A mini-lesson plan is designed to focus in on one specific concept. Most mini-lessons last approximately 5 to 20 minutes and include a direct statement and model of the concept from the teacher followed by a class discussion and execution of the concept. Mini-lessons can be taught individually, in a small-group setting, or to a whole classroom.
A mini-lesson plan template is divided into seven sections: the main topic, materials, connections, direct instruction, guided practice (where you write how you actively engage your students), link (where you connect the lesson or concept to something else), independent work, and sharing.
Describe specifically what the lesson is about as well as what major point or points you will focus on in presenting the lesson. Another term for this is the objective-ensure that you know exactly why you are teaching this lesson. What do you need the students to know after the lesson is completed? After you're perfectly clear on the goal of the lesson, explain it in terms your students will understand.
Gather the materials you will need to teach the concept to the students. Nothing is more disruptive to the flow of a lesson than realizing you don't have all of the materials you will need. Student attention is sure to decline sharply if you have to excuse yourself to gather materials in the middle of a lesson.
Activate prior knowledge. This is where you talk about what you taught in a previous lesson. For example, you might say, "Yesterday we learned about… " and "Today we will learn about… "
Demonstrate your teaching points to the students. For example, you might say: "Let me show you how I… " and "One way I can do that is by… " During the lesson, ensure that you:
- Explain teaching points and give examples
- Model by demonstrating how students will achieve the task you are teaching
- Allow for guided practice, where you walk around the room and help students as they practice the concepts you are teaching
During this phase of the mini-lesson, coach and assess the students. For example, you might start the active engagement portion by saying, "Now you are going to turn to your partner and… " Be sure that you have a short activity planned for this part of the lesson.
This is where you will review key points and clarify if needed. For example, you might say, "Today I taught you… " and "Every time you read you are going to… "
Have students practice working independently using the information they just learned from your teaching points.
Come together again as a group and have students share what they learned.
- Students can do this independently, with a partner, or as part of the entire classroom group.
- Ask students: "Did you use what you learned? Did it work? How will you use it next time? What types of things would you do differently?"
- Tie up any loose ends and use this time to further instruct.
You can also tie your mini-lesson into a thematic unit or if the topic warrants further discussion, you can beef up the mini-lesson by creating a full lesson plan.