If you’ve ever struggled to keep your mini-lessons in reading and writing actually mini, trust me, you are not alone. I’ve lost count of how many time I’ve walked into class thinking I could finish the lesson in 10 – 12 minutes and next thing I know, 20 minutes had gone by and I wasn’t even close to being done. When I realized how long my mini-lessons were really taking I sought out on a mission to find a way to keep them actually mini so my students had more time to practice reading and writing independently each day. Heres 5 quick steps that I’ve followed for years to eliminate all kinds of unnecessary time and keep my mini-lessons super focused and intentional.
1. Pick a focus area that you know your students have been struggling with and stick to it. You may notice they struggle with writing a summary for example, so make summarizing your focus for that day.
2. Narrow the focus. This may be the most important step. Think about it. If your focus area is summarizing and you go straight into the lesson with this focus, you are going to be all over the place because summarizing is a giant comprehension skill. What are you going to focus on? Summarizing in a sequence? Summarizing the main idea? Adding opinions in summarizing? Knowing what should be included or left out? You can see how quickly this big topic can become overwhelming and the complete opposite of narrowed down or “mini”. So we must narrow the focus. Find just one angle that we want to focus on for that day. Not only will this keep your mini-lesson mini, it will be simple for your students to understand and immediately apply the learning into their own independent time.
3. Take a few minutes before the lesson to make your plan for modeling your skill. Have a strategy of what you’ll say and how you’ll model the lesson. If you are using an anchor chart write your thinking ahead of time on the chart. Simply cover it up with another piece of chart paper until you’re ready to share it with the class. This will save you at least 5 minutes of time and the kids don’t need to watch you write your example on the chart.
4. Plan 2-3 questions to ask the class as an invitation to learn. After you’ve finished modeling the skill, have these questions ready to ask so that you stay on track and keep the lesson moving.
5. Plan 1 – 2 questions ahead of time to ask students as they turn and talk with a partner and try out the skill on there own where everybody is actively learning.
By choosing a topic, narrowing the focus, and planning ahead of time, you’ll keep your mini-lesson on the topic, easy to understand, intentional, and most important of all, mini. I hope this helps some teachers who are struggling to keep those mini-lessons mini. It has been my pleasure chatting with you today. Know that I am the biggest fan of the work you and your students accomplish in and outside the classroom! Until next time, you got this!
If you would like to try my Mini Units for FREE you can click HERE! It has been my pleasure chatting with you today. Know that I am the biggest fan of the work you and your students accomplish in and outside the classroom! Until next time, you got this!
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