While attending a district curriculum meeting earlier this school year, a colleague of mine from another school told me about a great literacy “program” called The Daily 5 (D5), written by Gaily Boushey and Joan Moser, she started this year. I was intrigued because my 2nd grade team and I have spent the last couple of years researching and trying new ideas to add explicit reading time into our day. Michelle loaned me her books, and I planned to delve into them over the summer. Then just last week, another colleague at my own school told us about an online book study hosted by Seusstastic Classroom and Teaching with Style on the very book I had planned to read. It started this week, and I studiously read chapter one last night.
Since I’m not a teacher blogger (just a teacher who happens to blog) I was on the fence on whether I would participate via my blog or not. But I’d like to take advantage of the links and ideas of those who are using the program and also, possibly, get some questions I have answered. If you are one of my regular readers, feel free to join in on the discussion if you wish. If not, these posts will just be once a week for a few weeks. Let’s see how it goes!
Book Study Questions
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?
We’ve worked really hard over the last year or so to add a lot more independent reading time to our day, but we’ve struggled, like most teachers do, fitting IT all in. I’ve felt a little tethered to the 3-4 leveled group reading rotation, with various centers, computer time, and standards based seatwork. After the first few months it runs decently with few interruptions, but I have always felt the time away from the group wasn’t as quality as I’d like. I want them reading during that time, but the lack of independence and ability to choose appropriate books has been so challenging. I am SO excited by the idea of the reading, word work, and writing being done during this time AND independently. I also like the idea of letting go of the idea that work product is necessary to show that something was accomplished. I know that, but it’s good to hear it again.
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?
To be perfectly honest, most of what we do at my school is creating quality test takers. The activities we do are mostly skill/vocab based because, as most of my students are ELL, their vocab is VERY limited and over half the state testing is vocab based. I know that this is not the way to teach reading, but we’ve been under so much pressure that’s how we’ve done it. Which is why I’m STARVING for ways of creating readers. Since actual writing (just multiple choice questions about writing) is not part of the standardized testing, I’ve had much more freedom with what I do during that block of time. Although the writing genres are dictated by the district (summary of narrative, summary of expository, and narrative writing). We write all the time. The kids read quality writing in picture books and stories. I model for them and they model for each other. I do wish to give them more freedom in their writing – what they want to write about. Again, since we have genres we must do, I struggle with adding new ones. I’m hoping D5 will allow for that during the independent time.
3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?
Literacy based independence that increases the kids’ enjoyment of reading. Due to this independence, the activities they do on their own are directly related to becoming a better reader. How great is that!!!
I do have some questions that I’m hoping those already using D5 can answer, or maybe they will be answered later in the book…
1. Where does phonics instruction fit in? Is it part of the Daily 5 block or done during a different time.
2. During the time the teacher is working with students (as shown in the model) is this where the leveled groups would be or are they more heterogeneous groups based on specific skills as needed?
I’m so VERY excited to study this book further. I’m in need of something new and student (instead of test) focused injected into my program. This might be it! You can visit others who are participating in the book study or add your blog post about it below using the linky thingy below.