Introduce 1-2 New Skills Per Mini-Unit

FAQ: Do I teach a new skill every day of a mini-unit?

ANSWER: NO! Every writing skill requires MULTIPLE days of instruction. Consequently, devote three days of the total unit length for every new writing skill you plan to teach.

For example, an 8-day informative mini-unit might include:

  • Teach two new writing skills (taught across three days each).
  • Conclude with a short product, assessing for those two skills.

Obviously, each writing genre includes many writing skills–more than just two. However, before moving on and teaching a third writing skill, review the two that were previously introduced. This acknowledges that everyone doesn’t learn everything at the same pace and offers students a second chance to hear and learn the content.

After reviewing, introduce a third writing skill within a multi-day mini-lesson series. Conclude this mini-unit with a second writing product that will be assessed for all three skills.

Note that each end-of-unit writing task generates a new product–not a revision of the previous piece. Mastery of writing skills isn’t based on revisiting and polishing the same writing all year. Rather, it is determined by what students can do independently and in one sitting.

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