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Mini-Lessons and More

"Mini-lessons are the ritual that brings us together as a community of readers and writers at the start of each workshop, when we come in from the rest of our lives- from lunch, or the playground- and put on the cloaks of writers and readers." Nancie Atwell

"Minilessons are teacher demonstrations and interactive lessons in procedures, craft, and conventions...Minilessons can be conducted for the whole class or for small groups, and are based on students' needs and interests as determined by the curriculum and individual evaluation.  They can be as short as several minutes or as long as fifteen to twenty minutes in duration." (Conversations, Reggie Routman pg. 298)

The Mini-lesson is a lesson that focuses on a specific topic/skill, classroom management for active reading/writing time or literary analysis and is directed toward a group of students who have a need in this area. Teacher assessment and evaluation of outcomes will determine the mini-lesson focus. These lessons should be supports to students and should be connected to student work and outcomes and not taught in isolation.  Teachers who use technology when giving  mini-lessons find that-

  • they can refer students who need to review the topic again to the specific mini-lesson file

  • the lesson is there for other students when it needs to be taught to a new group

  • absent students can be introduced to the topic in a similar manner to others because the lesson has been retained in a file

  • students can assist other students in the attainment of this topic by guiding each other through the lesson

  •  the lesson can be retained and modified to fit future learning situations and environments

  • students are motivated through the use of technology

  • the visual aspects of the lesson help to support student learning

  • if the lesson focus is on a particular aspect of literacy development, the modeling of technology helps to broaden this focus and to demonstrate for students how they too will use technology to support their learning

  • the lesson can have interactive components designed by the teacher to fit the particular learning needs of his/her students

The Mini-Lesson Structure

The lesson should have a stated goal/outcome.  Examples should be provided so that students will have modeling, be able to make connections and be involved in the lesson.  How students will use this knowledge and where they have encountered similar concepts previously should be components of the lesson.  As with any lesson the teacher needs to ensure that there is a summary at the end of the mini-lesson. 

Ideas from this website can be considered seeds and for them to grow, you will need to develop the lesson to fit your teaching situation. 


The mini-lesson ideas contained in this website represent lessons that I have used with students from P-12. They have been chosen to represent a variety of different ways to assist students in achieving literacy outcomes through the use of technology. These lessons can be easily adapted to fit different grade levels and different areas of focus.  The goal is to give you some ideas so that you will be inspired to create your own mini-lessons that are enhanced through the use of technology and that your students will have increased achievement as a result. 

Although software suggestions are given, many other programs can be substituted.

As noted in the title this section does contain Mini-lessons and More.  The More are ideas of how to promote literacy by using technology in your classroom.  An example of this can be found on the math page where one example shows how students post a word problem weekly on their school website. 

Like many websites, this one is in a constant state of change. You are invited to refer to this page as often as you wish with the hope that it will assist you to help your staff and students.

If you wish to contribute your ideas to this site please e-mail me. staylorf@ssrsb.ca

 

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This site was last updated on 02/09/10.

Sue Taylor-Foley, Coordinator of Assessment and Technology, South Shore Regional School Board, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada  staylor-foley@ssrsb.ca

Material on this site may be used for educational purposes only.  Please request permission for other uses from the author. No responsibility can be assumed for sites linked from this one.