Flip Flops, Beach Chairs, and Teaching with Mentor Texts

Jun 3, 2016

Happy Summer!!  This time of year is wonderful because the sun can recharge us, our brains can reset, and we can continue to grow as teachers.  The link up today is all about great summer texts that can be used to teach different skills.  Even though I am not teaching for the next few months, I know that I like to use summer texts as we return to school in August.  It is a fun way for the students to reflect upon their summer vacation.   As I was thinking about summer books that lend themselves to be used as mentor texts, Summer Beat came to mind right away.

It is a simple text that describes a summer day for two friends, Emily and Joe.  Each page illustrates one event from their day: skateboarding, playing in the sprinkler, grilling out, watching fireworks, etc.  Each page includes sound words or an onomatopoeia for the different activities that they are involved in.  These words are not just part of the written text, but they are a part of the illustrations. Here are a couple examples:

Immediately, I thought about the support that this text could give to our illustration unit during writer's workshop.  Last summer, Maria and I, spent time reorganizing and rethinking the order of our writing units.  As we tried it out this year, we found that the illustration unit was a great addition because it helped to build oral storytelling and language in our students.  And these are much needed skills.

Students started off by drawing some illustrations and adding details to these pictures.  They would then orally tell a story about their picture.  This would then progress into a series of images to orally tell a story and then by the end of the unit students are adding words to tell their story.

Some students are more hesitate to add words than others.  This can be for a variety of reasons and many times language skills are involved.  But Summer Beat is a great mentor text to help my students begin adding words to their stories.  And for the students that are already comfortable writing words, it is a great mentor text to help students start adding some detail to their text.

This freebie can help to support students at the different stages of the writing spectrum.  Each page requires students to add an onomatopoeia to an image.  There is also room for them to writing about the picture.  The first page of the packet has several summer images on it.  Students are to write a sound word for each picture.  This can be done in a creative way!

There are three pages that have summer photographs on them.  Students can write the sound words on the photo and room is provided for them to write about the story.  There are also two summer scenes for the students to draw their own activities within.  Then they can add detail to their text with an onomatopoeia!  The final page is a blank frame for students that are ready to draw their own illustration and add writing with sound words.

This freebie includes a lot of variety with the hope that it can help to support the wide variety of learners in your classroom!  To grab this freebie, please click on the image below.


I hope your summer is off to a great start (or will be soon!)  If you cannot use this lesson during the summer months, I hope you find it helpful as school begins again.  Please be sure to enter the giveaway!  And hop through the links below to learn about more great summer mentor texts!

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  1. I love this!!! I feel like there isn't a whole lot out there that covers onomatopoeia and this is just perfect :) Thank you for the wonderful ideas!

    The Techie Teacher

  2. This will be perfect to use with my second grade group who has a hard time with onomatopoeia! They will really enjoy it! Thanks for sharing!!


  3. Great post. Hard to find activities like this with onomatopoeia.


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