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Text Structures from the Masters: 50 Lessons and Nonfiction Mentor Texts to Help Students Write Their Way in and Read Their Way Out of Every Single Imaginable Genre, Grades 6-10

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Gretchen Bernabei asks students to derive possible text structures from examining mentor texts. Instead of that one format students are given--the five-paragraph essay--she gives us fifty, and doesn't pretend that's a complete list. She changes the landscape students can work in from one of poverty to one of wonderful excess. She shows us that as writers we are playing a g Gretchen Bernabei asks students to derive possible text structures from examining mentor texts. Instead of that one format students are given--the five-paragraph essay--she gives us fifty, and doesn't pretend that's a complete list. She changes the landscape students can work in from one of poverty to one of wonderful excess. She shows us that as writers we are playing a game with lots of moves. --Thomas Newkirk School writing has nothing to do with my life...If that sounds like your students, then you need this book, because it will prove to your students that writing counts in our world-- and always has. In Text Structures from the Masters, Gretchen Bernabei and Jennifer Koppe provide 50 short texts by famous Americans who put pen to paper driven by what Peter Elbow described as "an itch" to say something. The book includes Sojourner Truth's Speech (itch: join a heated debate), FDR's Pearl Harbor message (itch: pick up the pieces), JFK's inaugural address (itch: give a pep talk) . . . along with 47 more pieces and their explicit purposes. By examining the structure of these mentor texts, students suddenly see that the itch is something they have in their own lives, too! And the 50 companion lessons invite students to use the text structure of each the famous documents to express that itch. Each 4-page lesson includes: A planning sheet that reveals the structure of the mentor text, giving students an X-Ray like device for looking at the piece of writing. Brainstorming boxes that invite students to discover their "itchiest" topic A method for "kernelizing" their own essay--making an outline of what they will write using the text structure as a guide. Student examples of both kernel essays and finished pieces. The bonus? Students report the historical document comes to life as they can see textual map that holds it together--and have used that map themselves. Text Structures from the Masters shows students how writing can help get the work of their lives done. They don't need to be poised to send someone into the battlefield to have the desire to express something to others--just the itch to say it well.


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Gretchen Bernabei asks students to derive possible text structures from examining mentor texts. Instead of that one format students are given--the five-paragraph essay--she gives us fifty, and doesn't pretend that's a complete list. She changes the landscape students can work in from one of poverty to one of wonderful excess. She shows us that as writers we are playing a g Gretchen Bernabei asks students to derive possible text structures from examining mentor texts. Instead of that one format students are given--the five-paragraph essay--she gives us fifty, and doesn't pretend that's a complete list. She changes the landscape students can work in from one of poverty to one of wonderful excess. She shows us that as writers we are playing a game with lots of moves. --Thomas Newkirk School writing has nothing to do with my life...If that sounds like your students, then you need this book, because it will prove to your students that writing counts in our world-- and always has. In Text Structures from the Masters, Gretchen Bernabei and Jennifer Koppe provide 50 short texts by famous Americans who put pen to paper driven by what Peter Elbow described as "an itch" to say something. The book includes Sojourner Truth's Speech (itch: join a heated debate), FDR's Pearl Harbor message (itch: pick up the pieces), JFK's inaugural address (itch: give a pep talk) . . . along with 47 more pieces and their explicit purposes. By examining the structure of these mentor texts, students suddenly see that the itch is something they have in their own lives, too! And the 50 companion lessons invite students to use the text structure of each the famous documents to express that itch. Each 4-page lesson includes: A planning sheet that reveals the structure of the mentor text, giving students an X-Ray like device for looking at the piece of writing. Brainstorming boxes that invite students to discover their "itchiest" topic A method for "kernelizing" their own essay--making an outline of what they will write using the text structure as a guide. Student examples of both kernel essays and finished pieces. The bonus? Students report the historical document comes to life as they can see textual map that holds it together--and have used that map themselves. Text Structures from the Masters shows students how writing can help get the work of their lives done. They don't need to be poised to send someone into the battlefield to have the desire to express something to others--just the itch to say it well.

36 review for Text Structures from the Masters: 50 Lessons and Nonfiction Mentor Texts to Help Students Write Their Way in and Read Their Way Out of Every Single Imaginable Genre, Grades 6-10

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Knight

    I can't wait to use these text structures in my classroom. I can't wait to use these text structures in my classroom.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    On one hand, I like the concept of the book: use mentor texts from history to teach writing structures and have kids mimic the structure with writing on their own topic. Realistically, I don't think I'll ever be able to use these lessons in my class. My curriculum is pretty specific and packed for the school year, and I'm not able to do "free-writing" like this. If I taught Writer's Workshop and had more flexibility, I could maybe use it then. I also think a lot of kids would struggle with the r On one hand, I like the concept of the book: use mentor texts from history to teach writing structures and have kids mimic the structure with writing on their own topic. Realistically, I don't think I'll ever be able to use these lessons in my class. My curriculum is pretty specific and packed for the school year, and I'm not able to do "free-writing" like this. If I taught Writer's Workshop and had more flexibility, I could maybe use it then. I also think a lot of kids would struggle with the reading of the mentor text and with coming up with ideas for their own essays using the structure. When I first came across Gretchen Bernabei's books I got really excited and ready many of them, but I'm realizing that I'm not able to implement many ideas of her ideas into my class.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Syd L

    This isn't a book you read so much as you reference it. It is chock-full of lessons that you can directly apply to your teaching as well as many ways to adapt them to be used for a variety of different subjects, learners, ages, and purposes. I started using Bernabei's kernel essay method last semester, and I had the kids write one based on the Declaration of Independence on our first day back this year. It is impressive how quickly and willingly kids get their ideas on paper using this method. T This isn't a book you read so much as you reference it. It is chock-full of lessons that you can directly apply to your teaching as well as many ways to adapt them to be used for a variety of different subjects, learners, ages, and purposes. I started using Bernabei's kernel essay method last semester, and I had the kids write one based on the Declaration of Independence on our first day back this year. It is impressive how quickly and willingly kids get their ideas on paper using this method. This also provides students with plenty of choices for organizing their essays, and I am trying to move towards that as I push my students to understand that it doesn't matter how they are organized, as long as they are organized.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    A good collection of one-page mentor texts from American history (mostly) that focuses on organization. By dissecting the mentor text to expose structure, students have a template around which to organize their own writing. Quite useful. It is a bit strange to me that each 'sample' uses a template, filled in with specifics from each sample, but the book doesn't have a BLANK copy of that same template, which would be handy if a teacher wishes to expand beyond the 50 samples offered here. A good collection of one-page mentor texts from American history (mostly) that focuses on organization. By dissecting the mentor text to expose structure, students have a template around which to organize their own writing. Quite useful. It is a bit strange to me that each 'sample' uses a template, filled in with specifics from each sample, but the book doesn't have a BLANK copy of that same template, which would be handy if a teacher wishes to expand beyond the 50 samples offered here.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I am super excited to break free from teaching formulaic writing and use these text structures instead! Will add to this review after I have used it in the field.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbie Birnbaum

  7. 4 out of 5

    L. P.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Travis

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley LaCroix

  10. 5 out of 5

    Della Collins

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  12. 5 out of 5

    christinemm

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ashlee

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jared

  17. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bloodorange

  19. 5 out of 5

    Abbey Kalman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Tang

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rasha

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sounjalynne Mata

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nora

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aungpao Krap

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annie Palmer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

  30. 5 out of 5

    Terri

  31. 5 out of 5

    Anass

  32. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  33. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  34. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

  35. 5 out of 5

    Penny Zang

  36. 4 out of 5

    Blyth Swartsfager

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