Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mastering Mentor Sentences Part 2 {how to implement them in your classroom}



Hey!  We're back to finish up our little mini-series on mentor sentences!


Tuesday we posted about the first 2 days of a general mentor sentence week.  If you missed the Part 1 post, click HERE.  If you are brand new to mentor sentences, start HERE and then it will take you to each post.  :O)

Monday, I handed out these sentences from the book George Washington Socks:
On Tuesday, I handed out the same sentences, just with more space between them for their "diagramming".

Now we get to talk about Wednesday and Thursday!!  These two days are my FAVORITE part of this whole shebang!


On Wednesday, we try to revise the author's sentence.  Raise your hand if you find it difficult to get your students to revise their own writing.  Yep, me too.  It's nearly impossible, really.  This is why I love Wednesday (or Invitation to Revise).  Students get to make someone else's sentence better, and there are no hurt feelings!!  Plus, it stretches their thinking because it's already a great sentence, and now they have to make it even better!!

When I choose my mentor sentence, I try not to choose a PERFECT sentence because then this task will be nearly impossible!

Here's the first step- we brainstorm, together, any possible revisions we could make and I list them on the board. (You can't see the other poster with the original sentence in the picture but I promise it's there, plus they have the sentence in front of them).



They thought of many different ways to add adjectives.  So, we listed a few possibilities of adjectives that could describe the nouns.  We had also talked about the word buff on Monday because not one of them knew what it meant (a little vocabulary development during mentor sentences- nice!).  So, I loved it when one of my cuties decided that she wanted to put the meaning in parenthesis in the sentence in case her reader didn't know what it meant, just like the non-fiction writers do!  Perfect!!


One student thought we could add a simile because figurative language always make a sentence better, right? Yes, my cutie, you are right, but let's make sure that we're not over doing it!  No run-ons aloud!

Most of my students were concerned about Katie.  She is the sister of one of the boys in the boat and they knew she was supposed to be in the boat, but the author did not mention her in this sentence, so we had to mention where she was so no one worried about her, right!  Sounds good to me!

Now, when it's their turn to revise, they can choose anything from the list, or something of their own, to revise the sentence.  I really stress that since it's already a GREAT sentence, we shouldn't really CHANGE a whole lot, just maybe add some adjectives or change a verb to a vivid verb.  We should not be rewriting the sentence so it's unrecognizable.

While the students are writing their revisions, I am writing mine on the chart paper.  Here  are some examples of their sentences (you can click on the pic and it will make it bigger for you):


As you can see, they used some of the suggestions that were on the board, but each one was different.  I think they did a great job revising!  My hope is that this will transfer into their own writing.  And, even if it doesn't always, and I still have to prod them, they know what it is and what they are SUPPOSED to do!

After they have written theirs, they bring it to me (yes, this takes a little time but I find the immediate feedback is very important).  I read it and I give them a smiley face if all is good.  If I have a question or I see something that doesn't make sense, we talk about it and they fix it.  After I have checked everyone, those that want to share will share their sentences.  They have gotten very fast at this, so it does take a little more time for me to have them do this, but I have found that when they all get to share, they work that much harder to do a good job because they know everyone will hear it.


On Thursday, it's our turn to try writing a similar sentence (Invitation to Imitate).  So, I tell them what I want them to include in their sentence.  I try not to give them more than three things to include because then it can be overload for them.  Here is what I told them I wanted to see:


I wanted them to write an introductory clause (which is a 3rd grade skill that needs to be maintained in 4th).  I even gave them examples of some words that they could use to start off their introductory clause.  After the clause, they had to have a comma.  The only other thing they needed was adjectives.  So, that breaks down to three things- introductory clause, comma, and adjectives.  I write mine while they write theirs.  Here are examples they came up with (click the pic to enlarge) :


They totally did their own things here but they all followed the directions and included what I had asked.  Now, do they always write like this in their own writing.  Um, no.  But, do they know how to?  Yes.  Can I hold that against them and make them REVISE their writing so that it's better (because I know they can)?  Absolutely!!  It's like blackmail!!  ;O)

"Hey, cutie, go get your grammar notebook and turn to the mentor sentence section.  See, look at all of these wonderful sentences you have written!!  Don't you think you can write some sentences like this in the story you are working on now?"

"Um, yes ma'am!"

Yep, that's what I thought!  :O)

Repeat- After they have written theirs, they bring it to me (yes, this takes a little time but I find the immediate feedback is very important).  I read it and I give them a smiley face if all is good.  If I have a question or I see something that doesn't make sense, we talk about it and they fix it.  After I have checked everyone, those that want to share will share their sentences.  They have gotten very fast at this, so it does take a little more time for me to have them do this, but I have found that when they all get to share, they work that much harder to do a good job because they know everyone will hear it.


Dun, dun, dun!  It's time to take a grade.  Ok, it's really not that scary because they have worked on this same sentence and seen it all week long.  I rarely ever have students do poorly on this graded activity.  Plus, if you are spending time doing this every week, the students really should be held accountable for it!

As you know, in my very first post about mentor sentences, I talked about how students shouldn't see the sentence written incorrectly.  However, the reality is that on the state test, whey will have to possibly find errors in a sentence.  OR they will have to find the one sentence that is written correctly out of four on a multiple choice question.  (At least, this is what our state test has looked like in the past.)  So, I try to have the grade I take (Invitation to Edit) look as much like the standardized test as I can because this is the main grammar test practice we will do for the year.  Also, I want them to know that editing is when you are correcting spelling, adding punctuation  or changing a misused homophone.  My hope is this distinguishes it from revising.

Here is what last week's Invitation to Edit looked like:

You can see there are questions about prepositions because this is the grammar skill that I taught in isolation for the week and I wanted to make sure they had it.

I do list the number of corrections for the first sentence just because I want them to be successful and because I may have gotten tired of them asking me how many mistakes their were.  I'm sure it makes it a tad easier but for now, since the standardized test is multiple choice, and this one is not, I feel ok with giving them a little help!

Phew!  That was a busy week of mentor sentences you just joined us on!!  Thank you if you hung in there for all of that!!  You are a trooper!!

If you have any questions, please let us know!  We are more than happy to help!

Here is a link to our starter pack available in our TPT store.

Mentor Sentences Starter Pack {10 Lesson Plans, Assessment

I am linking this up to my friend, Gina's linky party at Third Grade Tidbits for:


Also, don't forget to check out Jessica's post on her three days of the week and she might just have something you can win!

Thanks again for stopping by and reading about mentor sentences!!
Amanda

PS- I know that you want to hear about my gym escapades from this week, but I just can't talk about it right now.   I'm surprised I can even type.  I'll tell you more tomorrow if I have the energy to do a Five for Friday.  I'll leave you with this though-  I am walking like I am a cowboy that just got off a bucking bronco and had the ride of her life.  Yep.  Visualize it.  Yep. That's me.  It's ok to laugh.  I'd laugh too if it didn't hurt so bad!!

11 comments:

  1. LOOOOOVED doing this with you this week!! xoxo go sit on some ice! ;-)
    Jivey

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  2. I can visualize that. Next week (after rejoicing that my month--yes, 4 full weeks of standardized testing, is over!!!) My husband and I are going to start hitting the gym. I'm sure the flight of stairs I go up and down umpteen times a day will kill me come Tuesday.

    Also... thank you, thank you, thank you (and Jessica) for posting these. It is going to happen in my ELA classes next year!!

    Christy
    Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road

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  3. Thanks for the detailed posts about this- it'll be my reading for the weekend I think! I really want to implement something like this next term. (I'm in New Zealand so we're only in our first term of the year!) Holidays in a week! Woohoo!!

    From you newest follower
    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

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  4. Thanks for linking up and sharing such detailed information. I never have done this but want to try next year (assuming I am in a grade where it would be appropriate- or maybe modify it if not).
    Gina
    Third Grade Tidbits

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  5. Thank you for this series! I tried mentor sentences, but didn't love them they way y'all do. Now, I know I can step mine up and teach more grammar next year.

    Kristin
    Teachntex

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  6. Awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing this! :) Love that you stuck it out at the week, can't wait to hear more. That will be me next week, I hope!!! :) 1 more day until my Spring break starts! WOHOO!
    Theresa
    Pinkadots Elementary

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  7. Thank you, thank you for this detailed post with photos! I'm really glad I took the plunge and dove in with these mentor sentences this year. My fourth graders already had their big writing test, so this is practice for both us-it's perfect! It's only been a week, but I'm already a fan!
    Joanne
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

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  8. I can't wait to try this with my 5th graders, and I really want to read Jeff Anderson's book-I think I might already have it. :)

    Thanks for sharing the details WITH pics!

    Shannon
    http://www.irunreadteach.wordpress.com

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  9. Great ideas! I can't wait to try this with my ELLs. The pics helped a lot!

    Misty
    Think, Wonder, & Teach

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing all this detailed information and samples of your students work. I like that you can have them refer to their own writing to improve other writing pieces - accountability - it's a wonderful thing!

    Looking From Third to Fourth

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  11. I am loving the mentor sentence mini-series. Thanks so much for an idea that I feel like I can bring to my classroom already this week! :)

    Jenny
    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

    ReplyDelete

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