demonstration · mentor texts · minilesson · shared writing · student work · teaching tools · writing workshop

Demonstration Texts, Part Deux


Earlier this week I wrote about four types of demonstration texts:

Mentor Texts: Published books or texts written by professional authors.

Shared Writing: A text written together with the students. In shared writing, the students usually come up with the ideas, and then the teacher writes them down on chart paper. See this older post for more info on shared writing.

Teacher Writing: My own writing folder and/or writing notebook, filled with writing at various stages of completion and levels of sophistication.

Student Writing: Examples of writing from kids.

Most minilessons in the Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing (Calkins & Colleagues) have a familiar pattern, or architecture to them. See this old post for more on how to plan a minilesson from scratch.

Connection: Relate today’s work to something familiar to students.

Teaching Point: Name today’s strategy in very clear language.

Teaching/Demonstration: Model when, how, and why to use the strategy in a piece of writing.

Active Engagement: Students briefly try out the strategy, demonstrating understanding of today’s teaching point.

Link: Relate today’s teaching point to the the work of the unit of study, reminding students of all the choices they may make as writers.

Now… (drumroll please…) here are some ways to think about using demonstration texts in your minilessons!

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.29.19 AM


Thinking about your demonstration texts this way can give you some inspiration for multiple ways to teach the same minilesson, to the whole class, or to small groups as follow-up. You might use different demonstration texts each time.

Of course, minilessons don’t always follow the four part architecture. See this old post for some inspiration on other formats for minilessons. And of course, demonstration texts can be used for more than just minilessons – conferring, small group work, and across your day for many purposes.

3 thoughts on “Demonstration Texts, Part Deux

  1. Love this, Beth. This really helps clear my muddled mind. I know what all these types of texts and parts of a minilesson are, but it sometimes feels confusing to piece it all together. This chart really helps!


  2. Thank you for all of your wonderful posts!
    In the Units of Study there is also mention of a “touchstone” text- is this another name for the mentor text?
    Thank you!


Comments are closed.