Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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!



  1. I just found a new book for my wishlist :) I love reading about how teachers teach during writer's workshop. Thanks for sharing!
    Learning In Wonderland

  2. Thanks for checking in here at my blog Maribel! One of the niftiest things about posting ideas for great books is that, sometimes, you might just give a friend a great idea! I'm glad you stopped by ad would love to invite you to stop back next week for more ideas and inspiration! Have a wonderful week!

    Nikki :)

  3. Hey Nikki! Love that I can steal your ideas! You are awesome and a true inspiration! Just wondering if you also use Readers workshop because I started doing that when I switched schools! I absolutely love Readers workshop and wonder why it took me so long to try it! I have all our books in our classroom color coded by their lexiles. The students love it and have read more books than ever! It is a bit strange being back in the same school I attended (as well as Steve!) but I am certainly trying to not teach the same as I was taught! Education is changing so fast and it is a great time to be in it! If you ever get back to town you should give us a call, we would love to get together! I am excited to keep watching your blog!
    Kelly Wagner

  4. It's great to hear from you Kelly! Yeppers...my 4th/5th grade unit has been using a Readers Workshop format for three years. We researched this, did a great book study on Leslie Blauman's book, and then implemented it with our kids. It's a work in progress that we constantly tweak, but the kids love it and we love the fact that we can better support our students at their instructional AND independent levels! Very cool! So glad to touch base with you and to hear about what's going on with you in the classroom. You're right...education is changing on a dime and keeping up with it is a bit daunting. It's definitely fun! :) Steve and I would love to catch up with you guys when we're in town too! It's been way too long! Take care and thanks for checking in at my blog!

  5. Thanks so much for linking up! I have not heard of this book! I will add this to my growing list of writing workshop books that I need for the beginning of next year!

    Collaboration Cuties