Words of Wisdom from Kelly Gallagher...

Sep 19, 2012 by

I know that many of you read my website and blogposts because you have attended one or more of my seminars.  If you have participated in any of my writing seminars, you know how strongly I feel about the use of mentor texts and teacher modeling in our writing instruction.  Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to hear someone else preach this message.  I attended a whole day workshop taught by Kelly Gallagher.  The text for the workshop was his newest book Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts.  I felt like shouting, “Amen!” all day as he reaffirmed this strong belief of mine. I took pages and pages of notes.  As I was reviewing them today, I decided to share just a few of these affirmations.  Here they are...

read more

Found Poetry

May 17, 2012 by

I had never heard of “found poetry” until I read about it a few years ago in Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature K-6 (Dorfman and Cappelli, 2007).  Poets.org explains that “found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems,” I haven’t actually used this technique with students yet, but it looks really fun and I want to!  I decided to try it myself today and create my own mentor text to have ready when the opportunity to use it with students arises. I selected an expository picture book called The Penguin.  Here is the text I used to “find my poem”: Fishing Champions...

read more

It Seems to Work for Patricia Polacco...

Oct 27, 2011 by

In a recent post I wrote about the importance of allowing students to choose their writing topics.  Whenever I make that statement, I am always prepared to hear the “Yes, but…” responses.  “Yes, choice seems important, but don’t I have to teach my students how to write for a prompt?”  “Yes, but my students have to be able to pass the state writing assessments, and the state test doesn’t give them a choice.”  “Yes, but what if my students say they don’t have anything to write about?  They just don’t have background experiences, so they can’t think of good topics.”  I want to make sure there are no misunderstandings here.  Is there ever a time when students need to write to a prompt?  Yes!  Should we teach them how to write for a prompt? ...

read more

New eBook for Sale

Nov 15, 2010 by

I developed my website because teachers at my seminars often wanted more information than I could provide during the seminar.  I would tell them to e-mail me and I would send them the information.  I decided it would be more efficient to post all of my material on a website.  Teacher feedback has confirmed that these resources have been helpful to them.  But some people would prefer to have all of the information in one spot instead of having to surf around the site to find what they need.  So my latest project has been compiling the information into downloadable eBooks.  I’m pleased to announce that my second eBook Motivating Students to Read More has just been posted and is available for purchase.  You can find more information on my Reading Motivation page.  ...

read more

Mentor Texts

Sep 18, 2009 by

Mentor Texts What Are Mentor Texts? Why Use Mentor Texts? Teachers as Writing Mentors Vygotsky’s Zones of Development Optimal Learning Model Selecting Mentor Texts Importance of Read Aloud Reading Like a Writer Mentor Text Minilessons How Do Writers Work? Write About What You Know Mapping for Ideas Name Dropping Using Literature to Spark Ideas Memories Sharpening the Focus Asking Questions Planning Sheets Show, Don’t Tell Paint a Picture Using Color Be Specific Fancy Words Walk Around in the Author’s Syntax Attention-Grabbing Leads Satisfying Endings Glue Words Seesaw Pattern Apostrophe Detectives Narrative vs. Expository Expository Text Features Booklet Share...

read more