Monday, March 5, 2012

Mentor Sentences Rock!

For two years Jeff Anderson's book on my shelf had been a fleeting thought, a quick resource for a short grammar activity. Without knowing how to make his ideas work, I resorted to the daily grammar warm ups like others in my school and everywhere. Still, though, I wondered how I would make the grammar in context work, but I couldn't quite get it, since I had never seen it.  

After spending a day with Jeff Anderson at a conference, his idea of mentor sentence warm ups for grammar clicked, and I let go of the suffocating shackles of skill and drill non-contextual grammar instruction. The next day I removed those shackles from my ankles, and moved forward with mentor sentences. Letting go of that boring, trite, and tiresome grammar practice was like dumping a bad boyfriend.  

What do we do now?
We notice what real authors do.
We compare and contrast the writing of published authors and the teacher.
We create our own mentor sentences.
We edit real writing.
We transfer our knowledge to our own writing---IT'S AMAZING!

Breaking into verse...

I am free to be me, 
free to play with
free to celebrate
free to foster
free to promote 
free to engage
free to let learning 
free to let students
share their own knowledge,
free to share my own 
free to celebrate 
student writing,
free to keep 
it real,
free to build the bridge 
that transfers to real learning,
free to be

Thanks to Jeff Anderson. Mentor sentences rock!


  1. Sounds really interesting. I will have to check out Jeff Anderson and mentor sentences! Thanks!

  2. Jeff Anderson is brilliant and fun to listen to, isn't he? I saw him speak and nearly burst into tears because it was the first time I had felt good to be a teacher in so long! He is joyful.

  3. You removed the shackles, I love that! I encourage teachers to do this but they don't believe mentor sentences can make a difference. I need to refer them to your post.


Thanks for reading my writing and sharing your thoughts with me.