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September 10, 2013

Tried it Tuesday: Mentor Sentences

Last year when I first heard about Mentor Sentences I was a little nervous about using it.  It was different than the normal DOL that I have done for the past decade...  I tend to get in a rut, and then it's hard to step outside my comfort zone.

I guess Pinterest and blogging and blogland have opened my eyes to all the different ways to tackle the same skills though and this past month of school my class has been LOVING it.  They are engaged and actively participating.

I think it's because it all revolves around a picture book, and even big kids love to be read to.  :)
Mentor Sentence Units Bundle
We are using Jivey's Mentor Sentence units - we are on week 5, and we are getting into the routine.  I do it almost exactly like Jivey has it written down.

This week the book is The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein.  It's based on a true story, which the kids think is so cool.

Monday - We read the book, write the mentor sentence in their spiral notebooks (skipping lines), and then we brainstorm all the "special" things they notice.  There is also a discussion in there about the text, using our reading strategies... two birds with one stone kind of moment.
Here's my example.  Yes, I know this isn't the 5th week story - but with 9/11 coming up I was informed  that it was the story to help make connections with the twin towers since these kids that are in my classroom weren't born back then... 
Tuesday - We will get out our notebooks again, and label the sentence.  I let them use colored pencils - they get a kick out of it - circling each word and writing the different parts of speech. 

Wednesday - We change up the verb to a synonym and brainstorm another possible sentence with the same details full class.  We then also complete Thursday's lesson that same day, with coming up with their own example.  Then we share.

Jivey has assessments included, though this past month I haven't used them.  We were getting into the routine of it all.  Since grades are now going full force though, the kiddos will be getting a little quiz starting this week.

Here's how I have it set up:

I have the first unit in a colorful one inch binder.  I still need to print out the other 2 units... but I'm not there yet, and we all know that the beginning of the year to do list is way too long to worry about it now.  

Inside I have the different stories divided up with file folder dividers.  She has the sentence (written huge for kids to see) so it's easy to print out and write on.  I'm trying to save copies though, so I have the sentences hole punched in my book and I have my own spiral that the kids copy to write down the sentence in.  I also use the document camera to show off the book, and we do everything using it.    

I highly recommend this product.  I can't say enough how wonderful I think it is.  It has definitely changed my viewpoint of teaching grammar.

Buying the books that goes with it has been the most challenging of it all - but between my teammate (she bought the product too), our school library, and good ol' Amazon, it really is quite simple.  An investment definitely worth it!

Do you use Mentor Sentences in your classroom?

Linking up with Holly and Tried it Tuesday.


  1. Hooray! I'm so glad this has been helpful to you!! :o) Thank you soooo much for the feature! xoxo

  2. Thanks for sharing how you use mentor sentences in your classroom - I can't wait to get started - I am hoping for next week :). I like your idea of using the document camera to display the sentence.

  3. I am hoping to start Mentor Sentences next week! We are finally getting into our other routines. Thanks for sharing how it works for you.

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  4. I have read a lot about using mentor sentences, and I'm going to give it a try. I appreciate how clearly you explained your example. That was very helpful.

    Thank you!

    Fit to be Fourth
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  5. I've been using them with my 4th & 5th graders, and they love them! We are getting so much more accomplished than any other way I've taught grammar in the past. Jivey is a genius for sure!!

  6. I just started using the Mentor sentences this week. I love it. So glad I took the plunge.

    Quinnessential Lessons

  7. I just started these too and LOVE them! Don't know what I would do with out Jivey and her Mentor Sentences!

    I {Heart} Recess

  8. I have these too and can't wait to get started! I was aiming for this week but think I will have to start next week since it is already Thursday tomorrow! lol. Everything takes so long at the beginning of the year but these are wonderful! My school librarian is getting some of the book on interlibrary loan for me. :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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