Address specific concerns, weaknesses and strengths (focused)
Used as a method of correcting students' writing (interactive)
Designed to meet student needs (reflective)
The mini-lesson is a forum for making suggestions to the whole class. After exploring students' writing we ask ourselves, "What is the one thing I can suggest or demonstrate that might help the most?"
Architecture of a Mini-lesson
(Younger children may need less time than older children)
Mini-lessons are brief and focused. Make mini-lessons memorable. When we make a big deal out of it, children will too. When we are passionate about our writing, they will become passionate writers!
Mrs. Morrison teaches a writing strategy to her students during a mini-lesson.
When choosing a mini-lesson, there are several sources to consider: teacher observations of current student needs, NCSCOS, and behaviors of great writers. Below is a list of possible mini-lessons, although there are many other possibilities:
Organizational: Procedural, Guidelines
- Rules for writing workshop
- How to set up a writing notebook
- How to locate materials
- How to help yourself
- What to do when you think you're done
- How to revise for meaning
- How to add details
- How to narrow a topic
- How to eliminate unneccesary information
- How to edit for spelling errors and self-correct
- How to reread
- How to organize your paper
- How to use closing puncutation
- How to use commas in a series
- How to use pronouns correctly
- How to use quotation marks
- How to create a good lead
- How to use figurative language
- How to "show not tell"
- How to create setting
- How to use strong verbs
Two students work together on editing their writing.
___ I connected today's work with our ongoing work.
___ I explicitly stated my teaching point.
___ I restated my teaching point.
___ I told a personal or class story connected to the teaching point.
___ I demonstrated by thinking aloud.
___ I pointed out things students should have noticed.
___ I asked students to be actively involved by turning and talking.
___ I listened / observed / coached their active involvement.
___ I shared an example of what I heard / observed.
___ I restated the teaching point.
___ I told students how what I had taught can be used in the future.