When I was in college I learned about the flow of a lesson plan, you might have too. I made sure that my lessons had a hook, a direct teach, guided practice and independent practice. I felt like I mastered that and even made sure that I tried to hit most of the modalities of learning. One thing that I completely missed was timing. My lessons were too long and students would be “done” with my lesson before I was done delivering it.
Enter the books Reading with Meaning and The Daily 5. These two books introduced me to the idea of a mini lesson. I learned that a mini lesson was an intentional time constrained lesson in which students got to participate in a modified lesson cycle. Most experts recommend that your mini lesson not be more than 10 to 15 minutes long.
When I first started out my mini lessons were 20 minutes long.I was pretty proud because I was trying to wean myself off of 30 to 40 minute lessons after all. At first I just tried to replicate what I learned in college and included: a hook, direct teach, guided practice and independent practice (usually something involving a worksheet).Then I realized that not every assignment needed to end with a paper pencil activity.
I eventually learned the true structure of a mini lesson which is:
Learning Target- What am I going to teach?
Connect- How can you connect today’s lesson to their everyday life or to something they have learned before?
Teach it- Teach the lesson using simple student friendly language.
Try it- Give students an opportunity to try out the lesson. They may not do it perfectly, but they can start building body memory from the practice they get with you and their peers.
Take away- How will they use this lesson in their everyday lives?
In the next post we will look at the purpose of the mini lesson.
Are you struggling to make your mini lesson intentional and focused? I can help, click on the work with me tab to schedule a call.