What Do Authors Do: A Mentor Text for Writing! (Includes a sequencing freebie!)

I discovered a new picture book recently. Well, it isn't really a new book, but it was new to me! It was actually published back in 1997 (which was the year I student taught!). I wish I would have found it back in 1997, because I would have used it every year for the past 19 years! Perhaps you've heard of it, or have even used it in your classroom... (An Amazon affiliate link follows.)

Looking for a mentor text to use in a writing lesson for upper elementary students? This text can be used as a foundation to stress tons of truths about how "real" authors write.

What Do Authors Do? is by Eileen Christelow. You may recognize her name from the popular Five Little Monkeys picture book series. This book is written in cartoon form, and it follows two authors through the writing process, from the moment they get an idea and all the way through the arduous writing process and publishing process. Both authors get an idea when one of their pets chase the other one into a lake. The male author decides to write a chapter book, while the female author chooses to write a picture book.

When I found this book, the teacher in me immediately thought, Oh my goodness! This is the perfect book to share with students as part of a writing minilesson! As an ESL teacher who co-taught in many upper elementary classrooms, I wish I had a dime for every time I reminded a student that real authors revise their writing over and over, and that as authors, they needed to be willing to revise their initial drafts, too. This book provides proof of the revision process for authors in a kid-friendly way.
Looking for a mentor text to use in a writing lesson for upper elementary students? This text can be used as a foundation to stress tons of truths about how "real" authors revise. Includes a free printable!

Some of the other key points I would stress during a read aloud include:
Looking for a mentor text to use in a writing lesson for upper elementary students? This text can be used as a foundation to stress tons of truths about how "real" authors write. Includes a free printable!
This page could serve as a springboard to make a list of things students could do when they feel stuck in writing!

Looking for a mentor text to use in a writing lesson for upper elementary students? This text can be used as a foundation to stress tons of truths about how "real" authors write. Includes a free printable!
This is one of my favorite pages! I like how it shows that authors get emotionally attached to their writing, and that it can be difficult to hear negative feedback. Best of all, though, is how Eileen Christelow stresses that authors are persistent people... they DO NOT GIVE UP!

Looking for a mentor text to use in a writing lesson for upper elementary students? This text can be used as a foundation to stress tons of truths about how "real" authors revise and edit. Includes a free printable!
I would encourage students to connect this to the writing process that occurs in the classroom. When the author meets with an editor, who suggests ways to make the story better, it reminds me of how students meet with teachers during a writing conference for the same reason! 
Another fabulous feature about this book is how it does not end when each author receives an acceptance letter from the publisher. Rather, it takes the reader through the publishing process, which includes working with editors and designers, dedicating the book, and seeing how books are printed and bound by machines.
Looking for a mentor text to use in a writing lesson for upper elementary students? This text can be used as a foundation to stress tons of truths about how "real" authors revise and edit.

Finally, I love how the book ends... with the authors thinking about ideas for their next book.

Don't you love it when you can get two uses out of ONE book? When I first read this book, I knew immediately that I wanted to use it as a writing minilesson to show students how real authors work through the writing process. However, it quickly struck me that this could serve as a dual-purpose lesson! Not only could I focus on the writing process, but I could also make this a sequencing activity! Click here or on the image below to download the FREE sequencing strips!
Read aloud What Do Authors Do?, and then have your upper elementary students sequence the story-writing process using this FREE printable!


Looking for a mentor text to use in a writing lesson for upper elementary students? This text can be used as a foundation to stress tons of truths about how "real" authors write. A free sequencing activity is also included in this blog post!
Pin this activity for later!!

Classroom Must Haves: Things I Can't Picture Myself Teaching Without


Are there classroom supplies you simply cannot imagine having to survive without? Whether you're a brand new teacher or a veteran with thirty-some years of experience, you've surely got a list of teaching must-haves. My fellow bloggers and I at Upper Elementary Snapshots are going to share our favorites with you!  (Amazon affiliate links follow.)


Thirteen upper elementary bloggers share their "must have" teaching supplies and resources!

Must Have Supply

I could not live without reusable dry erase pockets
Reusable Dry Erase Pockets... a classroom supply I couldn't live without! These are so useful in the classroom for multiple reasons!

They are soooo versatile! They are similar to individual white boards... but so much better! I have found multiple uses for these little gems!
Slip a colored sheet of cardstock inside the sleeve, and you have an individual "white" board! I use this feature on a daily basis to promote student engagement. Just like with individual white boards, each student can practice a math problem, define terms, or write responses (like the two words within a given contraction).

Here's the best part about the dry-erase pockets, though. You can slip any sheet of paper inside the pocket! Are your students learning to tell time? Slip an analog clock image inside, and students can draw the hands of the clock so that they display a given time. Slip a map of the United States inside and ask them to write the abbreviations you've learned on each state. Slip a Venn diagram inside and ask them to compare and contrast two characters! The possibilities are endless!
Reusable Dry Erase Pockets... a classroom supply I couldn't live without! These are so useful in the classroom for multiple reasons!

A final use for dry erase pockets I found on a whim. One day I decided to print a partner play at the last minute to use at a reading center. Normally, I would laminate my partner plays for added durability. However, on this day, I didn't have time to do that. I spotted a dry erase pocket out of the corner of my eye and realized hey! I'll just slip this pair of scripts inside two pockets until I have a chance to laminate them later! 
Reusable Dry Erase Pockets... a classroom supply I couldn't live without! These are so useful in the classroom for multiple reasons!

Must Have Book

What Do You Do with a Problem? by Kobi Yabana was just published in 2016. It is by the same author as the New York Times best-seller What Do You Do with an Idea? Both of these books caught my eye recently during a trip through a local bookstore. I ran across it right after I had finished creating my Growth Mindset PowerPoint, and I knew I had to have it... it fits so perfectly with the growth mindset approach!
Teaching about growth mindset? Check out this awesome classroom read aloud book, What Do You Do with a Problem?

This book is about a boy who encounters a problem. At first, he tries to escape from the problem, but he realizes that it keeps following him from place to place. After much worry, he decides to confront his problem. 

The following image shows my favorite page of the entire book:
"My problem held an opportunity! It was an opportunity for me to learn and to grow. To be brave. To do something."
I think a perfect followup discussion after you read this book aloud to students is to brainstorm problems, and some of the opportunities that might be found within.

Must Have Resource

Of all of my resources, the one I simply couldn't live without is my Nonfiction Text Structure Bundle! It contains a plethora of activities- possibly more than you could use in one school year! An interactive PowerPoint (with a companion handout), a flipbook, TWO craftivities, 24 task cards, graphic organizers, posters, worksheets, an assessment... this resource containing more than 100 practice passages has it all! 
Nonfiction Text Features BUNDLE!!  This file contains so many activities for teaching upper elementary and middle school students about text structures. More than 100 passages are included!

FREE FOR YOU!

If you were to ask my students what their favorite classroom activity is, I bet more than half would respond "PARTNER PLAYS!" without hesitation! Cheers erupt when a new set of partner plays is introduced! If you are not familiar with partner plays, they are scripts that students read with a partner. They are great reading center options that allow students to work to improve their reading fluency! Plus, all of my 4th and 5th grade sets now contain some sort of follow-up worksheet that accompanies each script. Click on the image below to try one out in your classroom!
Try out a partner play for FREE!  This script is designed for 4th and 5th grade readers. It comes with a bonus comprehension sheet!
2nd and 3rd grade teachers, CLICK HERE to check out the partner play freebie I wrote for your grade levels!

After you've downloaded my freebie be sure to visit each of the blogs below to add 12 more FREE RESOURCES to your own collection of things you can't picture yourself teaching without. Afterwards swing by our collaborative blog, Upper Elementary Snapshots for lots of great content and ideas you can put into practice in your own classrooms as well as a chance to win gift cards to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Teachers Pay Teachers so you can stock up on your own Classroom Must Haves.


~DEB