One SIMPLE Way to Take Your Sentence Study to the Next Level

Yesterday’s winner in our Mini Moves for Writers subscriber giveaway is STACEY REEDER! Stacy, please contact me at to get your free copy of A TEACHER’S GUIDE TO MENTOR TEXTS! We’re giving away prizes all week — subscribe to our channel to make sure you are entered to win!

Sentence study is a bedrock of my writing workshop — it’s a way we engage in “notebook time”, it’s a way we learn and practice a reinforce the fundamental skill of reading like a writer. While each Mini Move for Writers video lesson focuses on ONE specific writing move, we can tie them into sentence study by letting students take the lead in making noticings and then receiving support for one specific move.

Here’s how you can use a Mini Moves video lesson to supplement sentence study.

  • Select a Mini Move you want to teach.
  • Share the primary mentor example (the one I teach from) to the students without commentary. I share mine on a Google Slide and ask students to copy it in their writer’s notebook.
  • Ask students to annotate what they notice about the way the writing was made: what jumps out at them? What is interesting? What do they simply notice?
  • Share + Discuss as a Class: What did students notice? What might they call each writing move they see? Why do they think the writer used each move — what’s the effect?
  • Introduce the Mini Moves for Writers Video: “When we looked at the sentence, we noticed, ___________. Let’s dig deeper into ONE move through a mini-lesson.”
  • Watch the video as a class.
  • Turn back to notebooks, and use the prompts and guiding questions as the end of the video to invite students to try some of these moves in a sentence of their own.

Including video-watching time, this sentence study should take a total of 15-20 minutes. And in that time students will have done critical reading + analysis, learned a transferable writing move, and practiced some writing!

Make sure you subscribe to Mini Moves for Writers on YouTube so that you get every mini move lesson when it is released AND you get entered in our launch week daily giveaways! Check Twitter daily at 12:30pm to see if you’re a winner!

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