A while back I posted about how I use mentor sentences in my classroom as a bridge between grammar and writing. If you missed that post, you can click HERE to read it. I will move forward from here assuming you know my background and have read the post, that way I'm not repeating myself to those that have already read it. :O)
*We have created a starter pack if you are interested in trying these mentor sentences in your classroom. Click here to go to our store.
Jessica (from Ideas by Jivey), Stacia, and I all taught at the same school for several years, 3rd and 4th grades. Jessica jumped ship last year (it's fine...I'm not bitter) and went to a different school (we love her and miss her!!). Well, about three or four summers ago we all attended a summer staff development together. We learned about using mentor sentences and mentor texts in the classroom and all decided to implement it in our classrooms.
Since we all use mentor sentences, we thought we'd link up and share how we use them, that way you can see it twice, especially if you are interested in using them. So without further adieu, welcome to:
Today I am here to share with you how my class does mentor sentences the first two days of the week (Monday and Tuesday).
Each week, I choose a sentence from a book that we have already read that is an excellent sentence, but also has some quality that I am looking for (compound sentence, figurative language, etc.). For the last few weeks, I opened it up to my students to choose a sentence. I told them that if they found a sentence that they thought is a mentor sentence, they could write it on a sticky note and give it to me. Then, I could look through and pick one that suited my needs. I did this because I want them to realize there are great sentences everywhere and now they will look for them. If I didn't get a great sentence from a student, I would just pick one (but that hasn't happened yet).
So, we have been reading this book:
As the four boys sat huddled together, the oarsmen dressed in tattered blue and buff uniforms used their long poles to push off the ice.
I asked her why she chose this sentence and she said because of the comma and the adjectives. We had been discussing the use of commas (compound sentences and with quotation marks), so that's one reason it stood out for her. She also liked the word buff (even though she didn't know what it meant).
I went ahead with this sentence, even though it's hard, I am fine with pushing the students' thinking a bit. I would never pick a sentence like this for the beginning of the year...there's too much going on.
On Mondays, they paste the sentence into their journal and we notice everything that we can about the sentence. They like to guess where the sentence came from and they know that I am looking for something specific as to why I like this sentence and they all want to be the one that guesses it. We notice together. I try to keep these lessons to about 10 minutes, max (but sometimes it does go over).
Here's what they noticed with this sentence on Monday:
They have gotten it in their heads that they want to make it to the third piece of chart paper because it makes them feel smart to do so...whatever motivates them, is good with me!!! (you can see we just barely made it to the third page and then they basically said, ok, we're done! haha!)
Here's a student's journal:
Tuesdays have changed a little for me over the year. Now, on Tuesdays, we are basically diagramming the sentence. This is definitely not my favorite thing (mainly because I get very nervous since I'm not always confident in what I know about grammar) and because I hated diagramming sentences when I was younger and I don't want the kids to hate it.
So, "for fun", we developed the code that you see in the next picture. I was hoping it would help them take ownership of it and make it a little more fun! Of course, they think this is fun, so I guess it just makes it fun for me!
Again, this was a tough sentence and my kids are OCD about having EVERYTHING labeled. The only thing I left off was that as is a relative pronoun because I had planned to teach it last week and I wanted to see if they'd catch it. I have them paste a new sentence into their journal that is spaced more than the first (I can't trust my students to copy from the board quickly and accurately and since it's a mentor sentence, I want it to be correct). Here is a student example:
So, this is the first two days of mentor sentences! Hopefully I made it somewhat clear as to how I do it!?! If you have any questions, please let me know!! Also, go over to Jessica's post here so you can see how she does mentor sentences in her classroom.
Here is our starter pack:
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THIS SERIES! :O)
We are also linking this post up to the wonderful Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for :
Let us know what you think about mentor sentences! We'll be back Thursday with the rest of the series!! :O)