Mentor Text Wednesdays: Infographics!


Mentor Text: See Learnist board 

Genre-Based Workshop: Infographics

Technique-Based Workshop: Using visuals as evidence in writing

Background: We usually study mentor texts in isolation, but sometimes it can be useful to show students a group, or cluster, of mentor texts all at once.

Studying a group of genre-specific mentor texts helps students identify the traits of that genre. Studying a group of craft-specific mentor texts help students understand how certain techniques work across a variety of genres. Rebekah recently wrote about using a cluster of mentor texts to think about purpose and audience.

How I Used Them:

To introduce students to infographics, I created a Learnist board with five infographics that represented a variety of styles and subjects. If you’re not familiar with Learnist, it’s like Pinterest for teachers–a great tool for organizing digital teaching content.

Rather than breaking down one mentor text into its smaller parts, I asked students to study these mentor texts as a group. I posed the following questions:

  • What do you notice?
  • What do these texts have in common?
  • According to these examples, what is an infographic? What are the features of an infographic?

Students jotted down their observations in their notebooks and crafted definitions. We shared these definitions as a whole group and tweaked until we arrived at a class definition.  This definition helped me immediately see what the students already knew about infographics and what they didn’t–fodder for developing my unit.

Other Possibilities:

  • These mentor texts could be used to introduce the technique of using visuals as evidence to support an argument in a variety of genres.
  • I return to this Learnist board throughout the unit on infographics, especially when I’m introducing students to different types (e.g. timeline, narrative, comparative, etc.)
  • These mentor texts could also be used to engage students in a discussion about what constitutes a “text.”

Do you have clusters of mentor texts that you use together? How do you use them? Feel free to leave a comment or find us on Twitter @allisonmarchett @rebekahodell1

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