mentor texts · Teachers who write · writing workshop

Mining Your Writing for Mentor Texts

Though I was sad to miss the #G2Great chat last week, which featured my friends Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum, highlighting their new professional text, The Responsive Writing Teacher: A Hands-on Guide to Child-Centered Equitable Instruction, I was delighted to find this gem in my feed. As a long-time member of the Long Island Writing Project and of course a co-author here, I have long believed  in the value of being a teacher who writes. As the April 2021 Classroom SOLSC approaches, this tweet made me think more explicitly about how I can mine all the writing I’ve done for the March SOLSC for lessons to teach my third graders as they embark upon the challenge. Whether your students are taking on the Classroom SOLSC or not, there are bound to be lessons for your writers in the writing you’ve done. Those of us who have been taking part in the 2021 March SOLSC have been blogging for many days now and have many posts, ideas, and processes to share. But if you haven’t been participating, you can still mine your own writing through the years for lessons to teach your writers.

Here are some blog posts I’ve written for this year’s March SOLSC and ideas I have for lessons I could teach:

Dear Easter Decorations

Lesson ideas: personification, letter writing, finding ideas, punctuation to create voice, varying sentence length,  and bold words to create voice.

Teddy in the Park 

Lesson ideas: lead (set the stage), dialogue, power of three, and parentheses to create voice.


Lesson ideas: repeating line, varying sentence length, and finding ideas (I would delete the last line when sharing with children.)

I Said Yes

Lesson ideas: lead (dialogue), punctuation to create voice, dialogue, and finding ideas.

Happy Birthday Teddy Graham 

Lesson ideas: lead (start with a question), parentheses to create voice, and finding ideas.

In addition to sharing the posts as a mentor text and teaching the various craft moves, I can talk to my students about my process for writing. I can explain how I like to get all my thoughts out first, then go back and reread and revise. I can speak about how I look for ideas throughout my day.

Do you plan to share your blog posts or other writing with your students? How can you take the real writing from your own life and transform it into craft lessons for your students?

4 thoughts on “Mining Your Writing for Mentor Texts

  1. I love this! I have also used my March slices as examples for my students. I like how you organized yours specifically in this post with lessons you could teach. I want to now organize mine. That careful thought and planning will certainly pay off later on. Thanks for that great idea!

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  2. Absolutely! My students love when I use my posts as mentor texts! I’ve found they enjoy seeing me as a writer and getting to know me more deeply through my slices. Sometimes I tell them a post is mine before I have them read it, and sometimes I throw my slices in anonymously with other slices, stories, or poems, and tell them which ones are mine after they’ve analyzed several. Either way, it’s so much fun! A couple years ago, I made a mentor text spreadsheet for them with a bunch of my posts linked (as well as anonymous former student slices, which they also love) and writing strategies marked, so if they want to try a certain strategy, they can look at which mentor posts use that strategy and click to read them. They really got a lot out of it!

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  3. Love and appreciate this, and absolutely agree with all your ideas above. When we engage in the same writing practices we are expecting of our children, we know better how to tailor instruction. XO

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