Guest Mentor Text Wednesday: The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

Today’s MTW post is from a guest, Jennifer Isgitt of Empathic Teacher, whose blog we follow and love!  I originally caught this post on her blog and begged to use it for Mentor Text Wednesday. Workshop Genre: Poetry Background:  I first learned about The Book of Awesome from my friend Amy, who presented about nonfiction mentor texts at the TCTELA conference […]

When Even Writing Workshop Doesn’t Work

I am almost obnoxious in my whole-hearted evangelism of writing workshop. (Just ask my colleague who has banned the phrase “mini-lesson” from our future conversations.)  And still, in all my crowing about the successes of writing workshop, I have to admit something to you. Sometimes it doesn’t work. “Kevin” nods furiously during our writing conferences. […]

Mentor Text Wednesday: Editorial

Mentor Text:  Sumter, Kyler. “Solutions for School Stress: Schedule the Workload Better”.  The Huffington Post.  17 December 2013. Web. Workshop Genre: Editorial Background: I love using this editorial with students since it is written by a fellow member of their tribe — a sixteen-year-old high school junior. In addition to showing them a living, breathing […]

A Lesson for Tomorrow: Using Art to Teach Repetition in Writing and Reading

Students are great barometers of lesson effectiveness. At the end of each writing workshop genre study, I ask students to reflect on the lessons that had an impact on their thinking and writing. When asked which mini-lesson she found to be the least helpful in our memoir genre study, a student wrote: The mini-lesson I […]

Mentor Text Wednesday: Carol Sherman-Jones’ “A Lesson Not Learned”

Mentor Text: Sherman-Jones, Carol. “A Lesson Not Learned.” I Thought My Father Was God. Ed. Paul Auster. New York: Picador, 2001. 52-53. Print. Writing Workshop Genre: Memoir Background: When asked which mentor text had the biggest impact on their thinking and writing in our memoir genre study, most students credited “A Lesson Not Learned” by […]

A Lesson for Tomorrow: Writing a Persuasive Conclusion

“What do you need more of?” I queried.  Within minutes, more than a dozen post-its on my board read: “A mini-lesson on conclusions!” “Conclusions! Please!” “Conclusions — I don’t know what to do! Help!” And these were my IB seniors, still convinced at the end of their K-12 careers that they couldn’t successfully wrap up […]

Mentor Text Wednesday: “Scary New World” by John Green for The New York Times

An Introduction to Mentor Text Wednesday Welcome to our very first Mentor Text Wednesday! Mentor texts are powerful in the hands of writers  — they engage our students, they motivate our students, they guide our students, they inspire our students. We know they work. But finding mentor texts is a time-consuming task for teachers. I […]

Showing-Versus-Telling & The Walking Dead

The first twenty minutes of the pilot episode of The Walking Dead is virtually silent. I hadn’t remembered that when, out of desperation and end-of-October exhaustion, I agreed to show the episode to my ninth graders on Halloween. They begged. I was weak. In a lame effort to sound educational, I grasped wildly for one of our recent mini-lessons. […]