Mentor Sentences

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I’m amazed by math teachers.

To illustrate a concept, they must have just the right type of problem. In front of a classroom of students, they magically come up with numbers that work perfectly with whatever operations they’re teaching. As my husband creates lessons for his Algebra I students, he can quickly pour out problems that fit exactly what he’s teaching. What a gift!

Oh, but we English teachers. bound to the grammar workbook and writing handbooks. Chained to the daily oral language packet we bought on Teachers Pay Teachers. Our example problems are

Correct the following sentence: lisa bought eggs cheese and milk for her sons lunch at quick stop grocery store over their.  

The insanity! We can do better than Lisa’s grocery list.

Come with me to the promised and where mentor sentences flow like milk and honey.  

Where are they? In your local library in the young adult books section.

I have 30 of these getting dusty on my shelf if anyone wants them.

A group of phenomenal teachers (They must be phenomenal if they gave up a Saturday to be at a free professional development put on my 8 surrounding districts since the state gave us all $0 for professional development this year.) helped me discover some awesome mentor sentences I want to share with you.

The document you can download below has a table with sentences pulled straight from the books your students are devouring already. These can be used in many ways:

  1. Use Kelly Gallagher’s Sentence of the Week format to teach grammar, usage, and mechanics. These sentences can be one way of introducing the week’s concept.
  2. When a student is struggling with a particular writing error, use a mentor sentence to show them how it’s done “in the real world.”  Create a file or database of them for students to use when editing their work.
  3. If you really are chained to the grammar workbook, throw these in as proof that what they’re learning really is important for properly communicating a message. 

This is just a handful of mentor sentences. It would be a great use of your department meetings or prof. dev. to grab a pile of books and start searching. Or just sticky note as you do your own reading of YA Lit. 

Mentor Sentence Word Document

I also recommend reading some of my most helpful guides for teaching grammar: Constance Weaver’s Teaching Grammar in Context, Jeff Anderson’s Mechanically Inclined, and Kelly Gallagher’s Write Like This

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