During my walk-throughs this week I happened to come across a fifth grade class, bodies sprawled out over the classroom, all silently reading, as if lost in their books. The class was completely quiet except for the sound of turning pages and the low hum of the teacher conferring with a student. I walked over to the mat, saw a student I was familiar with, and sat down beside a him.
“What’s up?” I whispered.
“Oh, reader’s workshop,” he replied.
“Great. I love reader’s workshop. What was the teaching point in the mini lesson today?” I asked.
The student thought for a moment, eyes looking toward the ceiling, then he answered, “Readers read long and strong.”
I continued to talk to the student about his strategies, compliment him and give him a teaching point before walking out.
But this got me thinking about what a great job the teacher in that class was doing. She wasn’t just getting the students to silently read, she had made a point about what good readers do, and she had made it very clear to her students.
If someone walked into your class after a workshop mini lesson and asked a student “What was the teaching point?” would your students be able to answer?
Some ways to make sure your teaching is CLEAR and EXPLICIT are simple.
- Stick to ONE teaching point.
- Keep your mini lesson SHORT
- Repeat your teaching point many times
- Write your teaching point on an anchor chart
- Write your teaching point on your daily schedule
So the next time you are teaching a mini lesson, think about what your students come away with. Are you giving them shallow bits and pieces, or a firm strategy that they can place into their reading toolbox?
Thank you Anna, for that great teaching moment!