Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Things To Consider
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Things To Consider
"The real trick is to take just a little of advice from professional writers and really put it into practice in one's own writing."

- Lucy Calkins
Lucy Calkins
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First Steps A Shared Path Different Audiences Different Purposes
Usage and Mechanics Providing Feedback on Student Writing Learning from Professional Writers Writing in the 21st Century
  • Like all valuable classroom experiences, connecting young writers with professional authors requires forethought and planning. In addition to guiding students as they read their works, you may want to consider some of these suggestions to help you find ways to facilitate this connection.

  • Some teachers use mentor or mimic texts with their students to give them experience in trying on different voices and styles. In this kind of exercise, students are offered a model text and asked to imitate its structure and language, changing details to relate their own thoughts or experiences.

    Others feel that this technique, while valuable, has some limitations. Amy Tan, for example, said this in an interview for this project:

    "Know the difference between inspiration and imitation or intimidation. What you do, for example, when you read a book like Catcher in the Rye is that you're infused with this excitement that maybe you can capture a part of your adolescence in the same way that J.D. Salinger can, but don't write like J.D. Salinger, you know, find your own voice. You know you can write a story just as compelling as that…as long as you find your own experiences and voice."
    What do you think? Select the answer that most closely reflects your thinking.
        I believe that young writers should write in imitation of mentor texts as part of their experience in learning from professional writers.

        I believe that young writers should use mentor texts as an inspiration, but not as patterns to be imitated.

        I believe that young writers should have experiences in using mentor texts both as imitated patterns and also as inspiration for their work.

  • What other thoughts do you have about mentor texts? Share your ideas and opinions on Channel-Talk.
Transcripts and audio files of interviews with authors who are part of this workshop are available in the Additional Resources for this workshop.

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