In Mechanically Inclined, Jeff Anderson teaches sentence stalking, a way to use mentor texts of any length to draw students' attention to an author's craft, the goal being to highlight what is done well rather than to take kids on an error hunt.

What concepts can we teach from the following sentence?

“Paralyzed, my face on fire, I could only look at her, shocked at what I had done (Ida B 212).

Notice the participles at the beginning and end of the sentence. Notice the commas that accompany them.

Play with the syntax. Shuffle the parts of the sentence in a different order. Which one is preferable?

Talk about the imagery of a face on fire. What does that look like?


What other concepts do you see?
 
 
In Mechanically Inclined, Jeff Anderson teaches sentence stalking, a way to use mentor texts of any length to draw students' attention to an author's craft, the goal being to highlight what is done well rather than to take kids on an error hunt.

What concepts can we teach from the following sentence?

"Then I looked straight at Daddy and said, ‘Can I please be excused now?’ and the words I used might not have been angry, but it was in my voice and flashing out of my eyes” (Ida B 116).

Speak Ida's words out loud. What is the expression on her face? What is the tone in her voice?

Talk about the use of Daddy as a proper noun. When should "daddy" be capitalized? When shouldn't it be?

Notice how to punctuate a question in quotation marks.

Look at the pronoun "it" and talk about what "it" is.


What other concepts do you see?

 
 
In Mechanically Inclined, Jeff Anderson teaches sentence stalking, a way to use mentor texts of any length to draw students' attention to an author's craft, the goal being to highlight what is done well rather than to take kids on an error hunt.

What concepts can we teach from the following sentence?

“In the hard-packed dirt of the driveway, after the glaring lights are out and the people have gone home to bed, you will find a veritable treasure of popcorn fragments, frozen custard dribbling, candied apples abandoned by tired children, sugar fluff crystals, salted almonds, popsicles, partially gnawed ice cream cones, and the wooden sticks of lollypops” (Charlotte’s Web 123).

Talk about concrete language.

Strip the sentence to its essence. What is left? Compare that with the original.

Look up the definition of veritable.

Count the commas. Discuss their purpose.

Imitate this sentence with a different topic, maybe a messy bedroom.


What other concepts do you see?
 
 
In Mechanically Inclined, Jeff Anderson teaches sentence stalking, a way to use mentor texts of any length to draw students' attention to an author's craft, the goal being to highlight what is done well rather than to take kids on an error hunt.

What concepts can we teach from the following sentence?

“Avery put on clean underwear, clean blue jeans, and a clean shirt (Charlotte’s Web 119).

Teach or review the serial comma (x, x, and x).

Talk about the effect of repeating "clean" three times.

Review parallel structure.


What other concepts do you see?
 
 
In Mechanically Inclined, Jeff Anderson teaches sentence stalking , a way to use mentor texts of any length to draw students' attention to an author's craft, the goal being to highlight what is done well rather than to take kids on an error hunt.

What concepts can we teach from the following sentence?

“’Struggle if you must,’ said he, ‘but kindly remember that I’m hiding down here in this crate and I don’t want to be stepped on, or kicked in the face, or pummeled, or crushed in any way, or squashed, or buffeted about, or bruised, or lacerated, or scarred, or biffed’” (Charlotte’s Web 125).


Highlight the verbs in this sentence.  How many are there?  What effect do they have?

Talk about parallel structure.  

Discuss the commas separating each of the verbs.  Are they necessary?

Notice how to punctuate a quote within a quote.

Observe the punctuation when interrupting a quote with "said he."

Talk about the effect of "said he" vs. "he said." 


What other concepts do you see?
 
 
In Mechanically Inclined, Jeff Anderson teaches sentence stalking, a way to use mentor texts of any length to draw students' attention to an author's craft, the goal being to highlight what is done well rather than to take kids on an error hunt.

What concepts can we teach from the following sentence?

“For one second, before the metal cooled, the inside of his right hand, from wrist to fingertips, was coated with solid silver” (Johnny Tremain 33).           


Talk about prepositional phrases. How many are there? 

Strip the prepositional phrases from the sentence. What is left? What does this tell us about the function of prepositional phrases?

Rearrange the prepositional phrases. Is there a better order, or is Forbes' syntax purposeful?

Discuss the imagery of the sentence.


What other concepts do you see?

 
 
In Mechanically Inclined, Jeff Anderson teaches sentence stalking, a way to use mentor texts of any length to draw students' attention to an author's craft, the goal being to highlight what is done well rather than to take kids on an error hunt.

What concepts can we teach from the following sentence?

“A florid woman was flapping a pink feather fan” (Johnny Tremain 75).


Talk about alliteration, the repetition of the initial <f> sound in florid, flapping, feather, and fan.

Notice the adjectives that describe woman (florid) and fan (pink, feather).

Look up the meaning of florid.

Discuss the choice of "was flapping" vs. "flapped."


What other concepts do you see?