What a year!
What does the data say?
My Top 5 Most Viewed Blog Posts of all time are:
Data analysis is interesting. Four of the five posts were in my top 5 all time last year. #2 this year is a new addition to the top 5. It leapfrogged to #2 by passing up three previous “all time” posts.
I continue to wonder if my OLD writing is more popular than my newer writing with two posts from 2013 in the top 5. “Or does the popularity mean that these posts are STILL topics/issues that present day literacy teachers are struggling with?” Maybe these are topics that I need to review during the course of the year. They are definitely already on my March Slicer “To Write About” list.
My Top 8 Posts (by the number of readers) out of the 109 posts that were written in 2018 were:
8. #SOL18: Lit Essentials – Regie Routman’s Literacy Essentials with an entire section dealing with Equity!
7. #TCRWP: 3 Tips – Patterns of Power (Jeff Anderson), Mentor Texts with Simone Frazier and Heart Maps with Georgia Heard
6. #SOL18: Reading Research – Is all reading research equal?
5. Bloom’s and Thinking – Reconceptualizing Bloom’s Taxonomy
4. #SOL18: March 25 – Updated Reprise of #3 above “Lexile Level is NOT Text Complexity (2013)
3. #NCTE18: Digging Deeper #1 – Kass Minor, Colleen Cruz & Cornelius Minor
2. #SOL18: March 15 – Barriers to Learning, Allington’s Six T’s, Student Progress
1.#SOL18: March 11 – Increasing Writing Volume
And this – Reading Research from the end of October and both a November post about NCTE and a December post can make it into the “Most Read in 2018” list within 4 – 8 weeks of the end of the year. So Interesting!
What patterns do you see?
Which topics did you find most compelling?
What work do you review annually or over even longer time frames?
Wrapping up Curious with a Focus on being Joyful for this first chance to CELEBRATE!
Day 3 Countdown . . .
Working with Jeff Anderson’s Patterns of Power this week in Marie Mounteer’s section has been a special treat in a section where our focus has been on Interactive Writing,
The steps for a lesson.
When to use.
Work with Conventions. Spelling. Capitalization.
Work with Grammar.
Beginning with the standards.
Using student writing to determine needs.
Formative assessment at its best.
Analyzing student writing to plan for one small group of three students with different needs.
Lifting the level of work for all.
It all began with this:
Everything you will need for planning is in Jeff Anderson’s book. Sample sentences from fabulous literature that you will be reading to your students. The only exception would be an actual sentence from the reading students are doing in your classroom.
Don’t consult other sources like TpT!
Use the research-based work from Jeff Anderson! (never a rip off) as you work and plan with a partner – Priceless!
Simone Fraser and Toolkits
What do you include?
- Mentor Texts
- Checklists from Writing Pathways
- Progressions from Writing Pathways
- Tools to do big work (micro-progressions! Also see Kate and Maggie and DIY Literacy – link)
- Anchor Chart – Anchor Charts for the whole unit as well as charts from previous years
How do you organize?
So many possibilities. By units or within bends.
“I organize by the stages of the writing process.”
Working collaboratively to create tools and share . . .
Do.not.ever.pass.on.an.opportunity.to.hear.Georgia.Heard. What an inspiring keynote!!!
Her writerly life will inspire you as she details her process and shares the final product.
Her student examples will bring you to tears.
Gaspar’s Heart Map with a single wavy line down the middle to represent the line at the Mexican border. He wrote a poem off of that map about his Mexican heart and American heart with alternating lines written in English and Spanish. Awe-inspiring.
“Heart maps are a powerful tool for writers and writing. No one has ever said, ‘I have heart map block.’ Many students have said (prior to heart mapping), ‘I don’t know what to write about.’ Small moments can change us. My writing teacher who wrote ‘add more details’ was really saying, ‘pay attention and gather ideas for your writing.'”
What are you learning this week?
How are you filling and fueling your brain?
How are you filling and fueling your writing heart?
As a reader I have many “Fan Girl” moments. The list of favorite authors is even longer and my “TBR” stack has collapsed upon itself. So it’s time to write. Pick up the book. Test out some of those post-it marked pages and try it on.
But wait . . .
I signed up for the webinar.
Please, oh, please
Procrastinate until the webinar.
And that gem . . .
The idea of waiting
Have you noticed?
One of my all time favorite topics is writing about my learning!
Ahhh, you have noticed!
Thanks for traveling this learning journey with me!
As a result of my learning . . .
A Heinemann PD webinar with Georgia Heard,
I created a heart map with some of the best quotes.
Not an assignment.
A way to collect and perhaps savor some ideas that I heard.
And now I know that this is bigger than a topic list.
It’s bigger than just writing any old ideas into a heart shape.
It’s about REAL writing.
Writing that comes from my heart.
(Crap . . . can’t fake it . . . Must make it real . . . Writing!)
It’s about “an ache with caring”.
The passion to write comes from the connections I have to that topic that I have chosen …
Checking out Mentor Texts . . .
So many REAL reasons to write . . .
To Capture Thoughts . . .
I don’t just write to persuade, to inform or to entertain. (PIE)
I reject only having three reasons to write.
I write for many reasons.
Most of all, I write for me.
I write about ideas that matter to me.
Why do you write?
Plan: To create a heart map after PD to hold onto favorite quotes or ideas. That visual learning map of the important parts that I choose to store visibly so I can return and unwrap their precious wisdom. My Learning Map.
Text Based Questions (Close Reading of my Webinar):
Phase 1: What are Heart Maps? When would I use them? Why would I use them?
Phase 2: How does the design of a Heart Map support its use?
Phase 3: How will students be able to use Heart Maps to increase their passion for writing?
How can models of Heart Maps result in crafting authentic, personal writing?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Additional Information about Heart Mapping:
#TWTBlog had these questions for their #Twitter Chat about “Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts”. Were you there? Which questions/answers really helped you grow in your thinking about mentor texts?
This chat was a culmination of a week long series about Mentor Texts and in case you missed it, here are the links:
“Tuesday, May 3: Reading Like a Writer, Step-By-Step by Elizabeth Moore (that’s me!)
Wednesday, May 4: Student-Written Mentor Texts by Deb Frazier
Thursday, May 5: How to Choose and Mine Mentor Texts for Craft Moves by Stacey Shubitz
Friday, May 6: Digital Mentor Texts for Blogs by Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski
Saturday, May 7: Create Your Own Text by Dana Murphy
So why on earth am I writing about Mentor Texts again?
Well, there are whole books about Mentor Texts that include ten of my favorites below and Stacey Shubitz’s Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts that will ship from Stenhouse in June of 2016! (You can preview it here.) And I was just lucky enough, with my friend, Melanie Meehan, to win a FREE copy last night as a participant in the chat!
So, if I have 10 of these 11 books (soon to be 11 of 11) about Mentor Texts, why am I writing about them again?
I know that it’s a total shock to some of my readers, but I must admit that I am a bibliophile. There are very few books that I’ve met that are NOT my immediate friends (except for the fantasy, scifi, vampire type books that I often just AVOID)!
Collecting samples of mentor texts has been helpful in my study of the craft of writing. Each of these books leads me to other authors, books, and even publishers that allow me to deepen my knowledge of author’s craft. I’ve been a writer, off and on, for decades. But during that writing time, I have NOT always studied writing. Instead I was playing at writing and sometimes only “practicing” writing. I trusted the authors above to choose texts that would surely be magical mentors for either myself or my students.
Recently my study of writing has been more reflective and my goal has been to define the elements that work (as well as WHY) and YET sometimes I STILL totally miss the mark! The books above provided a safety net because I did NOT trust my own judgement of mentor texts. I knew there was no “magic list” and YET I still thought there was often something magical about these books that FAMOUS AUTHORS had placed on their lists of Mentor Texts. Reading through their choices was like Intro to Mentor Texts 101. I could see what they chose and why and try to imitate that.
What did I learn from tonight’s chat?
The chat was just like “Field of Dreams” . . . “Build it and they will come!”
Stars on the Twitter Red Carpet #TWTBlog included:
- Ralph Fletcher
- Lynne Dorfman
- Rose Cappelli
- Ruth Culham
- Kim Yaris
- Jan Miller Burkins
- Lisa Eickholdt
- Shana Frazin
- Cornelius Minor
- Emily Butler Smith
- Dr. Mary Howard
- Tara Smith
- Catherine Flynn
- Melanie Meehan
- Jessie Miller
- Leigh Anne Eck
- Lisa Keeler
- Margaret Simon
- TWT Team – Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey
The storified chat is available here.
But here are a couple of my favorite tweets that I am still thinking about in response to Q5) “Why are teacher-written mentor texts important? How do you use them?” . . .
and this all important one from Dana on Q1 about reading mentor texts:
The conversations last night were rich. I will be reviewing the storify as I know I missed some. And like any great texts, some tweets will need to be revisited!
Who are your writing mentors?
What are your favorite mentor texts?
How would we know?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
What are informational texts?
The Common Core State Standards include the following in their definition of informational texts:
biographies and autobiographies; “books about history, social studies, science, and the arts”; “technical texts, including directions, forms, and information displayed in graphs, charts, or maps”; and “digital sources on a range of topics” (p. 31).
That’s a broad range so what does that really mean? Sources that can inform your work include:
Research and Policy: Informational Texts and the Common Core Standards: What Are We Talking about, Anyway? by Beth Maloch and Randy Bomer
6 Reasons to Use Informational Text in the Primary Grades – Scholastic, Nell Duke
The Case for Informational Text – Educational Leadership, Nell Duke
Where can I find lists of Mentor Texts?
Award winning lists include:
Mentor Texts to Support the Writers’ Workshop (Literature and Informational Texts)
This list supports writers’ workshop. Others are readily available on Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers.
What about professional books to help me with Mentor Texts and Informational Writing?
Nonfiction Mentor Texts: Teaching Informational Writing through Children’s Literature K-8 by Lynne Dorfman and Rose Capeli (website)
The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing by Ruth Culham (Chapter 3)
Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts by Kelly Gallagher (Chapters 3 and 5)
Mentor Authors, Mentor Texts: Short Texts, Craft Notes and Practical Classroom Uses by Ralph Fletcher
Finding the Heart of Nonfiction: Teaching 7 Essential Craft Tools with Mentor Texts by Georgia Heard
and many grade level texts in the separate Units of Study of Writing by Lucy Calkins and friends at TCRWP.
What do I do with the books that I am considering as mentor texts?
Your number one task is to Read informational texts that you also like. And then your second task is to read these books from the lens of a writer. Identify techniques that the author uses very successfully. Third, talk with other teachers about the techniques and goals! To get started consider these helpful blog posts: A brilliantly written blog post on the use of a mentor text during a co-teaching instruction session by Melanie Meehan can be found in this post “Slice of Life Exploring a Fabulous Mentor Text” on the Two Reflective Teachers blog. Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris list “Our Top Eleven Nonfiction Books for Teaching . . . Everything!” here! Clare and Tammy at Teachers for Teachers also have a post titled “Two Great Nonfiction Mentor Texts”. Tara Smith writes routinely about texts. “Mentor Texts” is a recent one. Two Writing Teachers: mentor text archive (You can also search any of the above blogs for additional posts about Mentor Texts!) And three from my blog archives: Reading and Writing Instruction – Paired Mentor Texts #TCRWP Day 3: Information Mentor Texts (based on Alexis Czeterko’s (@AlexisCzeterko ) Closing Workshop “Five Mentor Texts for Information Writing – and Ways to Use Them with Power”) #SOL14: Writing Techniques and Goals