mentor texts · units of study

Poll – Early Results

From the looks of the poll I posted two days ago, it looks like people would like more posts about “units of study” and “using mentor texts” in writing classrooms. Since the poll is open until the 20th of August, we didn’t want to start posting about one thing (e.g., mentor texts) like wild and then find out that more people want more posts about something else (e.g., classroom management within the context of Writing Workshop). Therefore, I wanted to point you in a few directions with regard to the both of the areas that most people have casted votes for (as of 11:25 a.m. today).


1. Head over to our new website, Two Writing Teachers, where you will find a lot of support for the units of study you might be teaching during the first few months of the school year (e.g., a launching unit, a personal narrative/small moment unit, and an essay unit).
2. Check our archives from last August, September, October, and November for more posts about units of study. (Typically you’ll find launching-related posts in August and September, narrative posts in September and October, and essay posts in November and maybe even December.)


1. I created a list of books I used, by unit of study, last year in my 4th Grade Writing Workshop. Some of the books might seem a little too young for fourth graders (e.g., Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, but I assure you, I used nearly every one of these books when I taught fifth grade and while a few kids might scoff at them, at first, they do see the power in every single one of these.), but the power they hold to teach kids about writing is awesome.
2. Another way to search for more info on using mentor texts by doing a category search for mentor texts (or just click on this hyperlink to go right there).
3. Many times we’ll write about a mentor or touchstone text we’ll use in our Writing Workshops and we’ll categorize it with the author’s name. Some authors whose books we’ve used as mentor texts, and have blogged about several times, are: Maribeth Boelts, Eve Bunting, Patricia MacLachlan, Patricia Polacco, Mo Willems, and Jacqueline Woodson
4. If you’re just looking for information on mentor poems, then just click here.

Finally, the search box on the top right-hand corner of our blog, right under the header, allows you to search for posts that relate to exactly what you’re looking for either by category name or by using key words.

2 thoughts on “Poll – Early Results

  1. Hi Stacey!!

    I’ve been reading up on previous posts and have some questions. I’m thinking about my launching unit for W.W and writer’s notebooks. Do you have kids section off their notebooks for minilessons/charts or do you leave it up to them? Last year I didn’t have students do this for writing but I did have them do it for reading. I’m interested to hear your ideas.

    I was also wondering how you decide on HW. Do you generally have them continue what they started in class or write a separate entry?

    One last question!! I teach in NY and the stress with the state tests is tough. When you taught in NY, did you incorporate a “test genre” unit of study? I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve heard of many teachers who incorporate this into their year. They discuss the language of the test and types of MC questions, etc.

    You’re an amazing teacher and I’m sure these questions are tedious to answer but I’d love to hear what you think!



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