Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Using In November as a Mentor Text for Pattern Poetry

One of the many things that I like about using mentor texts is that I can often use one book and get more "bang for my buck" by relating it to both reading and writing in the same lesson.  I integrate reading and writing on most days because the lines between the two are often blurred in the "real world". We read for pleasure, but we also read as a writer and write as a reader.  A few weeks ago, I was teaching a mini-lesson on using imagery and descriptive language in writing. We were learning how using imagery that creates, paints a picture in the reader's mind makes our own writing more interesting and makes what we read more fun and enjoyable. I used Cynthia Rylant's In November as a mentor text.

After we read the story once and enjoyed and soaked in Rylant's beautiful poetic description of November, we then went back to take a close look at the sensory imagery she used.  We  found examples and recorded them on this graphic organizer:

Then, I gave the challenge of having us write a poem { not a story or a paragraph} of our favorite season or month. We used another copy of the same organizer to brainstorm specific images about our topic.  I chose autumn and my son chose the month of January (his birthday month!) as the topics of our poems.

Next, was drafting time.  I created a structured form {see above}for writing the first draft.  The form of the poem is really like a "list poem" and uses Rylant's In November as a model for my take on a pattern poetry task.

I shared my final copy as a model and as an example (I also worked along side my son as I always do with writing, going through each step of the writing process).

And below is my 8 year old's final copy which he wanted to type and use a fancy border!  He was very proud of his writing, which was really a stretch for him to use such descriptive images!

If you would like the printables for this lesson, click the pic below to download them from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

I'm linking up with HoJo's Teaching Adventures.  Click the pic below to visit her site to find more elementary resources!


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  1. Yea - I have a new book to check out! Is it sad that I had never heard of this one? Thank you for the link back to my first Teaching Tuesday link up party. I hope to see you back each week!
    ~Heather aka HoJo~

    1. Heather- Thanks for the opportunity to link up and for stopping by! Don;t feel bad, I just discovered the book quite by accident a few months ago at the library! It's a beautiful tapestry of words that captures November perfectly! :-) Lauren

  2. Hi Lauren,

    I've always enjoyed this book. I really love how you write WITH your son. What a rich experience for you both. :) Thanks for sharing.

    :) Shelley

    The Write Stuff Teaching

    1. Hi Shelley- I have always found that writing with my students helps me to be a better teacher and authentically models the process. Thanks so much for stopping by! Lauren


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