Thursday, January 6, 2011

Searching for Mentors

      This week, I began a journey.  During our weekly staff meeting, I sat with a group of teachers ready to study the teaching of mentor sentences.  After several teachers shared, we determined to split the group.  Some wanted to work on a scripted lesson structure for using mentor sentences.  The rest would begin searching texts for mentor sentences that coordinate with our Indiana standards and the Common Core Standards.
       I chose to search for sentences, since I've never been great with a script.  One other teacher, our literacy coach, and I began the process of creating a suitable document to hold this information.  In an effort to work more collaboratively, we formed our first Google Doc.  The three of us sat at our individual computers contributing to the same document of information.  Bizarrely, we worked on that document like kids playing a new video game.  There were several squeals of delight as we began combining the standards on this amazing tool.  We finished with a loose document that night, but it has taken on another form since then.  Each day we would check in with each other to see how it could be tweaked, changed, modified to ensure this information would be easily accessible. We're finally happy with the document
        In the process of all these modifications I have a better understanding of the concepts included.  With this new awareness I began sharing picture books with my daughter.  My goal is to pick one book each night to read with her.  After I put her to bed I'll then return to that same book to look for those mentor sentences to match each standard.  Tonight, we read The Old Woman Who Named Things  by:  Cynthia Rylant.  I cleverly chose this because she had told me that they read a story today by the author that writes Henry and Mudge.  So, she was really excited to read another Cynthia Rylant.  I found 8 mentor sentences that I placed with corresponding standards, and I'm sure there were several more I didn't notice.  It wasn't difficult.  I read with my eyes wide open.  Now that I've begun this journey, searching for mentors, I can't wait to look at more books with this new perspective. 

Here are two of the sentences that I found in The Old Woman Who Named Things.

Using Prepositional Phrases:
    " The old woman was sitting in Fred reading a book on everlasting flowers when she saw the puppy through her window." 
Using Relative Pronouns:
     "And every night Roxanne was sure to make herself plenty wide enough for a shy, brown, lucky dog--and the old woman who named him."

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