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Planning a Digital Writing Unit for Online Instruction Using Mentor Texts

Presented By Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O'Dell

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Webinar Dates:

Three, 75-minute webinar sessions from 7:00pm–8:15pm Eastern Standard Time.

  • Tuesday, September 15, 2020 (Archived)
  • Tuesday, September 22, 2020
  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Please note that these webinars are recorded and made available to all participants within two business days of each live session.


In Writing with Mentors and Beyond Literary Analysis, Allison and Rebekah share that mentor texts "make anything possible." That's a tall order. So how do you get there? How do you get from the hopes and dreams you have for your student writers, to ideas for writing studies, to intentionally-planned units full of mentor texts to guide and inspire students? And given the uncertainty of the 2020-21 school year, how can mentor text instruction elevate our at-home learning as well?

In this webinar series, Allison and Rebekah will show participants how to find mentor texts that meet the needs of all their students—when they are learning from home and when they are learning in person! Participants will build a mentor text cluster, study mentor texts for writing lessons, and plan lessons to teach their students concrete writing skills—from idea development to structuring their writing to grammar lessons. Additionally, participants will explore and practice digital tools to facilitate this learning remotely. Participants will leave this webinar series with plentiful resources: multiple writing units grounded in mentor texts and created with their particular students in mind. And, best of all, they will leave having honed the skills to do this on their own in the future!

The following is a description of the learning objectives to be met within each session of this series:

Session 1:

  • Choosing the right unit of writing study for your students right now
  • Finding mentor texts that meet your students' needs (especially when you don’t have access to your classroom or public libraries)
  • Vetting and selecting mentor texts to use in a unit

Session 2:

  • Reading like a writer: a teacher's guide
  • Reading mentor texts like writers to find potential lessons
  • Finding patterns in mentor texts to create "musts" and "mights" for writers
  • Deciding on mini-lessons

Session 3:

  • Organizing mini-lessons into a unit calendar
  • The anatomy of a mini-lesson
  • Creating and sharing digital mini-lessons
  • Digital platforms to make workshop work
  • Assessing writing inspired by mentor texts
  • Best workshop practices for asynchronous, synchronous and blended learning, including what to do if you suddenly have to pivot to at-home learning


Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O'Dell believe in the power of choice, authenticity, and students' voices in the reading and writing classroom. Traveling the country to work with teachers and students provides constant inspiration as they help educators do the hard and tranformative work of teaching real writing. In both public and independent schools, they have taught middle and high school students at all levels—from inclusion to AP and IB classes. They are the founders of the popular blog and the authors of Writing with Mentors; Beyond Literary Analysis; and A Secondary Teacher's Guide to Using Mentor Texts (Heinemann, forthcoming).

Who should participate?

Classroom teachers of grades K-12, literacy coaches, reading and language arts specialists, curriculum coordinators and administrators. While our examples will use texts appropriate for middle and high school, the procedure for planning using mentor texts works for K-5 teachers, too.


The cost of this Webinar Series is $169.00 per person. If you register a group of three to nine people at the same time there is a discounted rate of $159.00 per person. When signing up ten or more participants at one time, please call in advance for large group discount pricing. Tuition also includes access to the recorded webinar sessions for up to 90 days after the conclusion of the webinar series.


It is highly recommended that participants have a copy of Writing with Mentors. If you do not own a copy you may purchase one online here: Writing with Mentors: How to Reach Every Writer in the Room Using Current, Engaging Mentor Texts.


Participants will receive a series of email correspondence from Heinemann. The first email confirmation will serve as your receipt for the webinar series along with some general instructions on how to prepare your computer for the webinar. The second email confirmation will be sent approximately 2 days prior to each webinar date with a link to our webinar platform Zoom, directing you to the webinar class and giving you instructions on how to log in.

We highly recommend you test your computer readiness by clicking on this link.

If your computer needs any software upgrades, Zoom will walk you through the updates.

Note: We encourage group participation, however, we require that each person be registered. For group pricing information please call 800-541-2086, ext. 1100.

Upcoming Dates & Locations

09/15/2020-09/29/2020 - Join Us in Progress

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Availability: Available When: 09/15/2020 - 09/29/2020* Where: Online

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