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Mini-lesson plan

Vandria Sehnem

October 2014, 1st mini-lesson

Undergraduate students/Advanced level

1. Instructional objective
The objective of this mini lesson is to familiarize the tutees with the simple
sentence structure, sensitizing them with the subject and predicate concepts. I will
also introduce the yes/no question test, in order for them to identify the subject
and predicate in a sentence.
2. Anticipatory activity
For this activity, I will be bringing a large picture from a magazine, cut into pieces
(maybe 3) like a puzzle. I will invite two tutees to come to the front of the room
and put the puzzle together. After they have put it together I will say that
sentences work like a puzzle. They have different parts that go in their own
Sentences for the board.

3. A. Materials
Bags with colored cards with subjects and predicates written on them.
The man
The two children
Mathew and Caroline
My English teacher
The old bear
The beautiful house around the corner
Is beautiful.
Are playing at Joes house.
Is looking for a new job.
Ate the fish.
Are going out with their friends tonight.
Is for sale.
Did a great job.

To introduce this activity I will ask the tutees what the components of a simple
sentence are. After they say a number of things I will ask for two volunteers to come
to the front of the room, and I will give them two different bags, one containing the
subjects and the other containing predicates of given sentences, and I will ask
them to put the sentences together, placing them on the wall.
4. Guiding questions:
Having the sentences on the wall I will point to a sentence and ask them:
Who is this sentence about?
What does it tell you?
What or who does it describe?
5. After the tutees have shared their ideas, I will give an explicit explanation saying
that the green pieces are the subjects of the sentences, and the blue pieces are
the predicates. Subjects tell us what or who the sentence is about. The predicate
tells us what the subject is doing or what the subject is like. It describes the
I will repeat this explanation and ask them to write it down.
6. After this I will give them a piece of paper with simple sentences for them to tear
apart and make yes/no questions. I will guide them to separate the words. Since
the last sentence cannot be converted into yes/no question without dropping
because I will explain that it is not an English basic sentence.
I am a social work student at Lehman College.
South Korea is a very interesting place.
My grandmother is Irish.
Rain is good for the environment.
The weather was awful yesterday.
She is paying for her own tuition.
Because I am allergic to it.


In the sequence I will ask them to define sentence. I will listen and consider
their answers, and then I will give them the definition of sentence (Have them
write it down): The basic sentence in English is a group of words that can be
turned into a yes/no question without dropping/adding any words but did/do/does.

With this definition I will ask them to look for a sentence in their notebooks and
try to apply the yes/no question test. I will ask them to share what they have found
and I will close the mini lesson.
8. The assessment of the tutees progress will be done by observing their work, and
what they can apply in the activities developed in the mini-lesson.

Vandria Sehnem
Fall 2014
First mini-lesson Journal
For my first tutoring mini-lesson, I chose to teach the subject and predicate concepts,
along with the yes/no question test. The objective of the mini-lesson was to help the
tutees to identify the English basic sentence components. I chose to teach the two
concepts and the yes/no question test, based on their writing samples. Analyzing their
writing, previous to the mini-lesson, I could notice that they are advanced English users. I
also noticed that their sentences could be more sophisticated, and by helping them to
understand the English basic sentence structure, I believe that I will be able to guide them
to properly add information and develop their sentences.
I believe that my objective with the mini-lesson was partially accomplished. I
think that it helped the tutees to get more familiarized with the subject and predicate
concepts, and it also helped them to identify the English basic sentence structure. I also
think that I should have given more time for the tutees to reflect upon the concepts and
for them to come up with their own conclusions. I feel that I was too eager to give my

explanations, and that I did not give enough time for them to come to their own
This tutoring mini-lesson made me think of the importance of inductively
introducing a new topic to the students, allowing them to come up with their own
conclusions, before giving an explicit explanation. I have also been thinking about the
value of guiding the students through the simplest structures, instead of assuming that
they know and understand it.

Describing the mini-lesson

My first tutoring mini-lesson took place on Saturday (10/18), from 1 to 2 pm. Three
students attended the mini-lesson. I believe that overall the mini-lesson went well, but
there are a few things that I would like to improve for the next mini-lesson.
To start the mini lesson, I gave a simple puzzle for the tutees to put together, and
after they had done it, I explained that sentences in English work as a puzzle, and each
component has its own place in the structure. To follow up, I gave the tutees a number of
subjects and predicates for them to put together and make sentences. The subjects
and predicates were separated in two different colors. The tutees put the sentences
together, and I played around with the sentences, mixing and matching subjects and
predicates, asking them to point out if they did not agree with my arrangements (two
subjects, or two predicates, for example) . In the sequence, I asked them to think about

the components of a sentence and to list a few of them. They mentioned subject and
predicate right away. They also mentioned verbs, nouns, and adjectives.
Following with the mini-lesson, I asked the tutees to choose two sentences from
the ones that they had put together, and to answer the three following questions: Who is
the sentence about? What does it tell you? What or who does it describe?. After they had
shared their ideas, I explained the two different concepts (subject and predicate), and I
asked them to write down the definition.
In the sequence, I jumped to the yes/no question test, and here is where I would
do differently next time. I feel that it was too rushed, and that I should have worked more
with the subject and predicate.
I gave the tutees a group of sentences and guided them to tear the words apart, in
order for them to turn the sentences into questions. The last sentence was not an English
basic sentence and they were not able to turn it into a yes/no question. I gave some time
for them to think about it, and to give me the reason why this happened. I explained that
they were not able to turn the given sentence into a question because it was not an
English basic sentence. So, I asked them to give me their definition of sentence. They had
some difficulty to give me a definition, so I helped them through it, and I gave the
English basic sentence concept for them to write down.
After we talked a little more about the definition that I had just given, and after I
showed them how to identify the subject and predicate by turning the sentence into a
yes/no question, I asked the two tutees (one of the tutees arrived about 30 minutes late) to
explain what they had learnt in the mini-lesson, to the person who had just arrived.

Going over the mini-lesson was a way to see what they had taken from the
meeting. I noticed that I should have worked more with the subject and predicate
definitions. Perhaps I could have given a group of sentences for them to try to identify the
given components, or I could have given more time for them to think and analyze before
I gave the explicit explanations. I also noticed that they were able to make yes/no
questions with the sentences that I gave, but I will have to work more with it, and help
them to identify the other families of auxiliaries to make yes/no questions. The sentences
I gave only had the To Be family.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the mini-lesson went well, but there are a
few things that I will have to improve for next time.