This is really a combination of chapters one and two since I am a little behind. Next week, I am hosting Chapter 3, so I really need to get on the ball!
Side note: Now that I am ready to write about these chapters, my lovely cat has decided this would be a great time to crawl in my lap. Not easy typing on my laptop around the cat. ☺
I have no experience with the Daily 5. I picked up on the excitement of other wonderful teacher bloggers I know and decided that I need to find out what all the fuss was about.
The very first thing that caught my eye when I started reading chapter one was the quote by Regie Routman, "The typical teacher has children doing a lot of 'stuff.' How is what I am having children do creating readers and writers?" (page 3) Perfect question! Just a few paragraphs later the sisters say, "...did those things just keep our kids busy, or were they engaged in literacy tasks that will make a difference in their literate lives?" (page 4) It got me thinking: Was I just keeping my kids busy? Were the tasks authentic and important to their "literate lives?" Were my students spending copious amounts of time reading and writing? If the answer to the last two questions wasn't yes, then I had to change what was going on in my classroom! In my mind, I understand that students need to practice reading and writing to be successful at it. But I don't think I was always using that independent classroom time effectively.
So how do I go about changing the environment and structure in my classroom to make it a place where reading and writing happen all the time? That's where chapter two comes in.
Daily 5 has a core foundation: trust, choice, community, urgency, stamina, and staying out of the way. I can already tell you that "staying out of the way" is my weak point.
Trust - The sisters asked a question that stuck with me, "What am I doing now that I could trust the kids to do? and In what ways could I trust children where I haven't before?" (page 19). I am a small case of teacher OCD (or really a big case). However, to create an environment where reading and writing could happen uninterrupted, I had to let go a little a TRUST my students. I want to but I think I am going to have to take baby steps. ☺ The last sentence in this section also stood out to me: "We Would underestimate our students' abilities because we thought kids could not read or write that long on their own" (page 19). I know I was underestimating my students at times this year. For the past nine years, I worked with middle school students. Then this year I am working with PK-3rd grade, heavily with first grade. At times, my expectations weren't high enough because I kept thinking, "they are only in first grade." But what does that really mean? As I became more comfortable with the 'little ones' (as I refer to them b/c I had some huge seventh grade students!), I realized that I was lowering my expectations too low.
Stamina - When I was working with students this year, we were working on learning how effectively get our message across to our readers. I struggled at the beginning because I expected my students to jump right in and write, write, write and stay on task with no practice, no lead up. We hadn't built up their stamina! Stamina does not come naturally. It must be taught like every other academic skill we want our students to know. I back tracked. I started slow and sentence by sentence we worked to create writing stamina. Reading works the same way. Minute by minute.
What's next? We know the foundation that Daily 5 is built on. Now, we need to work on launching the Daily 5 through routines. I (along with the wonderful Melissa from Mrs. Freshwater's Class) will be hosting chapter 3: What's the Difference?: Key Materials, Concepts, and Routines for Launching the Daily Five.
Here are few guiding questions to think about as you read chapter three:
- Why is a gathering place important?
- How did your students progess with picking appropriate books? What went well? What had to be changed?
- What rituals and routines do you need to teach for this structure to be successful?
- (If you are already implementing) How did you adapt the rituals and routines introduced in this chapter to make them successful for your students?
- What is one statement that stood out above everything in this chapter?
Remember to come back next Wednesday to hear my thoughts (and others...there will be a linky so can link up your thoughts) on chapter 3.
Make sure you check out Nicole from Teaching With Style as she was the hostess for chapter two.