What’s in your writing-teacher heart? — An Invitation

Allison & I are working (feverishly) on a new book — have we mentioned it? And we desperately want your voice to be in it! So, we’re hosting a little writing activity this month. It’s a great way to get your feet wet with mentor texts yourself, it’s a useful way to reflect mid-year about your intentions as a writing teacher, and we might ask to use it in our newest book. (Plus, if you keep reading, you’ll find a little prize incentive. :))

Let’s write together:

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 7.11.08 AM (1)

Spend a few minutes looking at this designed text created by illustrator and writer Mari Andrew.: 

  • What do you notice? 
  • What jumps out at you about the visual elements–color, shape, texture, and so forth. 
  • What about the words she uses? Do you notice any patterns? Any words, phrases, or ideas you could borrow to make your own? 

In this text, Andrew is exploring what is in her heart one October. Using her heart as a guide, think about what’s in your heart for your student writers right now:

  • What comes to mind when you think of your student writers?
  • What do you wonder about your student writers? 
  • What are your dreamiest dreams for them? 

Combine what you noticed about Andrew’s October heart with the hopes in your heart for your student writers.  There’s no right way or wrong way to do this — just grab some inspiration (and a notebook!) and go! 

Then …

Submit your heart to us!

  1. Take a clear picture of your heart in good lighting. Try to make sure that your image is straight and that paper or notebook pages are flat. (If you made your heart digitally, you can skip this step!)
  2. Then email it to us: movingwriters@gmail.com. Put “Writing Teacher Heart” in the subject line.
  3. All submissions must be received by FEBRUARY 15.

We will share all submissions in a February post!

Here’s a little extra incentive:  We will draw the names of two teachers to receive a signed copy of either Writing With Mentors or Beyond Literary Analysis.

Looking for another way to be involved in this project?

Another way your voice can be in it is to leave us a burning question about using mentor texts with your students. It’s not too late! Use this form:


  1. I would love some more guidance on how to use mentor texts to teach the ELA language standards. I currently teach 8th graders and am always looking for ways to authentically teach student writers grammar topics.

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