Using mentor texts is important in teaching How To writing. Throughout many lessons, I used mentor texts to help guide my instruction. Together as a class, we found many examples such as BOLD words, listing the items you need, or giving warnings or hints to the reader. My students became experts in using the mentor texts during the writing time. I would set out all the texts on a table and students would visit the table to help them with their writing ideas.
Zev looking at mentor text How To Make a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich.
This anchor chart guided the students to include the following in their How To Writing:
- A Title
- Pictures that teach
- List of things you need
- Important information in BOLD
- Warning or advice to the reader
We also learned how to use transition words in our How To Writing. I made these BOLD, large cards and we practiced putting them in the correct order. Then I place the transition words in the student's writing area to for my students to have as a support.
Emily is writing how to make lemonade. She is using her writing tools such as her black pen, spacer, date stamp, ABC chart and vowel chart to guide her in her writing.
Madeline is making an ice cream sundae!
Writers label their pictures to tell the reader what items they need for their How To.
I am finding as I get more acquainted with Writer's Workshop that the more creative I get with my lessons the better it comes across to my students. For example, in my labeling lesson I gave every student a post it note and had them go back to their desk and write a label for me! One by one they came up and stuck their label on me. They started to giggle and they enjoyed seeing their teacher covered in labels. As you can see above, this lesson stuck with them!