive that the use of these texts will better my teaching and student's understanding of opinion/persuasive writing.

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