Monday, August 14, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #10

The last one! I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by. I hope you've enjoyed these lessons I've shared. I can't thank you enough for supporting this little blog of mine and shopping my TpT store. This journey has been awesome and it's all because of YOU! These lessons are the least I can do.

Lesson #10 uses this picture book about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and we discuss parallel structure. Undoubtedly, parallel structure is tricky and most writers do not master it until they are much older. But, it's never too early to get middle school writers thinking about one of more sophisticated grammar rules!

In about 10 days, my school will be open and teachers can come in to start prepping their rooms. I've got big plans for my classroom this year, so be sure to check back as I'll certainly be documenting my decorating!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #9

We are getting to the end, Folks! Hope you've liked these lessons that I've shared with you!

Lesson #9 uses a beautiful picture book called, Mr. Ferris and His Wheel, and we talk about writing with complex sentences.

If you are trying this lessons, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or on my Facebook page!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #8

I've got my 8th lesson in this series for you today and it uses a great book called Separate is Never Equal. Much of the story is told in a flashback, something kids love to include in their writing but can be tricky to write well. We talk about how we can add flashbacks to our biographies, as long as we transition to them clearly so our reader won't get confused!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts - Lesson #7

I can't believe we are on Lesson #7 today! Summer is flying!!

Today's lesson on writing style and word choice uses a book called Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by the amazing husband-and-wife team, Brian and Andrea Pinkney!

Hope you like it!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #6

Hi Friends!

I've got Lesson #6 today using a book about the great Muhammad Ali!  I teased that kids about finally reading about a GUY in history. I said that among all the amazing women of the past, there were a few men that were pretty awesome, too!

We talked about punctuating dialogue in this lesson. I'm not kidding, I go over this DOZENS of times during the school year and it still seems to pose a problem for many young writers! Drives me crazy!!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #5

I've got Lesson #5 for you today using the picture book Brave Girl. Spent more time talking about how to "unpack a heavy sentence."

Hope summer is treating you well!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #4

Friends, I've got Lesson # 4 for you today!

It uses the book The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist.  The lesson I taught using it is about "unpacking heavy sentences," a phrase I first heard from the legendary Ralph Fletcher. It's a tricky lesson for middle school students to master, so the next lesson will talk about this, too!

Now that we are a few lessons in, I'm eager to hear what you think! Leave me a comment below or on my Facebook page :)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #3

Hey there! I've got Lesson #3 today and it uses the most BEAUTIFUL mentor text, When Marian Sang!! I love the pictures and layout of this book, and I love how it demonstrates different ways to transition from scene to scene when writing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Writing with Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #2

Hey Friends! July is buzzing along. Our summer learning program has been amazing! I've got such a great group of kids and they are such eager beavers when it comes to writing!!

Okay, as promised, here is Lesson #2 of my writing unit using the book Wilma Unlimited.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Writing With Mentor Texts Series - Lesson #1

Hi Friends!! Welcome to the first lesson in my Writing with Mentor Texts Series for 2017! You can read all about my objective for my summer learning program here.

Okay, I'm just going to get started! Day 1 took a bit because I had to explain the project and let the kids put their notebook together. For the covers, I used some awesome clip art from Prince Padania available on TpT. I love the caricature look and the variety of cultures represented. (Of course some students elected to create their own cover and that is fine, too!)

For notebooks, I just used some of those flimsy marble notebooks. The size is 8.5 in. x 7 in. and there are 36 leaves per book. You can find similar ones at Walmart.

Once the notebooks were covered, it was time to get started with our first lesson using a mentor text. Today we used the book The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus.

We focused on creating a timeline of "principal events" in our lives like the one in the book. You can see my model down below. (PSA... make sure you are doing this project along with your students!! You are the BEST MENTOR!)

Okay... that was a lot for one day. Luckily, I have a 75-minute period during the summer, otherwise this would definitely have taken more than one class!

Hope you enjoyed this lesson! Remember, this summer I teaching an entire unit in summer school, so each lesson will build upon the next. That means you'll need to check back throughout the summer for the rest of lessons (there are 10 in all!), so come back soon!

Friday, June 23, 2017

It's Summertime!

Hey Friends!

My hope is that June is treating you all well so far :)

We've been finished with school for just over a week. Then end of the year, like always, comes at you like a ton of bricks! June 1st arrives and you think, "Ah, I've still got a couple weeks. There is so much I can get finished!"

And then WHAM!! 

Picnics, field trips, half days, pictures, assemblies, locker clean-out, parties... and before you know it, the last day is here and all the stuff you had planned goes by the wayside because you are too busy signing yearbooks, giving hugs, and singing Moana at the top of your lungs with the kids who drove you nuts all year but who you now suddenly realize are leaving you and you are not sure how you can go a week, let alone a whole summer, without hearing any of them ask you for a pencil! Phew!

Anyway, there isn't much time to lament because our summer learning program starts in about two weeks. Like last year, I plan to share all of my lesson plans with you here on the blog.

All the writing lessons that I'll be doing this year in summer school are FREE on the blog:

So, this year I will be teaching writing again to 7th and 8th graders. My plan to have the students write their biography... and yes, I did mean biography and not autobiography! Something that I've noticed about kids is that they give me more detail when they are writing fictional stories. They do a better job describing the characters, how they look and act, and the conflicts they are involved in. I'm wondering if they write about themselves in the third person if I can get some of the same detail. Not sure how it will work, but that is what I love our summer learning program: we have the freedom to try out all sorts of new ideas and techniques!

I've got an amazing bunch of biographical picture books to use as mentors.

My goal is two-fold... to get kids to do some awesome writing AND to teach them about some awesome people! Something that I've noticed over the years is that kids don't just know "stuff" anymore. And I'm not sure why, exactly, but I can't help but wonder if a steady diet of niche YouTube over plain old television has something to do with it?

Anyway, I want to share with them books about important and interesting people whose stories deserve to be known! 

I'll start posting the lessons the second week of July... my plan is to teach the lesson and see how it goes, make some tweaks if necessary, and then post it here for you all.

So, enjoy the rest of June and stay tuned for some great lessons :)

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Present Participle List for June

Grading... our Video Game Projects. For realz, this project saves my sanity at the end of every.single.year. Kids love it, I love it, parents love it, administration loves it. Win, win, win, win.

Prepping... for our summer learning program. I'll be offering lots of free "writing with picture book mentors" lessons like I did last year. We are working on a biography/autobiography writing project this year and I'll be using these beautiful picture books.

Making... these sweet little end-of-year treats for my kiddos! Grab them here for FREE!!

Reading... these PD and "grown-up" books this summer.

Cleaning... out my classroom! I'm moving to a new room next year (still in the same position), and anytime I move, I use it as a time to PURGE! The mess is making me twitchy, though!!

Loving... that this was the sky when we left the beach at 9pm the other night!! Happy summer!!

Enjoying... the hot sun and icy drinks :) I am a summer girl at heart!!

What is your present participle list for June so far? I'd love to hear from you!!