There was much treasure to be found for writers’ workshop in my own classroom throughout the readings! In Chapter 2 of Mentor Texts, there was a plethora of writing prompts that made me excited just reading about them! My favorite was the “memory strings” on page 30. I decided to make a memory string for my own mother:
Memory String for Mom:
-popcorn and pancakes for dinner -Kelly Bird
-the fun run at Main Street School -reading Owl Babies and replacing the names
-Grey’s Anatomy -first day of school pictures
-Dory -water skiing
-back and arm scratches -skiing
-spit (card game) -shopping in Maine
I love how this chapter’s main idea is simply-setting a writing focus for the students, reading a book that is a model for that focus, and then setting the students loose to try it. I definitely want to get my hands on some of these books for my own classroom. I also love the idea of discussion partners to help students process their ideas.
Gets its own heading, because once again, this chapter was great. Without meaning too, I read “Social Studies” more as a teacher this time. I couldn’t stop noticing possible writing prompts. Here are some I jotted down:
- What do I need luck for?
- My cheating things.
- Food associations
- Me=cheese-itz. My babysitter got them for me every birthday from ages 7 to 14. If I didn’t originally LOVE them, I do now.
- Mundane highs and lows.
- People I feel bad for
- And my personal favorite:
I think I am starting to think in Amy’s voice. I don’t know if this is good or bad yet.
The book Happy Like Soccer made me nostalgic for my soccer days, although I was a little jealous because unlike Sierra, I was never picked for the good team, haha! The story was about something so light as soccer, but also touched on deeper issues, which I think makes for the perfect model text in any classroom. It made me want to think of more little things that can be used to show the income gap between populations of people. Maybe backyards? Toys? I don’t know. Soccer was great because she could talk about the buses not running outside of town, using trashcans for goals, and not having any family at the games due to work. It showed the inequality as the two worlds collided when Sierra made the team. I also loved the language, especially when she said she was “low around the edges” as she hugged her aunt. This is amazing imagery yet so similar to what a child would say. If I read this with my students, I would use this as an example of the writer SHOWING how Sierra was feeling, rather than telling (“I was sad.”). Another point when the author did this was when Sierra went down “skipping 2 stairs.” Any student can infer from this that she was excited, but the language is awesome.
Book Citations (I highly recommend them all):
Boelts, M., & Castillo, L. (2012). Happy like soccer. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Dorfman, L. R., & Cappelli, R. (2007). Mentor texts: Teaching writing through children’s literature, K-6. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse.
Rosenthal, A. K. (2016). Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. New York, NY: Penguin Group USA.