- Students need to read text every day that is at their instructional or independent level and that is of interest to them. Of course, what is "instructional" or "independent" can be determined in many different ways from formal testing or teacher observations through conferring with students.
- Students need many opportunities to use academic vocabulary so that they feel comfortable enough to use it independently.
- When students formulate and then respond to their own questions, they learn more.
- Facts are important in content learning but knowing just facts is not enough. Students must have multiple opportunities to apply what they know using critical thinking strategies, as well.
- Teachers need to teach non fiction structures that will allow students to enhance their comprehension and increase their facility with content area vocabulary.
Sometimes, I stretch out a teaching point beyond the 10- or 12-minute time limit I've given myself because I worry that my mini lesson wasn't enough or my students won't have understood what I intended to teach. So, sometimes, I beat the lesson to a pulp one too many times, or forget to have the kids practice the lesson before they go off to read or write. (Asking students to practice a lesson after you teach it, with you right there to observe and help guide students through the process, is very effective. Try not to skip this step!)
Here's an example of a mini lesson that lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted in better learning.
My students are in the second round of historical fiction book clubs. In a couple of weeks, we will start …