This week’s Chapter 5 book study is hosted by Jenn and Deb. Although I’m still enjoying this book and the authors’ philosophy very much, this was the first chapter (the writing part) that I couldn’t see fitting, as described, right into place in my classroom.
Writing is the fourth component in the Daily 5. As with the other independent time, teachers should introduce the writing component with direct instruction, modeling, practice, and more modeling. Gradually students build up their writing stamina much like they do with their reading stamina. We’re hoping to increase the students enjoyment of writing during this time. They are given the chance to write about what THEY want to write about. For some students, this will be so much fun. For others though, it will be a challenge because they are so used to teachers telling them what to write about. Focus lessons are important, especially to those students who will struggle, to introduce skills that they will need for their independent writing. This component reminds me of Lucy Calkins’ Writers Workshop.
And this is where my apprehension comes in…we have a district writing program that takes up most if not all of our allotted writing time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good program and the kids do well with it, but it is more prescriptive and there isn’t much choice because we are preparing for district and state writing tests. As much as I would enjoy implementing writers workshop and allow all this choice, I’m really struggling with how to fit all of it in and/or allow for both programs to co-exist.
Luckily, I think I’ve talked my work husband and 2nd grade teammate into delving into the Daily 5 as well. He and I have been discussing the components this summer, and I think we’ve come up with a plan for the writing component by just tweaking it a bit. We aren’t going to be able to do the all the conferencing and editing and rewriting with the Daily 5 writing because we have to do that with our own writing program, but we’ve decided that our kids should STILL be able to write for enjoyment during the Daily 5 time. Students will have notebooks/journals that they keep in their book boxes. When it’s their writing time, they can write in their notebooks. We plan on still using the focus lessons (hopefully linking them to our district program) and Author’s Chair, maybe a 2 or 3 each day for a chance to talk about writing. The kids, however, won’t be required to take their independent writing to publishing. I think we can manage to do both if we just trim a bit off the D5 piece. If you are already using the program, I’d love to hear your thoughts on our adjustments. Or please share how you’ve managed to fit it in.
The fifth and final component is word work. This one is probably the most engaging of the five. The word work component is how students can practice their spelling and vocabulary using various methods – pencil/paper tasks, magnetic letters, wiki sticks, chalk/whiteboards, flash cards, etc. Most of us have used word work in centers but in the Daily 5 the practice is done every day which is so valuable. Second grade has several vocabulary skills (synonyms/antonyms, compound words, multiple meaning words, prefixes/suffixes, etc) that are important for vocab development AND are heavily tested. Previously, we’ve used
“seatwork time” as practice of these skills. In order to make the Daily 5 fit in our day, I think that seatwork time will be (happily) eliminated. Those skills will need to be addressed somewhere else though, so it is imperative that our word work time includes not only spelling and sight words, but also our vocabulary skills.
Teachers introduce and practice this piece like the previous four. However, modeling is taken a step further as this part my have materials that will need to be taken out, cleaned up, and put away correctly.
I’ve spent the last couple of days in my new classroom unpacking boxes. Even though it’s a chaotic mess right now, while unpacking my language arts boxes today I found so many materials that would be great for word work. It was fun to set up the materials in the cupboards with the understanding that they were for Daily 5.
If you’re participating in the book study and have posted about it, be sure to add it to the blog hop. Here’s the linky thingy…