When does the mini-lesson occur, and how long should it last?
The mini-lesson should begin your writing workshop and should last between five and fifteen minutes.
How focused should the mini-lesson be?
The lesson should be singularly focused on a specific grammatical or writing technique or challenge. For example, a teacher may introduce the correct use of a semicolon between two independent clauses in one lesson and on another day demonstrate the power and use of personification within a piece of writing in another.
How are mini-lessons best chosen?
The key is authenticity. Try to stay close to lessons that the students will be able to use immediately within their own writing. For example, if students are writing persuasive articles, mini-lessons might focus on types of persuasive techniques, transitional phrases, or powerful conclusions. If students are writing fiction, mini-lessons might be centered around characterization, vivid imagery, or narrative techniques.
What happens after the lesson?
Often students will have a writer's notebook that they will use during writer's workshop to record their ideas and notes during mini-lessons. After a mini-lesson, a teacher might ask the students to quickly practice the technique in their notebooks before moving on to the writing portion of the workshop.
"A word after a word after a word is power."