Saturday, June 23, 2012

daily five ((chapter two))

 In between some embarrassingly slow swimming (a 3:08 200 fly, gah that's like 55 seconds off my best time!) I managed to gather my thoughts on Chapter Two of the Daily Five. Here we go!

1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? What support do you need to do this?

My Goals:
- Provide instruction that supports independence
- Find more ways for children to take ownership and responsibility in their learning and in our classroom
- Provide a structure to support literacy learning and allow learning to continue outside of direct instruction

Supports Needed:
- A procedure for teaching D5 to mid-year placements. I'm thinking of making a class book/social story with photo support in addition to whole class "reminder lessons." I think adding new students is a bigger deal in my room, because they usually have severe behavioral or emotional needs at first. How does your class handle acclimating new students, in general?
- I need to add some additional supplies to my room to have some choices for Word Work. 
- How can my paraprofessional and I support students with difficulties without "getting in the way?" If you have one, what is the role of your parapro/assistant during D5?

2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter? 

I think the anecdote about staying out of the way is significant. I think this will be a challenge for me, because my students expect me to intervene with everything. I have been working on it with them this year, but need to refrain if I want them to become independent.

3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?

Trust: I think this is a big area for me to work on. I think that I am hesitant to trust some of my students sometimes, because they sometimes say and do things that reinforce the belief that they are not completely trustworthy. Yet if they're never trusted with independence, will they ever learn it? I think that I need to operate under the assumption that all my students can be trusted with more responsibility if they are given proper instruction and support. 

Choice: This is definitely one of my beliefs that I try to incorporate into my teaching practice. I want to continue improving on this year by making sure that I provide activities that students want to choose. This is sometimes hard for me, because I have to think "outside the box," so to speak. Many of my students do not enjoy activities that other students might enjoy. We spent a significant amount of time this year learning to play games together. Although all but my most recent arrivals can participate successfully in a group game, some don't seem to have any fun doing it. Except for my students with specific special interests, many of my littles cannot identify anything they are interested in or enjoy doing. This makes it a little more challenging, and I want to get better at finding things that interest them. 

Community: My room's population was not stable this year. We had our paraprofessional leave early in the year, and the second adult in the room was new every day for a while. Finally I got an awesome long-term sub, but she was unable to take the actual position. We didn't have stability in that sense until after the semester-end. With the littles, we had one out for a long-term, four leave, and six placed after the year began. Even among those there all year, we had many service minute and service schedule changes. Our community was not stable and, with my program including resource/itinerant students, community-building in my room looks different. I think that I will make sure to make an effort to build a sense of community program-wide, so that all my students know each other. This will translate to support for littles that are suddenly put into my literacy block; their classmates will help support their learning Daily Five procedures.

Sense of Urgency: Everything seems easier to accomplish when you know the why, I think. My challenge is in giving meaningful why's. I need to be better at convincing children that reading is fun, as most of mine arrive to me firmly planted in the reading-isn't-fun camp. Convincing them of necessity is not a valid fallback. Why do I need to learn to read, if my mom and dad can't? Expectations in older grades are irrelevant for them, and bad grades are not deterrents. When I told one little that he would need to be able to read a write to get a job, he seriously informed me he wanted to be a hobo when he grew up. I have to be able to convince them it is fun. I have done so with many of them, but others are still unconvinced.

Stamina: We practiced building our stamina with Read to Self last school year, and this makes so much sense to me. To go off the exercise metaphor in the book. . .  I just started swimming again, after taking most of four years off. One of my coworkers, who had only ever swam summer league, expressed surprise when I got in at the beginning of the summer and kept up with the high schoolers for their first hour of practice. "Do you- you haven't been swimming?" But I had a lot prior experience, I used to swim 90 minutes in the morning and 2.5 hours at night. Our kids are like this, too. Some have that experience of occupying themselves at a task independently, some are the metaphorical kid squalling at the side of the pool because they've never been in the water. Taking the time to build stamina brings everyone up to speed.  

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