Category Archive: minilesson

Our Favorite “Back-to-School” Posts

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Whether you’re already back in school or returning in the next two weeks, I’ve rounded up some of our team’s best blog posts that will help you launch & sustain writing workshop in 2018-19.

Teach Kids How To Teach Minilessons

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Teaching kids how to teach a minilesson might be easier than you think.

4 Tips for Successful Active Involvement in a Minilesson

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In a minilesson, we work to not only demonstrate a strategy sometimes employed by professional writers, but also to provide a quick opportunity for young writers assembled before us to apply it, either in their own writing or in a co-authored class composition.  This short segment of the minilesson during which writers ‘give a strategy a go’ themselves, often called the “Active Involvement” or “Active Engagement,” allows writers an immediate opportunity for application in the supportive environs of the meeting area. How can we make this part of the lesson really count?

Inquiry Minilessons: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

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There are many ways to teach a minilesson effectively. Many people think inquiry minilessons are stickier than demonstrations since kids “discover” things on their own. As a result, learning stays with kids longer since they’ve come to the learning on their own.

The Problem with Q&A

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When I was a new teacher, my professors and mentors emphasized the importance of questioning as a teaching technique. We were taught to track the number and frequency of questions we asked, as… Continue reading

Fitting It All In: Solving Predictable Problems

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For many of us, especially in middle school, trying to fit all the pieces of writing workshop into, say, a 41-minute schedule, can feel daunting. How can we teach a minilesson, get our kids working, confer with individuals and small groups, provide a mid-workshop interruption, and facilitate a teaching share…all in that tight time frame?

Minilessons: Writing Workshop Fundamentals

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Everything students are asked to do in writing workshop builds on effective teaching during the minilesson. It’s important to understand the basics of writing minilessons so we can write them quickly and teach our students to become stronger writers every time we bring them to the meeting area to teach them something new.

Structure: Writing Workshop Fundamentals

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Writing Workshops have important structural components.

Connecting Through Story

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“Story is the basic unit of human understanding.” – Drew Dudley, Day One Leadership. We have been learning through story for thousands of years.  Our innate fascination for wanting to know what happens… Continue reading

Finding Time: With Craft Moves on The Poem Farm

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Poetry month in my opinion (and my students’) is a celebration of writing! It’s a time when we writers welcome new beginnings and hone the art and crafting of our writing skills. I watch my students take wings and write with grace and confidence during poetry month.

Showing Not Telling: Demonstrations Matter

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We’ve all likely taught ‘show, don’t tell’ lessons in our narrative units. But showing not telling can have instructional meaning, as well…

Keeping the ‘Mini’ in Mini Lessons for the Middle School Writing Workshop

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Katie Kraushaar, a middle school teacher, has six tips for keeping minilessons mini during writing workshop.

A Step Back, A Leap Forward

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Sometimes the most effective way to help writers leap ahead, is to slow things down and take a step back.

Writing A Teaching Point

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A formula for writing clear teaching points

Instant Minilesson Follow-Up

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A strong active engagement, and a routine for informally assessing student work during the minilesson can give you the tools you need to be sure that no student leaves the meeting area completely confused.

Sometimes It’s Actually Not a Choice: Accountability in the Writing Workshop

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My goal for the next few weeks is to pay close attention to kids when they leave the meeting area to start working. How many are actually trying out the new strategy? How many are going right back to their old habits? And what can I do to coach them to try new things?

A Short & Sweet Minilesson Formula

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There is a formula that I use, time and time again, to adapt my own minilessons. Yes, this formula helps me keep my minilessons to about ten minutes and makes planning more streamlined, but more importantly this formula helps me with one of my personal goals as a teacher: student engagement.

A Peek Inside Modeled Writing

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Are you always telling your students to add detail? To write more? Here is a sample minilesson to show them how.

What should I teach next?

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There are a few weeks left in the school year. Here are some tips for working through the If… Then… books if you’d like to plan your own unit of study.

Quick Tips for Writing Teaching Points

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A guide to crafting your own teaching points for 1:1 conferences, strategy lessons, minilessons, mid-workshop interruptions, and share sessions.