mentor texts · on-demand piece · personal narrative

Kids As Mentors

I’m getting ready for Family-Teacher Conferences tomorrow. As I do, I’m putting together folders for each family, which includes the following things:

  • A reading & word work assessment profile with each student’s score and the benchmarks
  • The most recent math test
  • Each student’s most recent on-demand assessment (for personal narrative)
  • Suggestions for helping students with writing at-home, inspired by Graves & Kittle’s Book of Quick Writes
  • A wish list that includes a request for more tissues
  • As I was perusing my students’ on-demand narratives, I noticed that a couple of them used one of my former students’ personal narratives as a mentor text. This student’s personal narrative, which was written over two years ago, included code-switching (i.e., dialogue in Spanish with the translation in parenthesis). First of all, how smart was it for a couple of kids to use a mentor text on an on-demand assessment when time is short! Second, these students had a former student’s piece of writing in their folders, to turn to for help, when they got stuck on something, which in this case was how to make the dialogue sound true to life while still helping the reader understand what was being said.

    I was truly amazed by these students who chose to use this kid’s writing. I think this use of mentor texts truly illustrates the power of having our present students stand on the shoulders of our former students. While our former students might not always write with perfect syntax or include enough description, there is a lot that our present students can glean from other children’s writing.

    4 thoughts on “Kids As Mentors

    1. Hi Stacey-
      I’ve been browsing previous postings about your personal essay unit. Can you expand more on the envelopes that you use for “patches of thought.” I love your idea- just want to know how you put them together and how they work out for your kids.


    2. Stacey –
      We are currently doing a personal narrative unit and are in the revison stage. I was thinking of doing on demand writing next as its own unit but time is slipping away. Do you give on demand writings while you are in the midst of your personal narrative unit?
      Thanks –


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