Happy New Year! - Room 213

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year,  everyone!  I hope you had a restful holiday and are looking forward to 2015.

I don't usually make resolutions, but this year I am.  The first is that I have to start exercising more regularly (I know, me and many, many others...).  I used to exercise at least three times a week, but this year I got into a rut, and it hasn't been good.  So, I'm making a commitment to myself that I will get off the couch and start moving every day.

My other resolution is a professional one.  I'd like to try some new things in my classroom, ones that will cause me to stretch outside my comfort zone.  When you have been teaching for over two decades (writing that makes me feel so old!),  it is easy to fall into doing what you've always done--because it works.  It's all about those ruts, folks. But, just as my pants are getting too tight because of my fitness rut, my lessons are getting tight as well.  They just don't feel good anymore; I'm no longer comfortable, and it's time to make a change.  I know what I am doing now works, mostly, but with what I've learned in the last year, I also know that if can be better.  I plan to blog about my journey, so you will hear all about my successes and failures!

One of the first things I am going to try is using mentor sentences.  I love the idea of showing kids good models, and I always have with writing assignments.  But, with mechanics, I have been just using the worksheet--teaching them a grammar rule and then having them correct sentences that contain that error.  I've been reading a lot about the use of mentor sentences (mostly with younger grades) and am working on some lessons and products for high school students.

So, as you head back to school for the new year, I hope you go back ready to stretch and grow too!

Congratulations to Janie Fahey, new follower, and winner of $25 dollars of product from my TpT store.  Send me an email, Janie, at room213custom@gmail.com.


  1. Jackie,
    The article "Making the Most of Mentor Texts" by Kelly Gallagher has some good info on mentor sentences at the secondary level. It was a recommended reading in the online course I took on writing and the Common Core that I have been blogging about. I love the idea of mentor texts (and sentences). It is such a great was to teach students to read and think like writers.
    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven

  2. Yes, I love Kelly Gallgher. He and Penny Kittle are full of great ideas.

  3. There is a great resource for mentor sentences that the kids love. We've used it in fourth through eighth at our school. The books are called Caught'ya books. It's an ongoing story and we usually complete a sentence a day with a quiz on Fridays. Here's the link for one of them on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Caughtya-Grammar-Giggle-Middle-School/dp/0929895886/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1420380612&sr=8-8&keywords=grammar+book+for+middle+school
    I've been using mentor sentences from our mentor texts with my fourth graders over the last 2 years and have seen a huge improvement in the carryover of mechanics into their writing.
    Are We There Yet?


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