Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mentor Sentences!

Hello friends! We had a faculty meeting about teaching grammar the other day... Our director of elementary education shared with us the idea of using a mentor text or sentence to teach grammar. I was like a kid in a candy shop. She said something along the lines of "these ideas are great for grades 2-5..." Womp womp. My heart sank. But then I started thinking. Obviously, at the beginning of the year, it would be very difficult to do this, as we are JUST introducing parts of speech. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my little firsties were ready for something like this.

Last week, I read Bear Snores On as a read aloud and the kids loved it. Since we use Reading Street, we've been talking about changes and how animals do different things in the winter.

*Click the picture to find this book on Scholastic*

This week, Reading Street was focusing on adjectives, and while I never use the grammar worksheets every once in a while, I decided that I wanted to beef up my grammar instruction a bit. I chose the first sentence of the book as my mentor sentence:

"In a cave in the woods,
in his deep, dark lair,
through the long, cold winter
sleeps a great brown bear."

I chose to do this in guided reading groups this week, as I was TOTALLY unsure how my students would respond, and I sort of wanted to be able to compare their reactions based on their reading levels. After I read the sentence to them, I asked the students WHY they thought I had chosen this sentence... I was blown away.

One of these was from my below-level reading group... I won't tell which one! They blew me away. By the end, they were practically BEGGING me to tell them WHY I'd chosen this as a mentor sentence. After we talked about how adjectives make a sentence more descriptive, I had the students complete this little worksheet.

I had the students first circle the nouns in the sentences. After that, we talked about different adjectives that could be used to describe those nouns. They rocked it. Made my day.

Do you use mentor sentences to teach language arts?
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Nick R said...


I have been using Mentor Sentences in my 3rd/4th grade class all year this year and it has been great! I've mostly been using the bundles produced by "Ideas by Jivey." I've recommended them to a bunch of friends, and I definitely think mentor sentences could work in 1st grade, as you've shown here! Love it!

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Miss 27 said...

What a great lesson! First, I love the books about Bear and his friends and so does my class. I really like how you challenged your class with the mentor sentence. What a great way to work on a skill without being overwhelmed.

I also love that your let reading group came up with some great answers. They are advanced thinkers and that says a lot!

Lauren Hixon said...
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Lauren Hixon said...

I looked for this file in your TPT store but couldn't find it. This would be perfect for my class.

Cindy Dy said...

Thank you for the information. You have a very good article. I found it informative and useful. Keep up the good work and God bless!