Yeah! I found my book!!! I have been packing my classroom and have about 30 boxes. It was not too hard to find the book I needed! This poor book! It is one of the few I have that has been spilled on, bent, dented and probably torn! I am usually super careful with the condition of my books, but this one has just had so much use as a resource. It ranks up there with the Guided Reading resources from Fountas and Pinnell!
Link up with the book study here:
Oh, my! How I love D5!!! Well, not everything about it, but it was the first philosophy that really stuck with me as a teacher. I loath ticky-tacky centers! I get pulled in every once and a while, but the idea of all sorts of file folder games and trinkets and tons of rotating things that I have to spend extra time creating and/or setting up gives me hives! I use a version of the D5 in my classroom that incorporates the conference process into guided reading.
Any who, before I get carried away, here are my thoughts on the first chapter, which is mostly about the philosophy:
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?
First, I really like that the Sisters talk about the evolution of their philosophy and they are still allowing it to evolve. So often, we either get stuck in one way of thinking or we do not aknowledge and reflect on our own growth as professionals – it just gets lost in the shuffle.
I find that my classroom is very independent. This changes each year, though. I have used D5 for 4 years in first grade and the independence of your students really depends on how much groundwork you lay, the systems you set up, and taking the time to go through the process. The spread of D5 in our district, as well as research in best practice, has encouraged us all to slow down and make sure the procedures are in place. This was a big change from the first few years when I was in this position! The earlier you started guided reading, the better! Now we are encouraged to take 6-8 weeks to develop our structure. I find that, with report cards going out in the middle of November, I really push the procedures for about 6 weeks.
I also love the philosophy of choice! I have guided choice in my classroom. I actually found that my students did not want unlimited choices – yes, I actually interview them at the end of the year to find out what they liked and what they didn’t. For example, I use MP3s for listening centers. I tried having numerous choices of books and little was accomplished. When I loads 4-6 stories, the kids had an easier time choosing and getting started. Rather than having an open policy with work on writing, I will pull out a choice of 2 activities (i.e. squiggle writing and journal sticks). This gives choice without wasting learning time.
Building stamina is critical! I love to related this to PE. Our students work up to running a certain distance in PE and it is a natural discussion. They understand that reading is exercise too and that we need to build up our time.
Finally, one area where I found a significant effect in my classroom was having a mini-lesson break between “centers” for a mini-lesson. This has allowed my students to stay on task and be focused during D5. I only do 1 mini-lesson in the middle, however. More about that later!
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 a huge change for me! We have lots of benchmarks and when I first started teaching, I was uber focused on sight word acquisition, spelling words, and phonics. I found that reducing the activities allowed students to focus on the learning, rather than the task. My kiddos achieved higher levels more quickly because they were immersed in the learning and were provided with.
Posters from Kindertastic
3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?
I have a tough time with this one, because I was teaching a different grade in a different school prior to using D5. Since I was teaching older kids, they had assigned reading for reading group, a writing assignment, and spelling worksheets. When I taught 1st in a different district, it was entirely basal reader based – so worksheets and provided games. Not my choice :) My structure is much more based on choice and independence that it ever was with Daily 5. The activities are also more student generated and open-ended.
Here are some quick pics of how D5 runs in my classroom – more to come later! You can also click on the side bar to go to my previous posts.