Writing workshop begins with a 5-10 mini-lesson, led by the teacher. This mini lesson has a laser focus, sharing one tip for writers that can help them in their work today or any other day when they’re writing. Mini lessons often start with a link back to previous days’ work when the teacher lets kids know what she has noticed and why she’s chosen this lesson. Next, the teacher states the lesson, then demonstrates the lesson. Often, there is time for students to turn and talk and process this tip or idea. Then, students are sent off to get to work.
There are several ways to demonstrate a mini-lesson. A teacher might model writing, share her notebook or other artifact, share a student’s writing, use a mentor text, bring in a guest speaker, or a video of a published author giving advice.
Below is a start to some resources teachers could use to demonstrate mini-lessons.
Video clips of advice from published authors
Bringing the voices and advice of published authors into our classrooms inspires students and shows them that the published pieces they find on the shelves of their classrooms and libraries are the products of hard work over time. Authors develop work habits, favorite tools, and personal processes that help them to get their writing done. Scholastic.com has a great bank of interviews of authors talking about these practices. I spent some time watching these videos and pulling out links that might be specifically helpful for workshop teachers teaching lessons on planning and research, character development, getting over writer’s block, etc. Click on the links in the below doc to hear from authors like Suzanne Collins, Christopher Paul Curtis, and Jeff Smith.