Thursday, June 14, 2012

the daily five ((chapter one))

So, I mentioned a while back that I thought I may need to re-read The Daily Five if I was going to try implementing such a management style during my classroom's literacy block this year. Quite helpfully, Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations and Teaching with Style  are hosting a Daily 5 book study. I've fired up my nook and am set to review Chapter 1. Here we go . . . 

Chapter 1 Discussion Questions:

1. On pages 4-6, the authors present two different pictures of their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on your own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block? Does it look more like the first or second scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it?

In the first senario, the primary descriptors are "putting out fires" and "preparing for and reviewing busywork." In the second, "working independently" is the phrase that stands out to me. It's telling how the former describes teacher actions, while the latter describes students. Truthfully, I think my classroom seems more like the first senario. I don't prepare a whole lot of busywork, but I do spend a lot of time putting out fires. I'd like to partially attribute this to the nature of my class (after all, no one shows up in my room because they're good at staying on task,) but I think I can do more to foster independence. A lot of my students have improved greatly over the last year, and I think that they can serve as models for new-coming students if properly taught. 

2. The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers?

My students are engaged in reading practice in individual or very-small-group instruction using our reading program for around 30 minutes per day. While other students are receiving instruction, students are . . . completing a worksheet or reading to themselves. I also have literacy centers, but usually use them with my morning group rather than my mid-morning literacy group. 

I know worksheets get a bad rap, but I use a single one per day for two reasons 1) my kids don't mind them because as long as they keep working they're left alone and 2) I need to use them to implement the program I use with fidelity. I think they do help with reading, but I think they could be done as homework instead (many do not complete their reading at home because of lack of help at home/daycare, this would be something requiring no adult assistance.) 

I think that my read-to-self time has helped improve reading stamina, interest, and fluency . . . except for my littles who were assigned to my room late in the year. I think that booster sessions on good-fit books and read-to-self behaviors will be essential.
3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?  

Students are expected to work independently for longer periods of time. I already allow a lot of choice in my classroom, but this system will give more structure to choices. Also, the addition of mini-lessons is different. I do not currently do much whole-group instruction. I think that this will be a organizational system that is much more suited to my style of individual reading instruction and will help tie individual learning into whole-group lessons.

I am really interested in implementing Daily 5, but am kind of concerned about doing something requiring so much independence when some children are put in my class specifically because of difficulties meeting expectations independently. I'm really hoping to find more SpEd teachers who do this, in order to get some more ideas!


  1. I'm visiting via the Daily 5 book study. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on chapter one. I'm moving to second grade next year after being in 3rd for fourteen years, and have decided to implement Daily 5 and CAFE. I am beyond excited! I'm your newest follower! :)

    Waving from The Teacher's Chatterbox,

    1. Thanks for visiting! I'm teaching some of our third grade next year, too, in addition to my K-2. I'll be following your blog now as well!


  2. Building stamina and constantly revisiting makes a huge difference when working with children with behavioral issues. Modifying things a bit--"I need you to choice a space here or here" helps, as does more modeling and practice. I still have issues with those kids, but not as many as I would have expected. Not SpEd, but hope that helps!

  3. I hear you on the worksheet thing. I have to do a couple each day. However, like you, I am very selective :) I am STILL waiting for my books to arrive. I hope to be chiming in next week. Loved reading your ideas . . . I'll be back.

    Kelley Dolling
    Teacher Idea Factory

    1. Thanks! (And thanks for the worksheet support. I am not super in-favor of them, but so many people are violently against them that I hate to even own up to using one a day.)