The temperature is colder and some of you have had snow! It's time for a winter-themed blog hop. I am excited to be joining up with some talented teachers and bloggers for a Mentor Text themed freebie hop!
To enter the giveaway raffle, you need to track a special blue word each blogger will post on their page. Look for those blue words!
We also will be donating copies of each book to two lucky winners- one for each hop- primary and upper elementary! Check out these great books for the K-2 hop!
And here are the books for the 3-5 hop!
Let's get to it!
What are Mentor Texts?
Mentor Texts are texts that can be used for a wide variety of reading and writing activities and must importantly, are used as an example of terrific writing for students. students can use what they learn to improve their own writing. I also find mentor texts, since they are such high-quality literature, to be terrific tools for working on reading skills such as comprehension, in addition to learning about the grammar and mechanics of writing.
How do I use Mentor Texts to help my students improve their reading and writing skills?
In my freebie, I include a page with suggestions on how to plan out your lessons. However, you're the expert and with any concepts or skills, and you should use what you know about your students to determine which activities are appropriate for your class. You may need to supplement with some more whole class instruction or small group work.
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Burton
Here's some advice on how to use Katy and the Big Snow and my freebie. I give you some good information here but for all the details you want to download the freebie by clicking here!
This is a beautifully illustrated book set in the town of Geopolis. Katy, a red crawler tractor is the main character and she is described as "very big and very strong". She is very helpful to the town but most of the winter she is too strong for the small amounts of snow and stays inside a garage. One day, a blizzard arrives! The illustrations give a clear picture of how much snow there and you can almost hear the stillness that comes after a huge storm and feel the cold winter air. In the version I own, sparkles on the book actually make some of the illustrations sparkle and glisten. Townfolk call for help as every road gets blocks and every service gets shut down. Katy goes to work and the illustrations and text show her clearing a path through the towns, CHUG CHUGGING away until the hard work is done and she can rest.
When getting into a book like this, you always want to find out what kind of background knowledge your students have. Have they experienced a blizzard? Or are they from Florida and have never seen snow?
Also, since part of the way I suggest you use the book is by looking at word choice, there is a snowball themed "Word Splash" type activity in the packet.
The day you read the text, I recommend you help guide your students by thinking through the text. The guide included will help you! I even provided an answer key of sorts to help you determine how to discuss the points.
I like to call this kind of activity being a "word detective" and send the students back in the text to find examples of dialogue. You also can incorporate some teaching about the use of quotation marks. A lot of young students (I teach second grade) will have a narrative writing piece or fiction story but with no dialogue at all. They benefit from guidance that a balance of dialogue and narrative sentences can make their writing much more interesting and engaging!
After you work through some of the other activities, I recommend your students start to brainstorm what they could write about. I like to also ask students, after they choose their final topic, to explain why the topic they chose would be best for them (in writing or verbally). Sometimes, if they don't have any reason, I look at their brainstorm list and talk about their other ideas and we find out one of them would be better. Then it is time to make a story map to plan their writing!
Now that you have learned about Mentor Texts and how to use Katy and the Big Snow, you can download my freebie by clicking here or on the image below!
Over on Pinterest, if you are looking for other teaching ideas for ELA, you may want to follow my board, "Bex's Teaching Ideas". It has a little of everything!a Rafflecopter giveaway
My mystery word: BLIZZARD