Teaching grammar rules can be hard.
How many times have you lectured on a specific grammar rule only to see students still make the same mistakes when writing? I have been so frustrated in the past when the labor of my instruction has produced absolutely zero fruit. As an instructor, it is my mission to be effective and traditional forms of grammar instruction did not produce results. I set out on a mission to find a more effective method.
Jeff Anderson has done a fabulous job of outlining how to use mentor sentences in the classroom. Once I began studying how mentor sentences could be effective, I began using them in my instruction.
Here is the process I use in my classroom:
- Notice-Show students a few students and ask them to study the sentences and write down what they notice. These sentences should have a common grammatical element, such has coordinating conjunctions.
- Imitate-Ask students to imitate the sentences by writing sentences of their own.
- Share and give/get feedback-Students should share their writing with a peer and receive feedback. Does it follow the rules? Do the sentences make sense? Next, students should listen to their peers’ writing and provide feedback.
- Find-Students find examples of the mentor sentence in their independent reading. This allows for students to read with a lens and notice the choices that authors make. They become more aware of how authors vary their sentence structure and make their writing more interesting.
- Assessment-At the end of the week, my students take a short quiz so that I can be sure they have mastered the current week’s mentor sentence.
Other helpful tools:
Anchor chart paper-I use anchor chart paper to create charts that remain on the wall. I refer to these often. Throughout the year, I continually refer to our mentor sentences. I might ask students to practice writing or identify these sentences in their reading. It is so important that I don’t just cover a sentence type or grammar rule and then never refer to it again. Students need continual exposure.
Expo Markers-Of course every teacher needs expo markers. I’ve linked the best deal on Amazon. This pack comes in multiple bright colors and are high-quality. At about $10, it is also a steal. I use these to create my anchor charts and write on white boards.
Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson- This is a great book for learning even more about mentor sentences.
Mentor Sentences Bell Ringers– This is a product I created for my own classroom to make teaching mentor sentences even easier. I print a week at a time for students to work on throughout the week. Each week includes a cover sheet with room to record To-Do lists, gratitude lists, achievements, and more. Then there are specific tasks to do each day (Day 1-Day 5). This works great for teachers who see their kids every day as well as for teachers who only see their students every other day (block schedule). My school is on a block so I instruct my students to do two days worth at a time.
Students will start on Day 1-They will receive sentences to notice, imitate, and find in their own reading. The end of the week concludes with a short and simple assessment.
10 Weeks of Bell Ringers include the following mentor sentence types:
- Simple Sentences
- Compound Sentences
- Complex Sentences
- Compound-Complex Sentences
- Review Weeks 1-4
- Author/Text References
- Subject-Verb Agreement
- Possessive Apostrophes
- Review Weeks 6-9
**This is a growing bundle so more weeks will be added!
Click here to be taken to the listing for 10 weeks of Mentor Sentences Bell Ringers.
How do you teach grammar in your class? Comment below in the comments or join us on Facebook!