Digital Mentor Text for Blogs: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts
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.
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.
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?
- This 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.