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Using Mentor Texts to Teach Voice in Writing

When Carla from Comprehension Connection started her Six Traits Sunday blog posts, I thought it was a great idea!  I love using mentor texts in my classroom for reading and writing.  In fact, some of my best selling Teachers Pay Teachers items are a huge list of mentor texts to teach a variety of reading and writing skills.

One of my favorite picture books for teaching the Voice trait is Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne.

In this book, four characters (gorillas, actually) go to the park with their dogs:  A father and his daughter and a mother and her son.  Each character tells about the trip to the park in their own voice and through their eyes, we see four different perspectives.

This book can spark a great discussion about voice and point-of-view.  It is important that students learn to think of the world in a three-dimensional way; in this book, students can start to understand how others might look at a similar situation.

After hearing this book, students can practice writing a short story from two different perspectives.  Last year, we read the book Bridge to Terabithia and had an amazing class discussion about the way Janice Avery (the bully in the story) treated Jesse and Leslie.  My students had a different feeling about Janice once they learned about her past which explained why Janice treated others the way that she did.

Students can also (as a homework assignment) write about a trip and have their parents tell about the same trip to see how their perspectives differed.

For more mentor texts for the Six Traits of Writing, check out my Mentor Texts for Writing Workshop. Also, be sure to check out Comprehension Connection's blog post to find other ideas for the trait of Voice.

I've Been Nominated for a Liebster Award!

This is very exciting!  I found out that I was nominated by Christie Heiple at 3rdGradeTheatrics.

There are a few rules I must follow.  Here they are:

To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

I nominated:
1. Denise Scaccia at CuteandColorfulCommonCore
2. Jan Bernard at Dragon'sDenCurriculum
3. Sarah OShea at Educasong
5. Pam Olivieri at CommonCoreTeacher

Questions from Christie:
1. When did you know you wanted to be an educator?  I had almost completed earning my Bachelor's of Science degree in Marketing when I saw a special on 20/20 on Marva Collins.  They were revisiting the students in her first class at the school she opened in Chicago.  I was completely moved and knew that I wanted to make a difference in students' lives.  I finished earning my Bachelor's degree in Marketing and earned my Master's of Arts in Early Childhood Education.  It was one of the best decisions I've ever made!
2. What is your favorite classroom memory?  There are many, but one that stands out was in my first year of teaching.  I was teaching third grade in a Title One school.  I had been going over and over the concept of division on the board in as many different ways that I could think of.  We practiced over and over.  Finally, several of my students got really excited and said, "Oh!  Now I get it!!" and I knew they did.  It was a great feeling I will never forget.
3. What is your dream vacation?  I would love to go to Hawaii one day.  
4.  What was your funniest teacher moment?  There are many but one specific moment doesn't come to mind right now. I will have to think about it.  
5. What is your favorite summer activity?  I enjoy summer, but it gets so hot and humid down here in Georgia.  It gets so hot that going to the pool isn't even enjoyable.  I like going to concerts and barbecues.
6. What is your favorite brand of handbags/purses? I love Coach purses.  I also like Kate Spade and Michael Kors.
7. What is your favorite movie?  I don't know that I have a favorite.  I enjoy comedies.  I recently saw The Internship and it was really funny.  I am not a huge fan of animated movies (although I have probably seen them all).  My favorite horror film is the Paranormal Activity movies.
8. What is your favorite children's book?  I LOVE children's books.  One of my favorite ones is See the Ocean by Estelle Condra.  I love Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events.  My favorite picture book author is Chris Van Allsburg.
9. Which holiday, during the school year, do you look forward to the most?  That would be Christmas.  It's a nice long break and I get to spend it with my family.
10. What is your favorite on-the-go snack?  Ice cream is my biggest weakness, but I guess that's not really an "on-the-go" snack.  I enjoy fruit and goldfish.
11. What is one piece of technology that you can't live without?  That is a hard one.  It would be between my iphone or my laptop.  I rely on both of them a lot.  :)

Random Facts About Me:
1. I have ADD (I was diagnosed as an adult).
2. I am very shy (except when I am around kids - and then I am incredibly silly and outgoing).
3. I saw Maroon 5 in March; they are one of my favorite bands.
4. I played softball for many years as a kid.
5.  I am an animal lover.  I have three dogs and a 20 year old cat.
6.  I love brain teasers, word games, and logic puzzles.
7. I saw Rent on Broadway in New York with a few of the original cast members.
8. I used to work at the mall as a survey taker.
9. I love the show Supernatural.
10. I love playing music in my classroom.
11. My favorite subject in school was math.  I hated to read.  Now, my absolute favorite subject in the world to teach is reading.

Here are my 11 questions:
1. What is your favorite book?
2. Do you have a classroom theme?  What is it?
3.  If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?
4.  What is the biggest lesson you've learned as a teacher?
5.  What is your favorite band or musician?
6.  Who has been  your biggest influence as an educator?
7.  What was your favorite subject when you were a kid?
8.  What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
9.  What is the most challenging part about being an educator?
10. Where did you go on your last vacation?
11. Where is your favorite place to shop?

Summer Planning Giveaway (Hosted by I'm Lovin' Lit!

This is a planning giveaway where everyone wins!  Visit I'm Lovin' Lit's page for the details!  This is my blog, where I blog and post about my fourth grade classroom and my love of children's literature.  I have quite a growing collection!  Don't forget to follow me and pick up the secret word!  :)

Visit my store, follow me, and get the secret word!  I am donating my Mentor Texts for Writing Workshop!  It's a great product for you to find literature to teach the six traits of writing and writing genres in grades 3 through 8!

Mentor Texts and Read-Alouds

I don't call my blog "All Four Reading" for nothing!  I am a fourth grade teacher who will (luckily, in my opinion) only be teaching Reading, Writing, and Language Arts this upcoming school year.  I am super-excited as I am so passionate about teaching and instilling a love of reading and writing in my students.

This summer, I have been hard at work updating my Mentor Text List for all Common Core Reading Standards.

 It is currently over 150 pages long!  I have enjoyed researching books.  Using mentor texts in the classroom is one of my favorite things to do as a teacher.  Students are able to notice and learn important reading and writing skills in context, which makes learning much more fun for everyone.

Some of my favorites are:

See the Ocean by Estelle Condra
Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne
The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups by David Wisniewski
Rimshots by Charles Smith, Jr.
Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher

I have also found some great potential read-alouds for my fourth graders.  I want to read them all at once!:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Chew on This by Eric Schlosser

My daughter (a rising 8th grader) has me reading the book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children which is great, but not suitable as a read-aloud for my fourth graders.  I would highly recommend this book for middle and high schoolers, however.  It is full of mystery, suspense, and horror.

So, what will YOU be reading with your class this year?