Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Using Mentor Texts with Apps from The Writing Fix

Welcome to iTeach Second's Techy Tuesday.  I'm Carla from Comprehension Connection.  I'm so glad to be a part of such a great blog. I'm a reading specialist in Virginia, and we are not a Common Core state.  However, the ideas I share will work no matter where you live.  Today, I thought I'd share information about my favorite writing website.  I have shared it with my colleagues and student teachers, and it has been new to many, so I thought it'd be helpful to those visiting our blog.

Do you enjoy working on writing with your students? Do you love having everything ready for you step by step? I bet the answer is yes to both questions, so let's get started in walking through what it has to offer. You can begin by opening up Writing Fix as you read this post.

Step #1
On the top left corner, you'll see the site menu.  Select Mentor Text Lessons.  Then, you can head to the section dedicated to kindergarten to grade 2.  When you have extra time, you can read up on how the project got started and about the contributors. It is a growing site, and new mentor text lessons are added all the time. If you have rock star writing lessons you've done, by all means, submit them!  If not, then learn from the rock stars like I have.  

Step #2
Now it is time to think about the type of writing you'd like your students to practice and which literature you have available.  Writing Fix follows the Six Traits of Writing which is how I discovered it.  A few years ago, I ran a weekly Six Traits Sunday linky where mentor texts were shared, and I discovered it as I prepared my posts.  Since then, I have enjoy utilizing the many apps, organizers, and anchor papers it includes.  

For this post, I chose to use the book, I Wanna Iguana.  This book is perfect for introducing persuasive writing, and I am quite sure your students in the middle grades will be the kings and queens of persuasion.  In case you do not have this book on hand, here is a video clip you can use. 

Step #3
After sharing the book, it's time for shared writing and modeling. It is very possible this is your students first attempt at persuasion, so working on word choice as you model is key. This teacher provides a word bank on the planner she made, and I think that's such a great way to scaffold assignments for your struggling readers who may have words in their head, but are unable to spell them. It will also help your students learn the "power words".  (as if they aren't persuasive already, right??)  
With the lesson plan, the teacher supplies anchor papers from her students, writing checklists, and the organizer she made for the students. Here is a preview of the planner she used.  Notice that she gives the students sentence frames which really helps struggling kids too.  

Step #4
Once your students have their writing plan ready, they're set to begin drafting a persuasive letter to the person they've chosen as the audience.  Audience is important as the language we choose (word choice) varies depending on whether we're talking to someone formally or our friend.  The author of this lesson shares a few sample papers that others can use as anchor papers.  I often post the samples up for students to evaluate.  They are quite perceptive with writing others have done, but overlook errors of their own.  As you can see, there is a clear topic sentence, supporting details, and a "call to action".  

Step #5
Once rough drafts are done, teachers can work through the revising/proofreading/publishing states to help kids work on word choice and/or organization.  

Just to give you an idea of what the options are on The Writing Fix, here is a bibliography list. It is linked to the bibliography on The Writing Fix, so I hope you'll check it out to see which of your favorite titles made the list.  
One writing prompt my students had a great time with earlier this year dealt with Superheroes and super powers.  I read two books to my group to build ideas before we began writing, Bumblebee Boy and Randy Riley's Really Big Hit to brainstorm ideas.
Product Details  
Then, we used this writing set as a follow up.  You may find that the lines are a bit narrow for second graders, but hopefully, you can supplement with handwriting paper if needed.  

Superhero Writing Freebie

Thanks for visiting today, and have a fantastic week. Until next time, happy reading!


  1. What a fantastic writing resource! I already plan on using ideas from Writing Fix with my second graders and I'm excited to take time to really look through the site. Thank you for sharing this! ~ Lisa

  2. I can't wait to try this out. Thanks so much for sharing! :)