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Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

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Mentor Text

A Fish In Foreign Waters


by Laura Caputo-Wickham

I love this book.

Having grown up bilingually in another country and raised my children to be bilingual, I really could relate to it.

Now however,  I think about all the children in our classrooms who come to us speaking multiple languages and I think they too could relate to this book.

As the author states: “You cannot waste precious time looking for the right words, so you pick the first words that come to your head regardless of language.Or the “secret language” that you share with your parent, often used to gossip about people standing next to you assuming they don’t understand (and sometimes your assumption is wrong!).Other common aspects are less amusing, though – like the feeling of awkwardness for being different, especially as a child.”

 

fish.jpg

 

Descriptive Writing


Brian Wildsmith has a wonderfully descriptive passage about squirrels in his book Squirrels. I used to love using it as a mentor text springboard with children. Unfortunately the book is out of print. Link to a video reading of Squirrels which you can use if you cannot find the book. If you have suggestions for newer books with excellent descriptive passages please share them with me!

I like the passage because the author starts with “It is easy to recognize a squirrel…” which students can use to start their own paragraph about an animal of their choice.

I usually read the story and we discuss it and I list what the author did that we liked.

I then share my own descriptive writing starting with the same introduction about an animal they might not be aware of.

After I have read my model,we look at the list of attributes to see if I followed the structure of this experienced author. Next we  write a group piece but at this point some children are ready to write on their own. Once all students have written their paragraph we create a class book entitled-It Is Easy to Recognize a...

Mentor Text with What Neat Feet


This is a lesson shared with my team by Emily Calhoun. She used Hana Machotka’s What Neat Feet as a mentor text to help students write a descriptive text called Fascinating Faces Familiar Faces.

what neat 1.PNGWhat neat 2.PNGWhat neat 3.PNGwhat neat 4.PNGwhat neat final.PNG

Grade One Writing With Mentor Text


A grade one room I am working in, has some very struggling writers. We have noticed that we have to scaffold more and more for this small group.

The following process really helped them move forward.

We had been working on writing about animal body parts and trying to use descriptive writing. We realized our group didn’t even understand what the parts were. We had been modeling with the mentor text Horns  by Rebecca Rissman

horns

We quickly realized that it was too hard for this small group. I went back to an old stand by-

I Like Hats. By Blair Drawson.

I Like hats

After reading the story , we talked about what the author did. I pointed out the repeating phrase I like… but pointed out that each ending was different. We talked about capitals and periods and how the author helped us to understand the story through repetition and art.

I showed the students how I tried to write about animals with humps just like we had been talking about in science. I ended my writing using a line from Horns which they found very funny-“Do you have horns? No, you do not!” became “”Do you have a hump? No, you do not!”

We read my writing several times. I then told them that I wanted them to write a similar piece but about animals with  hooves. We had to discuss hooves again. I was surprised to notice that in-spite of showing many photos of hooves the children thought birds had hooves and so did dogs. We looked at more pictures and books. We talked about how hooves helped animals. We made a mind map about hooves.Then we tried a very scaffolded piece. Here is some of their writing:

Next we moved onto the topic of animal tails. This was less scaffolded and they had to write a bit more.

Finally the children chose another animal body part. There was a great deal of laughter as they wrote and illustrated their pages. They shared their reading with each other.

Thank goodness for published authors who have great mentor text to help us with writing!!

Talk Aloud for Writing


A talk aloud for writing is when a teacher explicitly uses mentor text and the gradual release of responsibility, to help students understand how to improve their own writing.

taljk aloud for writing

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