Writing Center


Mini lessons are a staple of any classroom.  They are an excellent tool for introducing material, reviewing concepts, and establishing class procedures.  As Nancy Atwell notes, "When mini lessons are thoughtful, authentic, appropriate, and engaging, when they grow from what [you] see [your students] do and need, they provide a powerful tool for teaching and learning ...."

The first major project of the semester requires you to create a mini lesson based on a unit of your choice from the SAISD Secondary English Curriculum and to teach the mini lesson to the class.  Although a "regular" mini lesson can last 20 to 25 minutes, this project focuses on the "mini" mini lesson, which lasts 10 to 15 minutes.  The very nature of a "mini" mini lesson is to function as a useful tool incorporated before, during, or after longer lessons as a way to reinforce information or to address issues that can be managed in a limited time.  One of the most difficult aspects of this assignment, then, is narrowing the subject of your mini lesson sufficiently so that you can complete it within the required timeframe.

Because mini lessons are unfamiliar to most pre-service teachers, you should plan on several individual conferences as you create your lesson, and you should allot a significant amount of time for the preparation of both your written lesson plans and teaching presentation.

Peer and self assessment are required.

The following information generally identifies the types of mini lessons, the required format for the teaching unit, and the guidelines for the teaching presentation.  Links to more detailed descriptions are provided after the following sections. 

Types of Mini Lessons (adapted from In the Middle by Nancy Atwell)

  • Procedural 

  • Craft

  • Conventions of Writing

  • Strategies for Reading

Required Components of Mini Lesson

  • Focus 

  • Objectives

  • Materials and Resources

  • Contact Outline

  • Activities and Procedures

  • Evaluation and Assessment

  • Bibliography

  • Mini Lesson Form

Guidelines for Teaching Presentation

  • Maximum of Ten Minutes 

  • Effective Presentation of Material

  • Technology Required

  • Professional Appearance

Last Revised: August 13, 2002