First...What is the exact structure of this time. Each lesson is divided into three parts:
- Part 1: Mini Lesson
- Part 2: Application or Work time
- Part 3: Share
The mini lesson is also divided into parts...there are 4 of them.
ConnectHere is where we remind the kids of exactly what we did yesterday. This helps get all the kids in the same place. This has them ready for the new learning. If you have ever heard me present you have heard me say, "The brain learns by pattern, but seeks novelty." The workshop model provides a great pattern. The lessons are predictable. One way to ensure that predictability is to do the same 4 steps each day. Another way is to provide consistent language. For this step I say, "Remember yesterday when we..." I finish the sentence by reminding them what we did the last time.
TeachThe next part of the mini lesson is the teach. This is where the new learning occurs. First, I name the new learning. Then I model. Modeling can be difficult. When I first started teaching, I thought modeling meant that I told them what they should do. But, I should have paid more attention to the word MODEL. When I model a lesson I become the reader. I have to show the children what it looks like when the reader is doing the concept I am trying to teach. For the teach portion of the lesson I say, "Today, I am going to show you..." and I name the standard. Then, I say, "Let me show you what I mean." Here is where I do the modeling.
Active EngagementThe next part of the mini lesson is Active Engagement…Here is where the children practice what you just taught them . Right there on the carpet in front of you, have your children complete show you they understand the new concept. This is a great time to collect data of who is getting it and who you need to pull to your table for more practice. For the active engagement portion of the lesson I say, "Let me see you try."
LinkAs you are finishing up your mini lesson (they should last only 10 minutes total), you move to the Link. Here is where you remind the kids of exactly what they just learned. For the link part of the lesson I say, "Remember boys and girls, today and everyday, good readers...."
ApplicationAfter the 10 minute mini lesson, it is time for the kids to get to work. During application time, the kids may or may not apply the mini lesson. Application doesn't not refer to their ability to apply the mini lesson. Application is a time when kids apply WHAT THEY KNOW! It is a natural time of differentiation. Here are a few key points.
- Each of the kids has a bag of good fit books. They are all reading independently.
- During this time they are also building stamina. That means, that at the beginning of the year, the children might be able to sustain their reading for 2-3 minutes. But, each day you add on 10-15 seconds. Then, in a month, they will have added 3-5 minutes to their stamina!
- Once children can sustain their reading for 15 minutes, you can begin to pull kids for small group guided reading lessons.
Share TimeAt the end of application, we call all the kids back to the rug. This is a share time. You can invite children to share things they are reading about, things they noticed when they were reading, things they tried to help them, etc.