The one about planning minilessons

Planning Minilessons with a Free Template and Sample Lesson

When I moved to my current school three years ago, I completely switched school systems. Through orientation and examining their curriculum, I quickly learned they had an obsession with minilessons. While I’m resistant to change, I did learn a lot about planning minilessons and they can be really effective when done correctly. 

Here’s the basics: it’s a 15 min-ish lesson. I follow a simple format. Make a connection, I can statement/or goal, listen & learn (I do), we do, you do (practice). 

A mini-lesson works best for:

  • Reviewing older skills
  • Reteaching
  • Building onto previously learned skills (a deeper look at a skill from the previous grade or something taught earlier in the year)
  • Breaking down a larger skill/standard

Why are they successful? Mini-lessons recognize kids have a short attention span (hey, I do too!). They also isolate a specific skill. For example, I couldn’t teach every type of figurative language in that time frame, but I could teach similes. Math example? I constantly reteach the concept of regrouping in subtraction. My students are familiar with it, so I don’t need a long drawn out explanation, just a short review before they practice. 

Here’s a sample mini-lesson broken down that I planned for this week. We’re reviewing how to summarize a text, using story elements. 

  • Make a Connection: When someone asks, “How was your day? What did you do?” Do you tell them every detail? 
  • Teaching Point/I can: summarize a text. (RL3.2, RL4.2, RL5.2, and RL6.2)
  • Listen & learn: We read a mentor text or watch a short clip. For this lesson, I chose the short “Hair Love” as a model. Then, I identified character, setting, problem, solution, and theme. (We actually do some of this together, because this part is review.) Using these five story elements, I start a summary.
  • We Do: My students work with me to finish the summary and add transition words (first, next, then, and finally).
  • You Do: They read a short story on their own, identify the story elements, and write their own summary.

Sound simple enough? Here’s a planning template with my sample lesson and some tips & tricks you can follow.

Minilesson planning template

This is a breakdown of the minilesson, with sections to fill in. Use this template over and over to help you perfect this style.

Free Minilesson Planning Template

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