Mini Lessons and Saturday Sayings

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!



  1. You've probably read about Lucy Calkins' idea of a mid-workshop teaching point, which sounds very similar to what you're talking about. I've not made them part of my practice, but I can totally see how useful they are. It makes sense to address what's going well or not so well right then and there. Great advice Tammy! I knew you would have something wonderful to add to my Saturday.

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. I like this idea of bringing them back together to clear anything up or to redirect. Thank you for sharing that!
    Conversations in Literacy

  3. What a great piece of advice to chew on! I can't wait to give it a go next week. Thank you for sharing! I love Saturday Sayings!
    Owl Things First

  4. This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing. Saturday Sayings are one of my favorite posts of the week. I really struggle with structuring my writing workshop. This is the first year I've really gotten a writing workshop going on. Next week we're starting persuasive writing so I'll be keeping you multiple mini lessons in mind. Thanks for sharing.
    Ms. Kerri and her Krazy Klass

  5. This is a very thoughtful Saturday Sayings! When we confer with our students during WW, we can pick up on those moments that need a whole group mini reminder. Great post!

  6. Thanks for the idea, my kids get off track sooo easy.

    Have a great weekend!

    Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  7. Such a great thing to think about! Firsties always need another reminder!

    Ms. Cranfill's Class

  8. I'm so glad to have found your blog! I'm writing a Saturday Sayings post today, also. Bless Tammy!

    I've been thinking that I need to stop and regroup in the middle of literacy stations. We spend about 45 minutes working through them each morning. Because my class is small, everyone completes four to five stations every day. A couple of my more competitive friends are starting to race through the work. Yikes, that is not my goal! Thanks for giving me more to ponder!

  9. I love Saturday Sayings! Reading With Meaning is my fav! Loving the new edition.

    Chickadee Jubilee