Yesterday I met with a teacher-leader, and she said that one of her main concerns in implementing writer’s workshop into her classroom is finding the right mentor texts. I’ve heard other teachers say the same. Knowing what mentor text to use to teach which skill can be daunting for teachers just starting out using the workshop model.
Here’s my top three tips on how to find mentor texts to teach writing (and some reading):
1. Read. Read everything from novels to plays to news articles and food reviews. The more we read a variety of texts the more we will have little “aha!” moments when we realize how the whole text, or even a part of it, will work to teach our writers.
2. Tweet. Twitter is the place for educators. Join in, or just tune in, to an #engchat or an #elachat or a number of other chats on Twitter. See Cybrary Man’s Educational Chats Schedule. You are sure to find a chat suited to your needs. Educators use Twitter to share ideas: mentor texts, strategies, links to blog posts that share mentor texts and strategies. If you need it, you can find it on Twitter. And if you cannot find it, tweet a question and someone is apt to find the answer for you.
3. Follow or favorite or sign up for RSS feeds. I find mentor texts in a variety of places. I watch for updates from Izzit.org, and Essay5W.com. I also visit MovingWriters.org Mentor Text Dropbox Project. On Twitter I follow
@brainpickings and @voxdotcom and and @NewYorker and many other news sources.
(Bonus: A source for texts, specifically to use for reading and practicing the Notice and Note signposts, is the Notice and Note Facebook Group when I found these links to video clips and short stories and poems that can be used to teach the signposts. Thanks @msetha23 for these docs.)
What about you, do you have any ideas or resources you are willing to share? Leave a comment.
©Amy Rasmussen, 2011 – 2015