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Digital Mentor Text for Blogs: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts

Mentor Texts Series FINAL

Confession: I am a late bloomer when it comes to blogging. Somehow in the becoming a teacher-getting married- having kids- years of my life, I was cluelessly unaware of all the amazing blogging going on around me. I missed so much in the years I didn’t read blogs and didn’t write blog posts. Now a passionate believer in blogging, I share presentations with teachers about the power that comes from having a voice in writing, I blog with my third graders, and I facilitate a blogging club for fourth and fifth graders in my school. I believe blogging connects you to a larger community of readers and gives you the opportunity to share your ideas more widely. I believe all our students should have the opportunity to connect with a broader community through blogging.

I love to read, but find it takes me a while to get through a book nowadays, as life seems to get busier and busier. Yet, I can and do read several blog posts a day. Some of the most influential pieces of writing that have tugged at my heart and live in my soul are blog posts. As we planned this blog series on mentor texts, a lightbulb flashed above my head: Why not create a collection of mentor blog posts to help me improve my own writing? Why not create a similar collection for my students, to share with them possibilities and craft moves they could try, too? In thinking about the best way to curate mentor blog posts, I decided Padlet would be a great way to easily display links to posts and my notes about the craft I observed.

Digital Mentor Texts
Click to go to the Padlet.

There are so many incredible writers in our Slice of Life community, so where to begin? I began by thinking about posts that especially touched my heart and stayed on my mind, posts I returned to again and again. I also thought about other bloggers I followed, unrelated to teaching, whose writing was captivating. Initially, all of these blog posts were read simply for pure enjoyment. Revisiting the posts, I read now like a writer, looking for WHY and HOW the blogger was able to touch my emotions. Carrie Gelson, Rory Feek, and Dana Murphy provided inspiration for a kind of blogging author study: I read several posts by each of them and could begin to see patterns for how they were able to skillfully weave words in ways that left such a lasting impression. I also reread posts by other bloggers I enjoy, many from our Two Writing Teachers community. For each post I read, I wrote down what I noticed in the writing. Many of the blog posts that touched me the most had interesting structures, short endings that packed a punch, dialogue, and imagery.

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Click to go to the Student Mentor Text Padlet

I am in the early stages of curating a Student Mentor Blog Posts Padlet. I envision this as a teaching tool where I can directly teach about a specific craft move or structure using a student’s blog post as the mentor text. Deb’s post earlier this week spoke about the power of student mentor texts, and the same holds true for student blog post mentor texts.  I’m also envisioning this as a tool for students to use independently as they blog. If a student is feeling stuck or needing inspiration, the Padlet could be accessed and students can read these mentor posts. As Lisa Eickholdt shares in Learning From Classmates, highlighting student writing helps create a community of writing teachers where we are all learning from each other.

How do you grow and improve as a blogger? How do you help your students to become more skillful bloggers? In what ways do you incorporate digital mentor blog posts into your teaching and learning?

 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • Craft MovesThis giveaway is for five copies of Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts by Stacey Shubitz. Many thanks to Stenhouse Publishers (https://www.stenhouse.com) for donating a copy for five different lucky readers.
  • For a chance to win one copy of Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts, please leave a comment about this post on any post in the blog series, including this one, by Sunday, May 8th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Beth Moore will use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names she will announce in our blog series’ IN CASE YOU MISSED IT POST on Monday, May 9th.
  • You may leave one comment on every post in our Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts blog series, which runs May 3rd – May 8th.   
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so Beth can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, our contact at Stenhouse Publishers will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
    • Stenhouse will ship a print or ebook to winners in the United States and Canada. If you live outside of the U.S. or Canada and you win a copy of Craft Moves, then you’ll receive an ebook.
  • If you are the winner of the book, Beth will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – CRAFT MOVES. Please respond to her e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

33 thoughts on “Digital Mentor Text for Blogs: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts Leave a comment

  1. Wow, GREAT idea!! This would be engaging as well as effective for students to improve writing and language skills. LOVE it!

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  2. Kathleen,
    I am so glad your lightbulb flashed, because now it’s shining bright enough for all of us to see! I have been storing SWMT digitally but, Padlet is a great way to have them ALL in one place! I will be borrowing this brilliant idea!

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  3. I love the idea of using Padlet with my students to share their writing. This will give them quick access to student mentor text. I bet I can embed Padlet into Seesaw into its own folder. I’ve missed reading my TWT on a daily basis. Thank you,Kathleen, for always pushing me to think beyond the ordinary and guiding me to push!

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  4. Love this post. Great idea. I would love to win a copy of Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts. I could definitely use it as a 5th grade writing teacher.

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  5. Kathleen, I love reading your posts! Using padlet as an organizational tool to store links to posts and what you noticed in each for future use is such a great idea! Thanks, as always, for sharing.

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  6. This is smart, Kathleen. I’ve always collected mentor texts, but not in this way. I usually bookmark them and then, of course, they’re impossible to find or I forget about them. The way you organized this using Padlet is really effective. Thank you for sharing this! (And thanks for the kind words about my blog.)

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  7. I love your blog! I just shared it with others at a Vermont reading conference I am at! You will now have a few new followers… 🙂

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  8. I am excited to read more in this series. I must confess that I am pretty much a technology novice. It is a summer goal to learn more and begin using it in my practice.

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  9. I love your idea of using Padlet as a “catch all” for sharing. I too came into blogging late in my teaching career and now as I retired kindergarten teacher my reading consumption are blog posts, tweets and Twitter chats that keep me in the loop!

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  10. Whoa!! What an amazing way to incorporate real life writing for students and adults. I love the padlet idea. You’ve got some great resources there already!! Thanks so much for sharing. I was listening to a podcast from Voice of Literacy from Dr. John Guthrie this morning about motivation and engagement in reading. He shared that relevance and choice (along with 3 others) are key to success in motivating students to read. It seems like those same principles might apply to writing and the ideas you have going on right now:)

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  11. Kathleen – I am very touched that you included my writing here and was fascinated to see your analysis and observations. Such a great idea to have these texts and your notes collected like this. I love learning so much from you!

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  12. Everyday I open your blog I’m excited at the prospect of a new and exciting idea that will make me better- and it always comes. Thank you for all of your efforts and always keeping me reaching!

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  13. Love the idea of using Padlet to share mentor pieces for students – so smart. I began blogging with my students this year after being inspired by reading your blogs AND those of your students. Thank you for all the sharing you do!

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  14. It doesn’t matter that you came late to the blogging party. You’ve not only shown up, but you’re making an impact on so many students’ lives because of it!

    You are the padlet whiz. I hope you’ll follow-up on this piece next year and let us know how it went with the student-written (blog post) mentor texts.

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  15. I love the idea about reading like a writer and thinking about how and why and how the writer (blogger) was able to touch emotions. This would be a great goal for students to think about as they think like a writer when using each other’s blog posts as mentor texts.

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  16. What a brilliant idea.. it seems obvious and yet never once occurred to me. This is why I love this blog. So often I read a post and think to myself, “Wow- I love the writing as much as the content.” I feel completely inspired. And then, weeks later I can’t quite remember whose post it was or where I saw it. Love love love the padlet idea. I love the idea of carrying this into the classroom with a collection of student blog posts. Lots to think about. So excited for Stacey’s book as well!

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  17. This post is incredibly timely for me as our school is implementing a new LMS with a blogging feature next year. Thank you! I had already begun to collect ideas for how and why I might use blogging with my students but I don’t want to fall into the trap of blogging “just because…” I want to do it only if it gets to the heart of what I’m trying to accomplish with my writers. This post sells me! Used in conjunction with Padlet, my mind is spinning with fresh ideas. What a wonderful gift on Friday!

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  18. I agree with Tara that students doing this work of curating would be amazing. I wonder if they would have the same reasons for choosing the exact same text. Blogs that beg to be read out loud are my absolute favorites!!!

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  19. Thank you for so many wonderful resources in this post. Because of the SOL challenge I was inspired to set up a blog for my students. We started small and are just getting around to our first post. I too feel like I’ve got on the blogging band wagon late, but better late than never! ~Amy

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  20. I’m very curious about how you linked all of the students’ writing samples with Padlet. This is definitely something I will be looking into this summer. As always, thanks for sharing another great idea!!

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  21. Love the use of Padlet to store (and share) your mentor texts. The problem I have with mentor texts is putting my hands on them when I need them. This could be the solution I am looking for. And what better mentors than this amazing blogging community!

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  22. Some students in my 5th grade class participated in the Classroom SOL Challenge. As we read other students posts, we aimed to comment on specific craft moves each student was attempting. Seeing students in even earlier grades than 5th incorporating sophisticated moves helped my students realize they could use those strategies in their writing, as well!

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  23. I am loving this series! I am never as purposeful as I would like to be in collecting mentor texts- hoping this is the summer to really get it going better and this blog series has been a great kick in the seat:)

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  24. Yes! This would be a wonderful summer project, but I think it would be a fabulous thing for students to do as well – to help curate writing mentor texts for the class, and to go through the important writer’s step of naming and noting craft moves. Great post!

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  25. Kathleen, I think you have a great idea here! I love the idea of using padlet as a means to organize and display mentor texts, especially for students. It’s powerful to use student examples as mentor texts for your own students. In my experience they pay attention more to these examples, realize, “Hey, I can do that if he/she can.” Since we do all of our writing now with google docs, I have access to so many more student examples from previous years. I love the idea of mining them for mentor texts and organizing them with padlet. Yet another great summer project!

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