When starting any writing unit, I highly recommend starting with a writing mini lesson. A writing mini lesson is where you teach your students the type of writing or the skill that you want them to work on for that unit. In this post, I will show you how to create a mini lesson in writing to introduce the topic that you are teaching.
This post is a part of a writing series on teaching writing to upper elementary students. Read about more aspects of teaching writing here!
Why do I need a Mini Lesson First?
If you just jump into opinion writing, informational writing, etc. without the students fully understanding that type of writing they will not be as successful. You want to use these tips below to really help your students understand things like persuasive writing. The use of a persuasive writing mini lesson can do just that! When creating your writing mini lesson, use these quick tips below!
Use of Real Life Experiences
You want this experience to connect to their real life or to give them a real life memory or experience.
For example, if you were doing a persuasive writing mini lesson you may have the kids try and persuade you into a new classroom rule. Or have them go home and persuade their parents into a new item that they want for their birthday.
The point here is that they are actually doing something to connect their lives with persuasive writing which helps their brain to sort out, understand, and remember exactly what persuasive writing is. This memory will help them when completing the writing assignment in the future.
Use of Videos in the Introduction Lessons
Videos are so powerful in writing mini lessons. I suggest doing two different types of videos!
- A video that actually teaches about the topic. So, searching things like, “informational writing introduction videos”.
- A Pixar short or other actual video where the skill is being shown. For example, try this video to look at a Pixar you could use to show persuasive writing.
Anchor Charts for the Win
After real life experiences and a video to practice, you want to explicitly teach what that type of writing or skill is. Using an anchor chart can help you do just that.
**Pro Tip: Print the anchor charts out and have the kids put it in their writing notebooks to refer to throughout the writing process that you are going through.
End the Mini Lesson with a Quick Sample
On writing introduction day, you are not going to start your writing masterpiece you are working on. This is just where you are teaching “the what” or the skill that you want your students to be working on.
But when you end this lesson it is a great idea to add a quick (5-10 minutes) writing exercise. This is so they can put everything they learned to the test right away. The next day you will actually start your writing process.
An example would be if you are working on persuasive writing you could give them a quick prompt to write a letter to your principal persuading them of something.
FREE Persuasive Writing Mini Lesson
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