Do you ever feel like you’re teaching forever and forever? You look up at the clock and realize whoops!!! That lesson went way too long! You notice your students zones out, your throats hurts, and you’re exhausted! You probably thought this lesson was going to be the bomb diggity and then the kids barely retained any of that information. What do you do? You adapt. You change the way you teach. Every year, I change the way I teach. If you don’t, it will consume you. You won’t see the gains that you need or you won’t get anything accomplished. Studies show that kids have an attention span of 7-10 minutes depending on their age. It’s about a minute for each year. Even adults barely can stay focused for so long. Think about the time you were at the last faculty meeting. How many times did you zone out? How many times did you doodle something? Kids are the same way!! We need to teach the way that they learn.
What is inside the mini-lesson?
My mini-lessons are approximately ten minutes long. I try really really really hard not to go over that ten minutes. In the beginning of the year, that ten minutes is like fifteen or twenty so don’t worry if you’re not in that time. Once the “flow” of the classroom happens then everything will fit. I always do the following:
- State the goal.
- Explain the method that is being taught and why it’s useful in real life.
- Teach the lesson
- The end is crucial- I state what the goal was and then at the end of every lesson I give them a task. For example “today as you go to read, I want you to look to see what kind of character traits your character has. Then think what does that say about them?” Or “as you go to read your nonfiction book today, I want you to identify the main ideas within the book, or text features” you get the idea. It gives the students a goal. I really try to match it to interactive read a loud voice that I’m reading with them. It allows them to see the book through your eyes.
What kind of lessons go in the mini-lesson?
Pretty much everything that you need to teach to your students in a reading lesson. Below is a quick list incase you are stumped.
- Structural lessons based off of Fountas and Pinnell.
- Meaning lessons based off of Fountas and Pinnell.
- Visual lessons based off of Fountas and Pinnell.
- Main idea
- Chronological order
- Character traits
- Text features
- Text structures
- The list goes on and on but you get the idea
Remember that mini lessons should be quick and to the point. If you ever have any questions you can leave a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org