I’m so excited to be joining Tammy at Forever in First for her famous Saturday Sayings. If you don’t know Tammy you really need to stop by and visit her blog she is such a great teacher and inspiration.
My saying this week comes for my favorite teacher/author Debbie Miller’s second edition of Reading with Meaning.
“Bringing children back together, briefly addressing what they need to do or think about to move forward, then sending them back to work, breathes energy, life, and a renewed sense of purpose into the workshop.”
Debbie’s words seemed to hit home with me this week. I have been doing a lot of thinking about mini lessons lately. I like mini lessons, and of course use them daily. But lately I’ve been wondering if I’m really doing them justice, or more importantly are they doing the kids justice.
For instance for writer’s workshop we always start with a mini lesson, have a shoulder share quickie, then they are sent off to “have a go.” After about ten or fifteen minutes I find myself reminding, redirecting, and rethinking my lesson, finally after about thirty minutes we come back together, share a few items or ideas, and move on to math. And leaving me wondering if they’ve really grasped what they’ve needed to, and making a mental note to “hit” on it the next day.
Sounds about right, right? Well this week as we we’ve been working on writing informational texts I decided to change it up a bit. I did a mini lesson on a table of contents and “what is” pages, had the kids shoulder share ideas and thoughts, listened in, jotted down a few notes, and sent them off to have a go. This time though when I heard the waning of interest and direction I decided to pull the kiddos back into a group. I did another short, quick, mini lesson adding in a few observations I had seen and then once again then sent them off to “have a go.”
Success! They worked longer and stayed on task! I like the idea of “multiple mini lessons” and believe I will make more use of them more often. Instead of addressing things at share time, or waiting until the next day to bring it up I take the few minutes while the important work is fresh in our minds and we all “have a go” at learning!
Don’t forget to visit Tammy and her Saturday Sayings you will be glad you did!