Mentor Text: 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore

Writer’s Workshop has taken over my school and my district and I’M LOVIN’ IT!  This soooo fits the way I teach and it is just thrilling to be able to use great mentor texts to model the best in writing.

I’ve decided that I’m going to set the bar high for myself and try to get in ONE BLOG PER WEEK on great mentor texts.  (Ok…that’s a pretty high bar and I’m pretty out-of-shape when it comes to blogging…I’ll admit I’m a slacker!  But I’ll give this a go and see where this goal leads me!)

So…enough pontificating…I’m ready to share!

17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter is one of my all-time favorite books for so many reasons.  What’s not to love about this book?  Great illustrations combined with some great retro mixed-media and an extremely imaginative main character make this book a natural read aloud.  (I know, I know…you aren’t supposed to read a mentor text in its’ entirety during a mini-lesson…but your students will be so intrigued that you’ll need to share the whole darned thing!  Really…it’s that engaging!)
Here are a few ideas I have for using this book for Writer’s Workshop:
  • Idea generating:  Every house and school has rules.  Heck…if I blow up a balloon at home and start batting it around with my son, we have a well-developed list of rules in a matter of seconds! I have my students write a list of things they aren’t allowed to do.  My favorite?  “I’m not allowed to pee on my sister’s toothbrush anymore.”  TMI  🙂
  • Capitalization:  The authors take a little bit of liberty with capitalization.  My kids catch these “errors” quickly and a quick and necessary mini-lesson on mechanics is born!
  • Show, don’t tell:  “I had an idea to give my brother the gift of cauliflower.”  “I’m not allowed to give the gift of cauliflower anymore.”  The pictures in this book are worth a thousand words.  How can we “paint” a picture using words and not drawings or graphics?  
Do you use 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore with your students?  If so, how do you use this book with your students?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Update for April 9, 2013:  I went back to this mentor text and linked it up with the gals over at Collaboration Cuties…check out some other great mentor texts that others have shared!

Make a wonderful week!
Nikki

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