* Mini Lessons (10-15 minutes)- The mini-lesson is where I make a suggestion to the whole class, which would help improve the students' writing. Choices of topic varies from year to year: it is mostly determined by my personal observations of the class. If I notice many students struggling with a certain skill, I will address it within a whole group mini-lesson. Strategies addressed during mini-lessons do not just apply to the writing piece on-hand, but they are ones that can be used again and again during the writing workshop and during children's lives as writers. This is the only portion of writing that involves direct instuction.
* Independent Writing (40 minutes)- After the mini-lesson, students work on their individual pieces. During this time, students may be involved in conferences with teacher/peer/parent volunteer. In the beginning of the year these sessions of independent writing are shorter, but as the students become more comfortable with the process the time is lengthened. Since students work at different speeds, each student may be at a different writing step: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
* Conferring- While students are involved in independent writing, I use this time to meet with students individually. When conferring, I do not read all of what the child has written- it would take too long! Instead I focus on one or two main points. A conference only lasts a few minutes. I take notes during this time to document students' progress and to plan future mini-lessons. During conferring, I may: 1) listen to students read portions of their entries aloud s) help students decide what they want to say 3) provide feedback 4) re-teach skills taught during mini-lessons 5) teach necessary new skills 6) reinforce a writer's strengths 7) give writers new ways of thinking.
* Guided Writing Groups- As the students settle into independent writing, I may meet with a small group of students for a guided writing lesson. I try to meet with a new "guided writing" group each day. These are writers with similar needs and abilities.
* Sharing (5-10 minutes)- At the end of writing workshop, I may bring back students into a group for share and reflection. During a share, a student gets a turn to share a small part of an entry, especially if it addresses the skill brought up during the mini-lesson.
FIFTH GRADE UNITS
Unit 1: The Sentence