Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Adapting Mentor Sentences for Big Kids

While cruising Pinterest not too long ago, I came across this blog post about using mentor sentences as a means of teaching grammar and mechanics in context. As a bonus, kids get close practice with writer's craft, something that has quite fallen by the wayside in my class, since in North Carolina, fifth graders get an extra state test, one in science.

I was intrigued. The work would only take a few minutes each day, offered consistent practice, and came from the kids' favorite texts. I was sold. Too bad the examples I found were meant for younger kids.

So, I got to work. Found some great lines from the books my kids love best and adapted them into Mentor Sentences for Big Kids. I did them up interactive-notebook style because so many upper elementary/middle school kids put everything into notebooks.

Each week's practice begins with a chance to look closely at the sentence with a critical eye. Why is it a 'good' sentence? What's interesting? What techniques were used? The next two opportunities focus on grammar and mechanics. Why the comma there? What kinds of words are used? Can you tell the point of view? Finally, children use a scaffold to create a similar sentence and the next day, a chance to revise it.
I added in an optional bit of notebook notes that relate to at least one of the items on the right-hand side of the notebook. They're on a separate sheet, so you can leave them off, if you like.

The right hand side has four flaps and the work beneath. The top flap on this one directed kids to circle the nouns.
I'm excited about using them this year! If you'd like a taste of Mentor Sentences for Big Kids, I did up a fun freebie. Just click on the image.
If you're ready to jump right in, you can find the first nine weeks' worth by clicking this set:
Now, to keep digging for more great sentences. I'm all up for suggestions...

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