art · mentor texts · mentoring

Gathering Inspiration from Mentors

Here's an idea for using art to inspire students who are reluctant to use mentor texts. After all, creating something beautiful -- inspired by someone else's work -- is something artists, and writers, often do.

celebration · challenges · collaboration · mentoring · writing workshop

Growing Writers, One Challenge at a Time

This year, our class motto has been "Push through the struggle." Originally a mantra of one student, but quickly became the motto of the community. These are the words used to encourage each other to persevere in all learning tasks. The Slice Of Life Story Challenge was no exception!

mentoring · poetry · thankful

Giving Thanks + a Giveaway

Looking for a pre-Thanksgiving lesson to do with your students? Consider having them write gratitude poems or songs of thanks. Katherine Paterson and Pamela Dalton's new book, Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs, can be used to inspire their writing. Leave a comment on this post if you'd like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of this book.

community · mentor author · mentor texts · mentoring · poetry · publishing

Wow. Just Wow.

Awhile ago I was a 7th grade language arts teacher. My last year in the classroom I had one of the coolest classes that may have ever been compiled. It was the last block of the day. There were 22 of them, and they all came from very different walks of life. Outside of the… Continue reading Wow. Just Wow.

aimee buckner · mentor texts · mentoring

Who are your mentors?

I've been preparing for the graduate course, "Children's Literature in Teaching Writing,"  I'm teaching in June every time my daughter goes down for a nap, heads to sleep, etc.  I read through a sleuth of journal articles last month in order to pick the right ones for the course.  One of the articles I read,… Continue reading Who are your mentors?

books · mentor texts · mentoring · minilesson · writing workshop

The Book Stack

I have three gems for you. I. LOVE. These. Books. Love them. Micah Player previously worked for Paul Frank Industries. His illustrations and story are whimsical made me fall in love on the spot. Check out Chronicle Books website for more information on CHLOE INSTEAD. I'm looking forward to using this text in writing workshop for these… Continue reading The Book Stack

illustrations · mentor texts · mentoring · minilesson · modeling · persuasive writing · student work

Opinion Writing in Kindergarten

In one of the kindergarten classrooms I've been working in, we've been learning: Writers share their opinions. This has been a unit of study inspired by the Common Core State Standards, which place a heavy emphasis on opinion writing. What does that look like in kindergarten, I wondered. So I've been trying out a few… Continue reading Opinion Writing in Kindergarten

mentor texts · mentoring · presentations · sharon creech · writing

Let Their Writing Take Your Breath Away

Last week I was selecting some student writing to share with participants of the Conferring in Writing Seminar I'm leading at Penn State Harrisburg tomorrow.  I didn't want to go down to my basement, which is where I store most of my former students' writing samples.  Therefore, I decided to go through my electronic files… Continue reading Let Their Writing Take Your Breath Away

mentor author · mentoring · minilesson · student work · writing workshop

Showing a Story

Recently, I taught a minilesson about showing a story. In typical intermediate grade fashion, students were writing stories filled with struggles, but slim on creating a picture in the reader’s mind. My minilesson went like this (and, yes, it was less than 15 minutes!): Share this chart – all of which we’ve discussed in previous… Continue reading Showing a Story

books · character development · choice · curriculum · curriculum planning · drafting · fiction · focus lesson · free verse poetry · genre · lesson plans · lessons learned from students · mentor author · mentor texts · mentoring · narrative · organization · personalization · plan · poetry · point of view · primary grades · process · publishing · reflections · Reflective Practice · writer's notebook · writing process · writing workshop

Highlights from the Week

I have been in a lot of different writing workshops lately. Just this week I've been in 13 writing workshops and have met with 13 different teachers in either reflective practice meetings or planning meetings. Therefore, I have SO MUCH I want to record. Which leads me to my current dilemma: what do I not… Continue reading Highlights from the Week

jacqueline woodson · Jane Yolen · katie wood ray · mentoring · penny kittle · writing workshop


One of the common threads running through the All-Write Conference was having mentors. I'm wondering who are your favorite mentors to use in your classroom and to use for your own writing. For me, I enjoy using Jacqueline Woodson and Jane Yolen in classrooms as well as for my own writing. In addition I hope… Continue reading Mentors