by C. Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady
Thanks for hanging in there regarding my Writing series. Today I will focus on using writing mini-lessons. The mini-lesson is the teacher’s chance to show children how to do all of the different things writers do — a little bit at a time.
- Mini-Lessons are meant to be short – maybe 10-15 minutes.
- They are meant to address student needs – so your decisions shouldn’t necessarily come from a sequenced list, but based on what you see the students doing (or not doing).
- Focus on one topic per mini-lesson. Then practice that one aspect of writing.
- Decisions on mini-lessons can be based on any writing students are doing (journal, prompts, reading responses, and other curriculum writing assignments).
- How often? I would try 1-2 mini-lessons per week. Alternate days with handwriting instruction and journal writing if you only have one block of time for writing.
- Writing mini-lessons can also be done as a part of your guided reading weekly routine. This means you can differentiate your instruction based on the group of students with whom you are working.
- Always model and use think alouds. Your writing mini-lessons will be more effective if you have already been utilizing shared writing methods. Use some of your own writing to introduce a mini-lesson.
- Don’t forget to praise when you notice a student who has implemented some of your mini-lesson strategies. Give specific info to a student directly. Specific praise (not just “Good job”) will result in more consistent use of what you praised them for. Example: “I noticed you have ending punctuation on all of your sentences. Keep it up!”
Mini-Lesson Ideas: These are not listed in any particular order because you should select ones based on what students need. However, I did put them in a somewhat developmentally appropriate order from younger to older students.