Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Peek at my Week, starting with a Must Read Mentor Text

Hello everyone!  Today I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her Peek at My Week linky party.
Here are a few things I have planned for the week, beginning with a Must Read Mentor Text.

The first thing I would like to share is a mentor text that I will be using this week.  I am linking up with Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for Must Read Mentor Texts.  This week's topic is language arts.
I'm actually cheating a little bit and sharing two books that I use over a two day lesson.  First, I read Big Momma's by Donald Cruz.  

In this book, Donald Crews tells about his happy memories of visiting his grandmother's house during the summer.  The book begins with the excitement of seeing Bigmama's house from the train.  (Notice the great hook!)
The book continues describing memories of Bigmamma's house and all the wonderful people and things to do there.  We talk about how the topic of this book is the entire summer that Donald spent with his grandmother (Bigmamma).  We discuss all the possible "seeds" that could come from this book. 

The next day, I read the students Shortcut, also by Donald Crews.

In this book, Donald Crews recalls a specific memory of a time when when he visited Bigmamma.  The children are out playing and decide to take a shortcut home.  They were so sure that a train was not scheduled, but they were wrong.  Of course, they made it home safely, and they learned a valuable lesson.
After reading this book, we discuss how the small moment allowed Donald Crews to incorporate more details, sound effects, and suspense into his writing.  We discuss the differences between writing about big ideas (the whole summer) and small moments.

I wish I could take credit for this lesson, but I found it in Craft Lessons, by Ralph Fletcher.  This is a GREAT resource that I highly recommend! (He also has a nonfiction version, which is just as good!)

This week, I will be introducing some word study activities to my students.  I have assessed them on spelling sight words.  Students will be receiving a list of words they need to practice.  Those who don't need the practice will be working on the Back to School Making Words activity from Fourth and Ten.

Those who need practice with sight words will be able to choose from any of the following activities.

I'm going to start preparing for an upcoming social studies unit on The French and Indian War by using this foldable from Lovin' Lit.  Students will be writing about what the Indians, French, and British wanted and what they needed to have happen in order to get it. I will let you know how it goes.  I'm relatively new to interactive notebooks, and I'm excited to use this!

Tomorrow I will be running in a 5K.  I needed to maintain my exercise motivation through the back to school craziness.  This race kept me on track (for the most part anyway).

I'm off to see what everyone else has planned for the week, including all the great language arts mentor texts.

Enjoy the day off tomorrow, and good luck to everyone who is starting back to school on Tuesday.

Thank you!


  1. Hi Mary,

    I am always looking for good mentor texts for zooming in on a small moment and I am definitely adding these resources to my list. Thanks for sharing!

    Good luck in your 5K tomorrow!!!

    Thanks for linking up!
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. Looks like you'll have a fun week! Good luck tomorrow!!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  3. I love the ways that you use these two books! I actually have Shortcut but haven't even read it! I think I got it because I also have Ralph Fletcher's Craft Lesson book but then for some reason I haven't used it (probably because I feel like I have millions of books and I don't have time to read them all- a serious problem for sure!) I didn't know that it was a sequel! I will have to use these this year! You have convinced me!!

    The rest of your week looks great! I can't wait to see your French and Indian War unit!!! I'll need that in a few months!! :O)

    I love all the spelling too!!

    Thanks for linking up!!
    Collaboration Cuties

  4. I love using Shortcut to teach small moments too. I've never used the other book before. I will have to look for it!

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
    Find me on Facebook

  5. Enjoy your day off tomorrow and good luck with the 5K!

  6. I've just found your blog through the linky and started following along. Good luck on the 5k! I HATE running so am always impressed by anyone who does it. I only ever do weight training!

    Have fun!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  7. Good luck on your race Mary! I use Shortcut too, but I don't have Big Mama's-love that hook! I don't have Ralph Fletcher's Craft Lesson book, would you recommend it? Your week looks great!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching