I actually started my Daily 5 journey back in January when I discovered the book. I read it quickly and then reread it. Such simple ideas to make my teaching easier and more productive. I couldn't wait to get started.
Chapter 1 takes us through the evolution of our teaching style. The authors discuss how they went from full teacher control of the classroom to giving more choices to their students and releasing some of that power.
I know this sounds scary. How many of you want to give your kids all those choices? I envision mass chaos in the classroom doing this! I fully admit to being a Control Freak!
But as you read on and begin to implement these ideas you really do see children taking ownership and becoming more responsible for themselves and their peers!
These are some excellent questions to help you get started on your journey:
1. On pages 4-6 the author's present 2 different pictures for their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on you own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block? Does it look more like the 1st or 2nd scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it?
In my classroom I use centers during my main literacy block. Each child rotates through a set schedule while I meet with a particular group. I was in full control of this. I had a scheduling map, certain centers, and who was in each group. Again, control freak. The kids loved most of the centers, but I was always getting up and talking to someone or answering questions, or helping with the computer or..... I was maybe getting in a quality 10 minutes with my guided reading group. Sounds like the first scenario in the book.
Okay so I want to give my students more control, but how? A phrase you will learn in this book is-"Building Stamina". Building stamina is giving your students time to practice and add a little more each time. The sisters take you step by step on how to give your students that control and let you work more efficiently. "Work smarter, not harder!"
I am so excited to begin my year slowly building stamina with my students and teaching them explicitly how they should be working in the classroom during our literacy time. This takes time, and you need to go through the process for this to work, but it pays off in the end!
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?
This is such a powerful question to make you reflect on what is happening in your classroom. I know I have all these cute centers set up and it looks wonderful, but what are they really gaining from these activities? Is filling out that worksheet helping them to become indpendent learners or did they just copy from their partner? If Johnny is really engaged in reading why did he just get up to go to the bathroom for the 3rd time?
I had to really look hard at my class and be honest with myself. Some of my students were fully engaged and many of them were off task...alot! How do I get them to stay on task and engaged when I am not hovering? The next few chapters will get more into this:)
3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?
I think the main thing again for me is the independence of your students. The more control you have in your classroom, the less independence children develop. If you want your students to take control of their learning, you have to give them some choices. What's great about the Daily 5 is that it gives choices within limits.
Daily 5 Structure:
Read To Yourself
Read To Someone
Work on Writing
Listen to Reading
Spelling/ Word Work
In my literacy block I usually had 6-8 centers going at once. Students were all over the place. They couldn't remember what each center was and they spent so much time transitioning, that their time for reading and writing was greatly diminished. By setting up, teaching the structure and giving your students time to practice these skills, the on task time will greatly increase.
There is so much to explore and I look forward to delving into the next chapters for more in depth ideas and ways to get started.
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