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Ralph Fletcher on Mentor Texts (PODCAST)

If you’re spending some time sifting through new books and thinking about teaching with them, you’ll enjoy this podcast with Ralph Fletcher.

Using Picture Books to Foster Resilience

Gigi McAllister uses picture books to strengthen her fourth grade classroom community.

Researching Like Writers: From Read-Aloud to Notebooks

Katie Doherty finds read alouds are a valuable tool for developing middle school writers.

Questions and Picture Books

Katie DiCesare suggests some mentor texts for fostering curiosity in young readers.

Nine Picture Books for Teaching Mindfulness

Kim Yaris and Jan Burkins conclude their series on integrating children’s literature and mindful teaching.

Organizing Craft Minilessons

Mary Helen Gensch concludes her series on crafting your own minilessons with tips on organizing and storing your plans.

How to Notice: Mining Children’s Books for Craft Minilessons

This is the second installment in our new series on creating your own writer’s craft minilessons.

Finding Craft Minilessons in the Children’s Books You Love

Mary Helen Gensch explains how to find craft lessons in beloved children’s books. She uses a mentor text with an engaging main character to describe the process. This is the first installment in a three-part series.

Teacher as Mentor Writer

Tony Keefer takes the leap and commits to sharing more of his writing process with students.

Books for Studying Illustration with First Graders

Katie DiCesare has suggestions for books to support an illustration unit early in the year.

Understanding Study: Noticing Pictures

Katie DiCesare’s favorite beginning unit with first graders focuses on illustration.

Endings Minilesson with Second Graders

Cathy Laker uses her own writing as a mentor text with her second-grade students to demonstrate options for endings.

Manipulating Time: Fourth-Grade Writing Minilesson

Tony Keefer uses his writing as a mentor text in this fourth-grade minilesson on manipulating time in personal narratives.

Drama and Two-Page Spreads: Conferring with Max

Ruth Ayres confers with second grader Max about the drama of losing his dog, and the value of using two-page spreads to tell a story.

Act II: Understanding Hamlet Through Close Reading (Shakespeare and the Common Core Series)

Gretchen Schroeder continues her Shakespeare and the Common Core series on teaching the classics in high school, explaining how she uses Hamlet in creative ways to teach close reading strategies.

Rereading for Writing: Conferring with Jack

Katie DiCesare confers with first grader Jack, using rereading to help him rethink the title of his story and possibilities for revision.

Thinking About Theme

Karen Terlecky explains how she designs instruction and uses mentor texts to teach theme, and includes a video example of a minilesson.

November Contract: Family and Memoir

The November installment of Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller’s yearlong literacy contract series has a theme of family and memoir.

Mentor Texts for “Versus” Stories

Shark vs. Train! Fork vs. Spoon! Versus stories are incredibly popular in writing workshops these days. Cathy Mere found herself struggling to teach narrative conventions to students writing versus tales, so she created a booklist of mentor texts.

Owl Research: Whole Class Explanation of Marking Up Text

Students are given a nonfiction text to mark up during a close reading with a partner in this video from Andrea Smith’s fourth-grade classroom.

Mentor Texts for Writing Endings

One goal of many primary teachers is to help students finish their drafts with an ending other than “The End” (or “they lived happily ever after”). Katie DiCesare shows her first graders many alternative examples, and she begins early in the year.

First Grade Read Aloud: Sergio Saves the Game

Katie DiCesare reads aloud Sergio Saves the Day to her first graders as part of a unit on understanding literary characters.

Fireflies and Background Knowledge

Karen Terlecky writes about the importance of building understanding before more complex read alouds.

Subheading Literacy: Nothing “Sub” About It

Heather Rader discovers subheadings are a neglected but useful tool for teaching students about key topics in their writing.

Teacher-as-Writing-Model Minilesson in Fourth Grade

Beth Lawson models her process as a writer for her fourth-grade students, describing her emotions as well as creating a draft.

Just-Right Poetry and Individualizing Instruction

Shari Frost describes how a sixth-grade teacher provides a range of poetry options to meet the needs of all students.

Poetry and Fluency Minilesson in Second Grade

Sean Moore uses the poem “The Busy Ant” for partner work and discussion of fluency and vocabulary with his second graders.

Shared Reading to Explore Writer’s Craft in First Grade

Katie DiCesare’s first graders reread a favorite text in pairs to work on noticing the details of writer’s craft.

From “Show Me the Lessons” to Sustainable Planning (Part 4 of the Opinion/Argument Writing Series)

This is the final installment in Heather Rader's series on argument and opinion writing in the intermediate grades.

Second-Grade Writing: Adding Details and Descriptive Language

In this first video from a four-part series, Sean Moore leads a writing workshop focused on adding more details and descriptive language to writing. He begins with the classic Charlotte’s Web as his mentor text.

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