Hello, Ramona Recommends Readers! I am so excited to be a guest blogger for my sweet friend Courtney today! I'm Jessica, or Jivey as I'm affectionately known, and I blog over at Ideas By Jivey!
Yup, that's right- you can teach grammar from your favorite children's books! It's called mentor sentences. I first heard about the idea from a fantastic author named Jeff Anderson. I adapted some of his ideas for my classroom, then added some of my own, and my TPT Mentor Sentence Units were born! I have TONS of resources over on my blog about mentor sentences, including videos. If you want the nitty-gritty details, definitely head over there. The short "CliffsNotes version" is: Mentor sentences show students the RIGHT way to write a sentence. Students identify what makes a sentence awesome instead of what is wrong with it (and let's face it, DOL-users... they usually don't know what is wrong with it and they are just guessing because they have never seen the sentence before in their life!)- this leads to application in their own writing! By focusing on one skill each week, but spiraling previous skills, students are immersed in grammar daily without a "drill and kill" worksheet. It also improves their writing style and conventions! They actually LOVE this time of day. How many times have your students begged to do grammar?
Today, I am going to share five mentor texts that I love to use for mentor sentences, but also another subject or two, because if you can double dip, why wouldn't you? ;-)
First up is one of my all time favorite books to use for figurative language, Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse. This mentor sentence focuses on vivid verbs, but the entire book is great for a writing lesson on figurative language. It's FULL of it! Students love to identify the figurative language, and then incorporate it in their own writing. If you'd like to try out this mentor sentence and interactive vivid verb activity, it is a freebie available in my store! You can download the freebie here. It is also available in Volume 1, Unit 1 Mentor Sentences.
Next, let's get into a little social studies AND grammar! If you teach Westward Expansion, this is a great one for you. I love anything Eve Bunting writes, and Dandelions is no exception. A family moves west in their covered wagon and builds their house and even their well from the ground. The book shows how difficult it was to leave family and friends, but also the hope of a new future. This mentor sentence lesson focuses on prepositional phrases but you can see, it will also be a great opportunity to review figurative language again! This mentor sentence is available in Volume 1, Unit 3 Mentor Sentences.
We can't leave out science! I love this book to teach the solar system: Postcards from Pluto by Loreen Leedy. As a culminating activity, it's really fun to have students write their own postcards from a planet once they have learned more about them. This mentor sentence lesson focuses on possessive its vs. contraction it's, as well as being a good example of a compound sentence. This mentor sentence is available in Volume 2, Unit 4 Mentor Sentences.
On to math... yes, MATH! If you have not discovered all of the wonderful math mentor texts out there, I beg you to do a little digging! My students always loved to hear a book during math time. This book, A Remainder of One by Elinor J. Pinczes, not only teaches dividing evenly, but it's also poetry. Talk about triple-dipping with this book! This mentor sentence lesson focuses on adverbs. If you'd like to try out this mentor sentence and the interactive math activity that goes with it, you can download it here. It's a freebie in my store! It is also available in Math Mentor Sentences & Interactive Notebook Activities for 3rd and 4th Graders.
Last, it was hard to pick only ONE more because they're all my favorite... but this one is soooo good to teach inferring in reading. Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne is a very unique book. You must look closely at all of the illustrations as well as listen to each character recount their trip to the park. The character development is done solely through inference of the text and pictures. This mentor sentence lesson also focuses on adverbs and adjectives. This mentor sentence is available in Volume 2, Unit 3 Mentor Sentences.
I hope I've given you some new ideas of mentor texts you can use to teach it all! For more mentor text ideas, visit my blog! If you enjoyed this post, please consider following me on Facebook and my TPT Store.
Hop on over to Sparkling in Second to let the fun continue