Hey, friends! I’m writing this from the comfort of my couch with a big cup of coffee nearby soaking up my last few lazy mornings of summer. It was a great summer full of relaxing, plenty of pool days, and just the right amount of weekend getaways. I couldn’t be more grateful for time to recharge. BUT – all good things must come to an end and I’m slowly but surely getting ready to get back into the swing of things. While I did plenty of relaxing this summer, I also did a bit of work on curriculum and various things for my classroom! I’m so excited to share more about my mentor texts, how I plan to use them, and how I acquired so many of my books thanks to an Amazon wishlist! I can’t imagine a better time to share about this, especially with the recent #ClearTheList movement circulating! We do so much for our kiddos every day – and I’m so proud to see such an amazing movement spreading so much joy and love back into educators.
What are mentor texts? According to the National Writing Project, “Mentor texts are pieces of literature that you—both teacher and student—can return to and reread for many different purposes. They are texts to be studied and imitated…Mentor texts help students to take risks and be different writers tomorrow than they are today.”
I love that definition! Last year, we used weekly mentor sentences to model various grammar strategies and writing techniques from various picture books. We followed curriculum from Ideas by Jivey. It was so easy to follow, full of amazing resources, and utilized engaging books that my students greatly enjoyed! It only took us about 10-15 minutes daily to work through our grammar study. If you’re interested in learning more about this, head to Ideas by Jivey’s website. She has so much information and resources to help (and she certainly can explain it better than me!)
I saw my students transform as writers throughout the year – learning to stretch their sentences and wanting to include vivid verbs to better represent their writing and the story they were trying to tell. Additionally, as previously mentioned, all of the picture books we used were engaging and fun to read!
Fast forward to this year… We loved using these mentor texts so much and we wanted to figure out a way to expand it past only grammar and writing. Thankfully, Jivey has even more resources with assessments matched to all the standards, vocabulary for each book, and graphic organizers that align with the mentor texts! We can’t wait to fully dive into these picture books each week. (I don’t want to steal Jivey’s thunder by explaining all of her resources in depth…if you’re interested, head to her blog, or check her out on Instagram. I’ve learned so much from everything she shares and I know you will too. She even has a free course on how to use mentor texts in the classroom!).
Last year, I borrowed books from our school library or county library, but I didn’t have my own copies of many of them. This year, I knew if we were diving into these books fully, I wanted to have my own copy to share with my students. But I didn’t want to spend a fortune…we already put so much into our classrooms for countless other things, am I right??? So, I decided to make an Amazon Wishlist! I had never made one of these before, but I had seen many of my friends having great success with sharing them on their own personal Facebook. I decided to put together a list of all the books that we would need for this full year of mentor texts.
I was shocked by how many of my friends and family were happy to donate books to my classroom! It means so much to me to now have a collection of books donated by people who want to foster a love of learning and literacy in children. I got a lot of questions about how I worded my post or what to say when sharing it on Facebook. I know it can be scary to ask for help…but in this case, the worst thing someone could do is keep scrolling, right?! You won’t even know they said no! The best case scenario is that you gain a few new books or other supplies for your classroom. For free! If you’re unfamiliar with Amazon wishlists…you can place any item onto a list and then people can purchase said item from your list. It then ships straight to you – which is SO helpful!
Here’s how I phrased it the first time I shared it on Facebook … I made sure to explain exactly why I wanted these items and what I planned on using them for! (I also tagged my dad so it would show up on his feed and for his friends on Facebook too). I would also recommend making your post public so that anyone can see it and share it! Now you can even include the hashtag #clearthelist! People from all over have been trying to share and help teachers get the supplies they need for their rooms.
Then, after I received a few books in the mail, I shared another post to say thank you (of course I individually thanked everyone who donated as well!) and attached my link again.
Again, I was absolutely blown away by the generosity of friends, family, and even strangers! I couldn’t be more grateful. I know it’s scary to ask for help…but you may be surprised how willing people are to donate and assist. Give it a shot!
If you’re interested in checking out my list – you can do so here. I still have a few books left and I would be SO grateful for your help
Let me know if you have any questions! Best of luck with your Amazon lists and I hope you give mentor texts a chance as well! I’ll be sure to update you on those as the year goes on! I can’t wait to learn more!