Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lauching Writing Workshop: Mentor Texts!

Because I love finding writing mentor texts, I'm linking up with Amanda & Stacia at Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Mentor Text linky party! It's hard being a fifth grade teacher sometimes... there are so many wonderful writing mentor texts but often the younger grade level teachers snatch those up! Owl Moon, The Relatives Came, Fireflies, Amelia's Journal and The Dot... have all been gobbled up by fourth grade teachers. Ugh. I love my fourth grade teacher friends but save some good ones for us too! But, I was tired of rehashing fourth grade with my fifth graders! So, last year, I was on a mission to find new resources that would help with our heavy nonfiction writing curriculum and launch my workshop... hence, my {new} favorites for launching workshop.

I found Stuck last summer at a literacy workshop I attended. I instantly fell in love with the pictures and concept of the book! It's about a boy who gets his kite stuck in a tree. So, he tries everything he can think of to get his kite down but everything he tries seemingly gets the kite MORE stuck! Until... well, I can't ruin the ending for you!

I use this book to teach about writer's block. I let my students know that sometimes, you're just stumped or stuck and that's okay. It's all about how you deal with your problem. The boy in the book never gives up, although he does get frustrated, it's all about using your schema and strategies to help you solve your problem. After reading, my students brainstormed all the different strategies they use to help themselves get "unstuck" while writing. Love, love, love this book!

Not a Box was an Amazon recommendation for me. At first, I was like, really Amazon? You gotta do better than that! But alas, Amazon knows me better than I know myself. Before grabbing a copy, I checked it out from the public library! It's a super creative book. The rabbit in the story does everything he can to prove that the square is NOT A BOX. I kin this book to The Dot or Ish. There is also a sequel called Not a Stick. The rabbit comes up with clever rebuttals when ever someone asks "Why are you sitting in a box?" It's a short read that's great for teaching about creativity, imagination, or point of view. It's a good text to have handy for fiction or even non-fiction writing.

Don't forget to link up your favorites with Amanda & Stacia! 

How do you start your Writing Workshop? Any favorite must-have-in-my-cart-and-on-my-shelf titles?



  1. Hi Amanda,
    I am not familiar with Stuck- looks like a winner, especially in first grade when learning to read can seem overwhelming for some students.
    I love Not a Box, and didn't know there was a sequel!! I must check it out.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  2. Oh wow! Two books that I have never heard of!! I am going to have to check these out for sure! And I know exactly what you mean about the younger grades taking all of the good books! I feel like the third grade teachers do that to us too! (probably because we used to teach 3rd and we all worked together)! I love learning about new books (although my bank account doesn't love it so much!)!

    Thanks so much for linking up!!
    Collaboration Cuties

  3. I love your suggestion for Stuck as a mentor text for writer's block - a very common problem for my reluctant writers. I will add that one to my Amazon cart.

    Thank you! (Hopefully, the fifth grade teachers at my school won't mind if I grab another one.)


  4. I love Not a Box! I haven't used it in class, but I did give it to my nephew for his birthday!

  5. Those look like great books! I wonder if the Grade 5 teachers will be mad if I buy them...
    Grade 4 Buzz

  6. Stuck is such a cute book-- I actually haven't used it in my classroom yet, but read it with my little niece. I think I'll be getting my own copy this year to add to my classroom library though!
    Aylin :)
    Learning to the Core

  7. Thanks for the great suggestions - I think I will be using Stuck this year :)

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