Discovering Mentor Sentences for Middle School


If you think mentor sentences are just for elementary, read this post to find out how they can be used with middle school students to review grammar, writing conventions and even reading skills all in the time it takes you to do attendance!

I have a confession:  grammar is not my thing.  My own Father was an English teacher that loved diagramming sentences.  I loathed it.  So it probably comes as no surprise that I have looked for ways to make it less painful.   Years ago, I stumbled upon the concept of pulling out especially well-written sentences from picture books to use as models.  

Each day the idea was that students would do something different with the sentence like noticing punctuation or its use of adjectives or adverbs.  It was very doable and students would experience some success right away.  Best of all, the amount of time it takes to do this would be about the amount of time I would need to take attendance!

When I first shared the idea with my team, they were hesitant because they thought we would be correcting poorly written sentences.  But that is not the case - in fact, this idea is the opposite.  The sentences we study are models.  We are looking at the sentence for what the author did right.  We would look for various things that we would want the students to emulate in their own writing.

I use Mentor Sentences as MODELS of good grammar and writing.

We could also ask questions about the text to practice reading skills as well.  Things like "How does this sentence contribute to the tone of the text?"

Soon, the possibilities were endless and grammar was now part of our daily routine in very bite-sized pieces that had no resemblance to the loathsome diagram.  ;)

Thanks for stopping by!


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