Sunday, June 10, 2012

Learning about mentor texts

All through this school year I have been learning about mentor texts and how I could effectively use them in my class. I have read some great blog posts--or entire blogs devoted to this topic--I have saved some professional books to read this summer, but most of all, I am determined to write some mentor texts myself to use with my students next school year (this year I only have exams left).

What are my top needs?
In my sheltered English class, which is a smaller high school English class for ELLs, I want to use mentor texts to model the writing process for my students. For the last essay that we wrote this year, I also wrote an essay. Then I used Microsoft Word's track changes button to show my  thinking and how I made changes I as read my essay again. My students' response was amazing! I definitely got the encouragement that I needed!

For my younger ELLs I want to show how we go from learning to write words to putting those words together to form sentences, and then putting a group of sentences together about one topic to form a paragraph! I want to have mentor texts available for different proficiency levels. I am also trying to correlate these mentor texts to match what the students are doing in their regular class. Common Core is coming; I too, need to be prepared.

For my middles and high school students, I also need to show the different text types and how we write them. For my high school class, I used Kelly Gallagher's articles of the week this year. When we read the first one, I talked a lot about how to write the reflection, and we even wrote the first paragraph together. When I look back to that lesson, I wonder, why did I stop there???? Why did it take me a couple of months before we worked with a sample reflection again?? Lessons learned I guess...

For all of my students, I want to spend more time in sharing our writing and learning from each other. Also, I want to incorporate more technology. I am lucky to have a smart-board in my classroom and I want to make sure that I use it maximize learning for my students.

I believe that my biggest challenge will be to find mentor texts that I can use and making time to write some of these mentor texts myself. Does anyone have advice??? Recommendations?? I am open to all! JJ

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