Looking to benefit from mentor sentences and interactive notebook activities, perhaps together?
My students and I discuss grammar as a natural extension with literature and nonfiction – normally by pulling sentences from stories, or mentor sentences.
When I teach high school students, I often let them find the mentor sentences. They see more value in choosing what to study, and this provides a fast way for differentiation.
When I taught middle school, I gave more guidance when choosing mentor sentences but still encouraged students to help in choosing.
When I teach grammar with my own children, I choose sentences for them because they are in primary school.
No matter the grade level, using interactive pieces for studying mentor sentences has proven effective for me.
(For reference, my son is in fourth grade, and he is fanatical about the Percy Jackson series. We modeled these interactive notebook pieces together using mentor sentences that we pulled from the first book.) If you are interested in grammar activities I made for Ty a few years ago, you may want to read elementary grammar lessons.
These interactive notebook pieces in the pictures below will work for any novel or short story, though.
When using mentor sentences with interactive notebook pieces, I have observed the following benefits:
Provide Student Choice
Students can choose what they want to study. I can choose a general topic, such as verb voice – and then students can decide how many active and passive voice verbs to find. Either way, the students provide a choice in choosing what to study.
Of course, I do guide what students should study. Students appreciate when I say, “tell me your favorite part.” Students can then find a sentence to study from that section.
Take for example one interactive piece that says “sentence” and “page number.” Teachers may choose a host of possibilities: ask students to find action or linking verbs, simple sentences, or subjects and verbs. Study any grammar concept that certain student needs to practice.
Right now when I study with son (he is ten), I work on parts of speech. As we continue studying grammar together, we can use the same pieces to study verbals, types of sentences, and more.
Study Any Story
Currently, my son studies grammar with me as after-school practice. Percy Jackson, perfect!
All of the sentences spark interesting discussions because he obsesses over this series. Most recently, he debated that the term “half-blood” should be a proper noun because it is frequently used as a name. I showed him that the author chose not to capitalize it. I appreciate that he sees fascinating characters and thrilling plots from a different perspective by studying the language.
Study Any Grammatical Concept
Just as these interactive notebook pieces will work with any story, feel free to use these to study any grammatical concept. The pieces have pre-made labels for parts of speech, parts of a sentence, verbals, phrases, verb voice, clauses, and types of sentences. I know that teachers need diversity, and blank ones are included.
Use Without Notebooks
The pieces of this are large. With the exception of making small cuts on the flaps, students could use these pieces without inserting them into a notebook. Sometimes, I ask my older students to use these as a quick extension activity to close a story – no notebook required.
Any time I can give my students choice, I try to do so because they are happier.
Any time I can differentiate grammar, I am happy.
These activities blend those two goals into meaningful mentor sentence activities.
Mentor sentences and interactive notebook pieces together, please?! The possibilities are endless, and they work well for both students and teachers.