I have been wanting to re-read The Daily 5 for awhile now. I have been implementing the Daily 5 in my classroom for about 2 years. I initially began when I was teaching 2nd grade and like Gail and Joan write about in the book, I was SO exhausted with grading “busy work.” I took a long, hard look at what I was teaching my students and then opted for change (and an easier way)! I am so excited to be joining this book study with other teacher bloggers around the country! **Please note that the following is only my opinion and thoughts on how I implement D5 in my classroom. These thoughts and ideas are not endorsed by the 2 sisters or their publisher Stenhouse.
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?
My classroom used to look like the first scenario presented in the book. This was during my first 4 years of teaching… You could enter my classroom and see me doing Guided Reading groups, but I was being interrupted, there were children off task, etc. I was spending SO much time creating centers and grading the “busy work” I was giving my students. I felt like the children had to be “doing something” or else they might look like they weren’t engaged in learning. Surely just reading a book wasn’t enough!
I purchased The Daily 5 and began implementing it with my 2nd graders during the last half of the school year in 2011. I. WAS. AMAZED. My students totally floored me with all of the reading and writing they were doing! There were children reading with partners, children writing chapter books together… I could see so much learning going on and the students were all on task! Of course, we spent a good deal of time practicing behaviors, but for the most part I noticed that the students took ownership in their learning and they would encourage others to make good choices too.
To improve on what I’ve already been implementing with my students, I would like to set up my Daily 5 literacy block just as Gail and Joan mention in the book. I would love to set aside a 2 hour block of time and combine my reading/writing instruction. During this past school year I had two separate time frames for each subject area. I would love to implement the Daily 5 in it’s true form.
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?
In my experiences, I have found that when tasks are meaningful for the students, they learn more and this is what the Daily 5 helps to provide. When observing my students complete their Daily 5 activities, I see students reading independently from their book bags with just right books, a group of students reading a Reader’s Theater script together, a group of students listening to reading using headphones and a CD player, students writing in their journals, creating lists, or writing letters to friends and family, and students working to create words and practice word families or other spelling skills. I can hear the encouragement my students provide for one another when one of them says, “You did a great job reading that part! Now let’s read this poem together!” I know that these experiences are creating lifelong readers and writers because not only do my assessments show growth, but my students are learning to enjoy reading and writing and it is a task that they look forward to each day.
3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?
The Daily 5 structure is wonderful for my students because it provides them with meaningful reading and writing opportunities. The students have freedom to choose their own activities and work on goals that they have set for themselves. They are not limited to a worksheet or basal reader… they have an abundance of tools and resources from which to construct their own knowledge, work with peers, and develop a lifelong love for reading and writing.
Listed below are some resources that I’ve created to help keep my students organized! I’ve also included my parent packet that helps explain literacy activities and ways that parents can help their child at home. Don’t use Daily 5? Don’t worry! The documents below were created with all classrooms in mind and will work with any balanced literacy program!