engagement · middle school · minilesson

4 Tips for Successful Active Involvement in a Minilesson

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?

Beyond the Fundamentals Blog Series · inquiry · minilesson · tcrwp

Inquiry Minilessons: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

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.

minilesson · writing workshop

The Problem with Q&A

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 well as the type of questions. We were taught to track how many and which students we were questioning, and how many… Continue reading The Problem with Q&A

blog series · change · classroom environment · independent writing · management · meeting area · middle school · minilesson

Fitting It All In: Solving Predictable Problems

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?

minilesson · Writing Workshop Fundamentals blog series

Minilessons: Writing Workshop Fundamentals

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.

common core · engagement · informational writing · lesson plans · lucy calkins · minilesson · motivation · narrative

Connecting Through Story

"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 is an undeniable trait of humanity. Yet, in spite of what we know about story as a fundamental building block for learning,… Continue reading Connecting Through Story

Craft Moves · mentor texts · minilesson · poetry · stamina · The Poem Farm · writing workshop · writing workshop routines

Finding Time: With Craft Moves on The Poem Farm

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.

demonstration · katie wood ray · lesson plans · middle school · minilesson · modeling · Slice of Life Story Challenge · strategies · teacher writing · Teachers who write

Showing Not Telling: Demonstrations Matter

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