varying mini-lesson teaching methods

like you, if you’re using the reading and writing workshop model, our reading and writing mini-lessons follow a predictable structure:

  • connection
  • teaching point
  • teach
  • active engagement
  • link

when we were first learning how to teach in this structure, the “teach” part of the mini-lesson would always be modeling (demonstrating). we’d show our students what to do, and then they’d try the same thing during the active engagement.

after time with shana frazin at a summer institute at tcrwp, we began to be more intentional about varying our methods during the “teach,” and even put the different methods into our lesson plans so that we had to choose how, exactly, we’d be teaching each day.

this gives us the flexibility to choose the best method, which might vary depending on the teaching point or the students’ familiarity with what we’re doing or the time that we have. it also helps to ensure that our mini-lessons don’t feel too monotonous for our students because there’s some variety in how they’re being taught, even though the structure of the mini-lesson is predictable.

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some practical things to do to make co-teaching successful


we can’t help but feel a little offended any time someone (usually not an educator), says that it must be nice to have two teachers in the room because it saves us a lot of time. you know, because it’s two people sharing the workload of one teacher.


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