Mini Lesson Basics
  • 5-10 minutes long
  • multi-level
  • precedes independent writing time
  • explicit instruction
  • assessment based
  • focus on procedures and organisation (routines), strategies and processes, skills, craft and techniques
  • composed of four major parts: Connection (teacher puts today's work in the context of children's ongoing work as writers and explicitly names what they'll be learning about today); Teach (explicit teaching of one important concept that will make their writing better, often drawing upon own writing, children's literature or student's writing); Active Engagement (students talk to a partner or examine their own writing for evidence of the concept); Link (encouraging students to try out the strategy in their writing that day or to add it to their toolkit of strategies)
Mini Lesson Challenges
  • handling student participation
  • keeping minilessons brief
  • teaching with clarity and purpose
  • maintaining student engagement

Examples of Mini Lesson Topics

Mini Lesson Planning Sheet

A huge number of fabulous mini-lessons and units of work

Links to a whole year of minilesson units for a Grade One class

Ideas for mini-lessons to launch Writers Workshop

How to get started with Writers Workshop and mini-lessons to go with them

Another very useful resource full of mini-lessons for Writers Workshop

Ideas on how to assess student writing to gain ideas for possible mini-lessons

Anchor Charts
  • should have a single focus
  • co-constructed with the students
  • have an organised appearance
  • match the learners' developmental level
  • support ongoing learning
  • should remain on display after the mini-lesson so that students can continue to refer to them

'Anchor charts are like footprints left by the learning journey we have undertaken with our students'.

Some examples of anchor charts
Has some good photos of anchor charts used in a Kindergarten classroom
Also has a range of anchor chart photos