Mentor Text: Ideas in Writing

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SWBAT write with focused ideas supported by relevant details.

Big Idea

How can mentor texts help generate ideas for writing ?

Introducing the Mentor Text

20 minutes

       Developing reading and writing connections is the purpose of mentor texts.  Explicit instruction in the organization and structure of writing to express and support ideas impact the quality and flow of student writing.  The anchor standard of writing in Common Core is to write narratives that use effective techniques and well-structured sequence.  This lesson focuses on developing ideas.  Students  The purpose and target audience for your writing affect its structure and organization.

     Students watch a video of ▶ Chrysanthemum.  This is my choice for a mentor book that shows great ideas in writing.  The author demonstrates a great beginning with a circular ending.  Also, the pacing and sequencing of events were lively and not boring.  In addition, the author uses great transitions between one scene to another.  Students and I analyze this story using these elements of effective use of ideas in writing.

     Then, we view the Ideas Flip Chart to discuss in greater detail the components of great ideas in writing.  Planning is essential to implementation of ideas.  So, I introduce a Main Idea Graphic Organizer to plot out ideas visually.

     Using this organizer, I ask students to review Chrysanthemum and discuss the central message of this story.  Once we decide, we graph the main idea or central message on the organizer.  Then, we look for details that support this central theme and plot those onto our organizer as well. By graphically organizing these components, students clearly visualize the structure and organization of main idea and supporting details in a fictional story.

Developing Writing Skills

20 minutes

    Using the graphic organizer, I model a writing sample for students to participate in the process with guidance.  We select a topic or thesis statement based on our story focus or central theme.  I guide students in discussions about stories we read in the past to initiate brainstorming ideas of central themes.  After we select a central theme, which in our case goes back to a story we read, Stone Soup,  about and teamwork or collaboration.  Our thesis statement is:" Teaming together makes the impossible possible,"  Then, we listed supporting details to support this idea.  For example, one student said that he belongs to a little league football team.  Their team used to lose a lot of games until the coach decides to assess each team player's strength and placed them in strategic positions correlating with their athletic abilities.  We drew from his real world experiences to write a fictional story about a football team.  It is backwards planning with the end in mind which is the central message.  Once we completed our work together, students prepare to work in pairs to create their own stories.

     Students work with partners to develop a writing plan that effectively tells about the main ideas and supporting details.  The graphic organizer guides student with this process.  Students use story paper to write and  illustrate a short story using Chrysanthemum as a guide. I distribute a SIX TRAITS WRITING RUBRIC and tell students to focus on the idea section of the rubric to guide their writing.

Sharing our Writing

20 minutes

    Students presented their writing to the class.  After their reading, they took out their Idea graphic organizer and pointed out the main topic and supporting details.  It is helpful for students to show the structure of their writing because it explains the writing process, not just the final product.