I’ve just returned from a trip to the beach! It was so nice to read chapter 2 of The Daily 5 while sitting on the balcony drinking my coffee! **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.
When setting up the structure for D5, the sisters list the following as their core foundations:
- Trusting Students
- Providing Choice
- Nurturing Community
- Creating a Sense of Urgency
- Building Stamina
- Staying Out of Students’ Way
When I first began D5 in my classroom, trusting students was very hard for me. I kept thinking that if I didn’t continually “check” on the students, how would they stay on task? Surely if I left them alone and trusted them, they would get off task. I was surprised to find that as I modeled each part of the D5 for students and as they learned, discussed, and practiced expectations, they did indeed become responsible for their own learning. I do trust my students now and can see how if they know what is expected, that is what they will strive to do.
Choice is one of my favorite parts of D5! I believe that it is highly motivating for the students to choose the order of their D5 activities. I have my students schedule their D5 activities using schedule cards. These schedule cards will work with any balanced literacy program! You can find them here on TpT. Since using these cards with my students, I have observed them taking time to think about their reading and writing goals. I hear statements like, “Let’s do writing first today so we can finish that chapter book we’re writing together!”
In order to successfully thrive in any learning environment, all students must feel safe, secure, and valued. In my classroom, I use bucket fillers, compliments, Class Dojo, and a behavior clip chart.
To build classroom community, I always read Have you filled a bucket today? by Carol McCloud. The students have their own “bucket” that can be filled with notes of encouragement from their teacher or classmates.
The students can earn compliments for anything! These compliments can come from myself, other teachers, classmates, parents… To keep up with our compliments I use the “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” tree. Whenever our class earns a compliment I add a letter to the tree! When we have earned all 26 letters the students choose a reward such as extra recess, special snack, guest reader, etc…
Another favorite management tool that I use is Class Dojo. This resource is FREE and it can be used to reward students for behavior, good choices, staying on task, encouraging others… You can set it up however you want! I also use a color-coded behavior chart. One of my goals is to revamp this behavior chart and I would love to incorporate it with Class Dojo… This is a summer project I’m working on right now! I feel that with all of these strategies combined, my students create a wonderful learning community!
Sense of Urgency
Students must create a sense of urgency for their own learning. As teachers, it is our job to make the students aware of what they are learning and WHY. The students must understand WHY each D5 activity is important to their reading and writing development. Once the students understand WHY they complete each task, they will take ownership of and guard their own learning opportunities. I observed this in my classroom one day when a little girl walked across the classroom. She whispered quietly to two boys who had gotten off-task during read to someone. She said, “Will you please whisper read to each other? I can’t concentrate on my book because you’re so loud and I’m trying to move my reading level up to Level J.”
This school year I want to build the students reading and writing stamina just as “the sisters” suggest in their book. I would love to use a stamina graph or thermometer to help the students track their progress. I can see how this would be very motivating for the students to see how far they have progressed!
Stay Out of the Way
I think this is probably the hardest part of D5! It is so hard to fight those teacher instincts and not praise students for good choices or behavior. It is even harder not to correct off-task behavior! From my experience with D5 (and I’m learning more every year!) I truly believe that even as young as Kindergarten, students can become responsible, independent learners. With proper modeling, practice, and shared expectations any classroom can be successful in implementing the core foundations of the Daily 5.
I created a freebie for you that you can pick up in my TpT store! I created a Daily 5 Goal Setting poster that I plan to use with my schedule cards. My goal is for my students to reflect on their D5 choices and to discuss these choices with classmates. If you like this freebie, please leave feedback on TpT and follow my TpT store!