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minimandy4 07-12-2012 07:03 AM

Short minilessons
This may be a stupid question... but... how do you keep your reading and writing mini lessons short? I searched around PT for answers, but it seems like the most common solution was for teachers to use the book from their read aloud time for their mini lesson, so they spent time teaching and not reading. The problem for me is that I don't have a read aloud time! We are departmentalized (I teach 5th grade ELA/SS) so I have two 45 minute periods for all of ELA- reading, writing, word study, grammar, everything! (I'm also worried about cramming social studies into 3 45 minute periods a week, but that's a different question.) Since I have such a short amount of time it's really important that I keep my minilessons short so that students have plenty of time to read and write and so that I have time for groups and individual conferences. Last year my "minilessons" took on average 20 minutes. If there was an activity I wanted them to do with something the lesson would take the whole time! I guess I should move away from the activities.
Sorry for the confusion, but I think my thoughts are confused. Basically, I am trying to wrap my head around doing a (modified) Daily 5 structure in my class with a really short amount of time. To do this, I need to shorten my minilessons and relinquish the control I had by making them do specific activities (I guess I could take back some of this "control" by small groups and individual goals?) I would love any thoughts and suggestions you guys have!

P.S.- I am following the upper elementary Daily 5/Cafe book club, but while they have great information, no one has really answered these questions, even though several people have asked...

sonjateacher 07-12-2012 07:11 AM

Short Mini-lessons
I teach first so I'm no expert on intermediate mini-lessons, but this is a good article about them, and there are some good links.

sonjateacher 07-12-2012 07:14 AM

more scheduling
Also, since you have 2-45 minute blocks, could you do

10 minute mini-lesson
20 minute round
10 minute mini-lesson
20 minute round

which leaves you with 30 minutes for other instruction?

I'm not familiar with the D5 intermediate structure, so ignore that if it doesn't make sense!

minimandy4 07-13-2012 12:29 PM

Thanks for the article. It was helpful.

Your schedule does make sense, but the only problem is that I have no way of knowing if my two 45 minute ELA periods will be back to back. Last year I taught just ELA to 3 groups and I had them back to back most of the time, but not always. The other ELA teacher hardly ever had her kids back to back. She normally had each class once in the morning and once in the afternoon. So I need to create a schedule that fits into the two 45 minute blocks pretty evenly. Thanks for the advice!

sonjateacher 07-14-2012 02:09 PM

After I posted my schedule I was wondering it your blocks would be back to back or not. Maybe then you could do something like

15 minute mini lesson
20 minute round
10 minute lesson


20 minute round
5 minute mini lesson
20 minute round

So just put your most intensive lesson first, and then a true 10 minute mini lesson later, and then finish up with a really brief mini lesson?

Just some more thoughts!

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