Making the Most of Mini-lessons Mindi Rench and Julie Buzza Northbrook School District 28
When you hear the word mini-lesson, what do you think ofand what do you feel?
Big Questions for Mini-lesson Planning• Why do we teach this? How does it fit into the bigger picture?• What are my big goals?• Which resources will I use?• How will I provide for students to enter at own level?• How will I be assessing? Does assessment match my big picture goals? adapted from Franki Sibberson (2012)
Why do we teach this? How does it fit into the bigger picture?• Benchmark assessments indicate a whole- class trend.• Curriculum/scope and sequence requires instruction on the topic.• The concept fits into a larger unit of study. o Large concepts break down into smaller learning targets that add up.
What are my big goals?• Think about where you want your students to be at the END of the study.• Based on what you know about your students, what instruction do they need to move them forward?• Big goal will be the same for all students, but the level of support or scaffolding needed might be different for individual students.
Which resources will I use?• Consider picture books, even for older learners.• Your own writing.• Student writing.• Articles, excerpts from longer texts, and short stories found in magazines.• Short videos.
How will I provide for students to enter at own level?• Provide a variety of texts for use during guided practice.• Provide time for students to talk in pairs or triads during the lesson.• Differentiate guided and independent practice.• Provide additional scaffolding or extension during invitational small groups.
How will I be assessing? Does assessment match my big picture goals?• Informal assessment occurs during student conferences and conversations that day and in the upcoming days.• Exit slips that ask students to demonstrate proficiency or to reflect on their learning for the day.• Student self-assessment• Formal assessment at the end of the unit of study
Steps in a Mini-lesson1. Review anchor chart or learning target2. Model the process Text3. Provide guided practice4. Provide independent practice5. Sharing adapted from Teaching For Deep Comprehensionby Linda Dorn & Carla Soffos, p. 97
Possible Mini-lesson Cycles • Reading • Writing: o Strategies: o Strategies: sensory comprehension, word- language, work organization, etc. o Behaviors and habits: o Behaviors and habits: book choice, stamina territories, stamina o Literary elements: o Craft moves: character, theme, etc. punctuation, syntax, o Genre: non-fiction, leads, etc. poetry, science fiction, o Genre: writing in etc. various genres adapted from Franki Sibberson, 2012
Discuss the two videosat your tables. Consider the steps of the mini- lessons as well as the big questions
Reading Strategy ModelLearning Goal: To help students learn how to use evidence from the text to confirm or adjust aninference.Text: “The CaptiveStep 1: Review the anchor chart. (2 minutes)Add: Use evidence from the text to confirm or adjust an inference.Step 2: Model the process. (5 -7 minutes)Think aloud and stop three or four times to make, justify, confirm or adjust inference about thecaptive’s identity. Annotate on the enlarged text.Step 3: Provide guided practice. (8 minutes)In partners or on own, students continue to more through the text stopping at each page to make,justify, confirm or adjust an inference.Teacher assesses by conferring and listening to literate talk.Before moving into composing session, a few students share thinking, and the teacher recaps goal ofthe lesson encouraging them to use this strategy on own.
Reading Strategy Model Lesson (cont.)Step 4: Provide independent practice (during composing session.)Teacher might bring up this strategy if the moment presents itself in asmall group or one-on-one conference.Step 5: Sharing (during reflection time.)Teacher can ask students to share if anyone had the opportunity intoday’s composing session to practice and apply this strategy toanother piece of text.
Multi-day Model Writing Mini-lessonLesson Plan: What is a feature article?Learning Target: Students can understandthat writers can learn how to write featurearticles by analyzing and using mentortexts.
Multi-day Model Writing Mini-lesson, cont.Day 1:1.Introduce genre study. We’ll read and examine a variety offeature articles, determine a topic we’re interested in learningmore about, conduct research, and finally write our own featurearticles.2.Today we’ll read an article from Smithsonian Magazine entitled “Bionics.” As we read together, think about what makes this a feature article? How is it similar to or different from other articles that might appear in a magazine?3.Read aloud, stopping from time to time to discuss parts of the article, for the rest of the allotted mini-lesson time.4.Have students finish reading the article for homework.
Day 2:1. Bring students together into the meeting area with their writing notebooks, writing utensil, and article.2. Begin a chart entitled “What Is A Feature Article?” Have students create a similar chart in the lesson notes section of their writers’ notebooks.3. Together create a definition of a feature article. “A feature article is a magazine article that takes information about people places, events, or phenomena in the world and seeks to explain it.”4. Then add “Important Facts” under the definition. Come up with a list of things to remember about FA based on reading of “Bionics”: • FA are meant to be informative AND entertaining • They are written with a particular audience in mind • Feature articles require: • research • analysis • synthesis of ideas • organization • good, strong writing skills5. Have students read a different feature article and complete the FA reading guide for homework
Day 3:1.Refer back to the chart the class co-created yesterday.2.Have students gather in small groups based on the article they read for homework.3.Groups discuss the features they found in their articles.4.Debrief: How were articles similar/different? Did they match our definitions and important information?
We want our students to make a lifetime commitment toreading and writing. And so we begin by painstakingly caring about the literary landscape and then we proceed to do the best teaching imaginable. --Shelley Harwayne