A Teacher to Student or Student to Student Feedback Strategy
After our Feedback training, I noticed many questions in the agenda about mentor texts. So, I wanted to dive a little deeper into this technique.
A mentor text is any text that a teacher uses to exemplify and teach a writing strategy or concept.
- Mentor texts can be written by professional authors, or can be revised student exemplars.
- Mentor texts can be used to teach writing skills (like the 6 traits of writing) or mechanics/grammar.
- Mentor texts can be from any genre and can be literary or informational.
- Teachers can use the entire mentor text or just a small part of it during instruction.
When a teacher uses a mentor text to show students what is expected, that is teacher to student feedback. When revised student work is used as a mentor text, that is a student to student feedback strategy.
Here are some videos:
This is a great introduction to mentor texts. The second half of the video, she talks through popular texts that can be used as mentor texts for specific skills or concepts.
This video shows the use of mentor text to teach one specific grammar rule (adding -ed to past tense verbs).
This is a longer video without HD quality, but it is worth the time to view it. It shows a complete mini-lesson on 6th grade narrative writing. The teacher uses a mentor text to help students revise ending to narrative pieces. This video is also a good example of partnering during large group instruction.
Finally, here are a few more helpful links:
- Scholastic resources with 6 traits of writing. You can click on each of the 6 traits and find a detailed list of books that can be used as mentor texts for that trait and suggestions for using them: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/mentor-texts-traits-writing
- For those of you on Pinterest, this board is one of the most complete I could find on mentor texts: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/mentor-texts/
I love using mentor texts. In fact, my entire 9th grade short story unit was designed around them. During the unit, kids read several short stories that exemplified various writing techniques (unreliable narrator, irony, unusual setting, etc). Then, during the final project, kids choose one technique to work on in their own writing. During this process, they also accessed mentor texts from other students: short stories from previous years that were exceptional. However, mentor text are absolutely not just for Language Arts. They can be employed anytime you want to show kids an expert example of a specific type of writing.
Do you use mentor texts in your class? Feel free to share your ideas below.