Writerís Toolbox

A Website Dedicated to Improving Studentís Writing through Writerís Workshop

Mini-Lesson Ideas

In general, mini-lessons should last approximately 10-15 minutes.ďMaxi-LessonsĒ, such as lessons that introduce a new skill or multiple techniques, may require more time.However, during a longer lesson, there should be significant time for students to practice with the skill, not just listen to the teacher.

A typical mini-lesson will include:

1. A direct statement about the concept or skill to be taught.Examples from literature and student writing are helpful during this time.

2. The teacher models the concept using his/her piece of writing as the basis for modeling.A discussion takes place a this time.Students are encouraged to explain how the writing is effective as a result of the technique used.

3. The class tries out the technique, either using their piece of writing as the content base or using a teacher determined example to begin.

4. The teacher determines when it is time for students to apply the lesson to their own writing.This should occur directly after the concept/skill introduction and practice.

5. The teacher should evaluate the progress students are making by circulating the room, to check on progress.Additionally, it is recommended that some students share their attempts at using the strategy.This will serve as added examples, particularly for struggling writers.

6. Individual and small group conferences may take place in order to assist students with more tailored teacher support with their writing.

7. Revisiting the concept and additional modeling will take place as needed.The same skill may be modeled several times during the year.For example, when teaching students how to elaborate on their writing, the teacher may decide to complete a lesson on this skill for every piece of writing throughout the year.

Mini-lesson Format

What are mini-lessons?

Mini-Lesson Ideas

Mini Lesson Leads and Openings

Mini Lesson Just Say More

Mini Lesson Closings

Mini Lesson Compositional Risks

Mini Lesson Details

Mini Lesson Finding a Topic

Mini Lesson Garbage Can Words

Mini Lesson Transition Words

Mini Lesson Using an Organizer

Mini Lesson Varying Sentences

Transition Words and Phrases




Opening with a Hook

Just Say More

Closing with a Punch

Sequential Words

Sensory Words

Bury the Word/Overused Words


Sentence Expanding

Sentence Combining

Author as Source



Parts of Speech





Snapshots in Time


Word Choice




Authorís Chair

Additions and Deletions