21 Mar Slice of Life: Creating Connections Between Units of Study with Mentor Texts #SOL17
We have been spending time planning curriculum units with grade level teams of teachers. We are thinking a lot about mentor texts and how we can use certain texts or crafts to create bridges between the units of study throughout the year. We don’t want our students to think one type of writing ends and another begins. We want them to notice what is similar and different about each type of writing. We also want to create some flexibility in the curriculum maps in case we need more time in one unit or in case we have six snow days! When we think about the connections between the units it creates space for us to navigate a journey that is meaningful and responsive.
One team is currently studying informational text with their students. They are spending some extra time in this unit because they are integrating it with their science standards. Their next unit of study is poetry and, given the snow days, we are a bit concerned about time. Rather than thinking about how we can squeeze it all in… we look to mentor texts.
There are many poets who write informational poems – poems that have facts and teach you about a topic. What if we ended the information unit by having students study informational poetry and invite them to write “All About” books or informational poems? This would give the teachers the time they need to uncover the content in science and let students connect what they are learning to the genre of poetry.
Here are some books of informational poems we found to use as mentor texts:
As we looked through these books we saw many connections for craft moves between poetry and informational writing– strong images, descriptive words, comparisons, and bold words. This is a win win! Students will get the opportunity to not only choose a topic to write about, they can choose what they want to do with their idea – an all-about book or a poem. We love it when books help us work smarter not harder… and the kids get choice and have fun at the same time!