MINILESSON (5–10 minutes)

Minilessons looks closest to what we associate with traditional teaching. They are short, focused, direct. They typically fall into the categories of classroom procedures, the writer’s process, the qualities of good writing, and editing skills.

WRITING (35–45 minutes, depending on your schedule)

Here kids are writing for sustained time about topics of their choice. They are drafting, planning, rereading, revising, proofreading, and talking with other writers about their pieces — doing the real work of writing.


During independent writing, the workshop teacher is moving about the room, taking a couple minutes at a time to check in with students as they write. These moments are opportunities to differentiate instruction by working one-on-one with a student. They are also chances to gather informal assessments of writers’ progress. Based on these assessments, a teacher can plan what to teach in a future minilesson. Or they can pull a small group together to address a common area of need.

SHARE TIME (10–20 minutes)

This is a special time when writers can share their writing with the whole class. It might be a completed piece. It might be a draft that the student wants help problem-solving. It’s a time when students learn to give and receive responses to one another’s writing in a public setting.