Making Meaning with Melissa shares the Best of the Best ELA Lesson

As a teacher, don't you love planning a lesson that just blows the students away?  When it just works?  A lesson that is challenging, relevant, and rigorous. A lesson where the kids are engaged, learning, and having fun. When this happens, life is good!  

As a teacher, don't you also know that these lessons don't happen daily? 

Today, we should celebrate our successes, so I'm joining with my friend Secondary Sara, as well as some other fantastic English teachers to show you the Best of the Best, giving you some ideas that you can try tomorrow.

I'm sure that you've heard of primary teachers who use mentor sentences and texts to help their young students learn how to become writers.  But did you know that Mentor Sentences and texts work wonders with older students, too?  For over a decade, I've been using Mentor Sentences to help students improve their writing and I'm convinced that it creates strong writers who take ownership and pride in their work.  And look who agrees:

To see how I use Mentor Sentences in my high school English classes, you should check out this post.  Never a fan of traditional drill and kill grammar instruction, I struggled to find ways to teach important writing skills in a way that would have direct transfer to their writing.  With my resource, students learn one sentence pattern a week, practicing it daily until it becomes second nature.  Not only do I offer strong mentors when I teach the lessons, I also provide stimulus pictures to help my reluctant writers to get started. Additionally, we look for examples in texts we're reading, giving students more practice and a greater buy-in.  The best part about this method is that students are able to incorporate new sentence patterns into their writing for English class, but also for every other class, too.

For years, I've dutifully photocopied my mini-books for students, giving them a handheld resource that they could hold onto forever.  And it still works. But, then I got a class set of chromebooks, and I knew that I could adapt my favorite lessons to incorporate technology.  

Now, instead of holding onto a mini-book, students are able to store all their lessons in the Google drive, accessing them whenever and wherever they need to.  Plus, they can type directly into the files, adding additional practice pages as needed. And let's be honest, what teenager doesn't like doing their work online? 

Both versions are available in my Teachers Pay Teaches store here, and you can even purchase the Mega Mega bundle which includes the paper and digital versions to meet all your needs.  Did I mention that they're also on sale now through November 2?

In all the years I've been teaching (17!), I've not found any other lesson that has the immediate results that Mentor Sentences do. These lessons just work, and I really hope that you decide to give them a try.  You won't regret it!


  1. I love the way that you incorporate mentor sentences into your daily classroom instruction. It is such a great way to help students not only become stronger writers, but also shows them another layer of analyzing sections of a text. Thank you so much for sharing these awesome tips! I'm definitely going to add this to teacher toolkit! :)

  2. Using mentor sentences is such a great strategy for helping students improve their writing. This resource looks like it is filled with great content. I especially love how you have a Google version too!

  3. wonderful article. Thanks for sharing


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