I spent yesterday making airport runs. It was a drop off for Jason who is visiting family in Italy for a couple of weeks and a pick up for my mom who returned from traveling around the Baltic States for a few weeks. And what have I been doing for the summer? Thinking about school!
I’m also thinking it’s time for a trip abroad some time soon too, but that will have to be another post. This Daily 5 deal has got my wheels spinning. Chapter 7, the final chapter, packaged up all the components nicely and gave some answers to common questions.
Some key points that I want to remember (since my book got to go to Italy with Jason I’m just going off my notes here, hopefully I remember correctly)...
- To ensure success with Daily 5 right off the bat, it’s important to spend the time teaching the kids how to participate in each component and what the expectations are. In addition, the procedures MUST be modeled and practiced numerous times. The authors included a recommended plan for introducing each part at the beginning of the school year. It takes about a month if going by their plan. That length of time initially gave me pause, as we start our instruction IMMEDIATELY when the year starts. However, I’m going to do my best to fit it in and make it work. If the kids aren’t independent with the D5 it will not be successful.
- After the first month of introducing and practicing, students are given total choice in how they complete their Daily 5. Again, that caused a panicked moment, but as I thought about it more it sounds great. No more rotation charts. Less for the teacher to worry about. The authors talk about TRUST. If the kids are well prepared on what they have to do, they can be trusted to do it. Only after someone shows you they are struggling do you step in and address his/her challenge.
- After each portion of the D5, the teacher pulls the students back to the carpet for some type of instruction before sending them back out for the next part of independent time. The authors recommend a “check in” before each component. Each student thinks about what they wish to do next and the teacher asks them to share. After sharing, the teacher asks them to close their eyes and visualize themselves doing their chosen part correctly. Then students are dismissed by component in order to avoid a stampede.
- If a degree of teacher control for certain students is unavoidable some ideas were offered on how to go about it without being too invasive in the D5 process. One of those ways is arranging the room by component. Having set places to go can eliminate disruption for those kids having trouble choosing an appropriate place to work. Another option is a set schedule made by the teacher. I’m hoping to avoid that one if possible, but it may be necessary for some kids who aren’t yet able to handle the independence.
- My favorite part of this book was about work product. Again, coming from a very heavy test-prep environment, skill practice seatwork has been a mainstay in my classroom for years. Sometimes that practice has been effective, but a lot of time it ends up just being busy work. I really liked the concept of “practice + independence = accountability”. Basically, if the kids are doing the D5 correctly, there isn’t a need for a whole lot of worksheet practice which is music to my ears. This is my philosophy when I’m in GLAD mode, so it will be such a relief to have that spill over into the core part of my language arts time. Yay!
The authors kind of addressed using the D5 with English Language Learners (ELLs). But I didn’t feel they addressed my biggest concern. Working with ELLs is all about expectations. If expectations are dumbed down, then those kids won’t meet standards. I think this program will work remarkably with all kids regardless of ELL level. One question I have that wasn’t addressed is about the transiency rate that many of our large ELL population schools have. Since I’ve been teaching I’ve had anywhere from 5 to 12 students come and go from my classroom each year. Something as procedure based and stamina based as the D5 will make transiency difficult. Has anyone come up with tricks for integrating new students quickly and easily into the D5? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
So as summer break is winding down, I’ve got a few things I need to wrap my mind around before implementation – daily schedule (fitting it all in), how to organize my library (in my new classroom) so it’s accessible to both my students and to me, getting books on tape put onto CDs or mp3 players, and setting up the stations for each component. It’s a lot to think about
especially when friends and family are off gallivanting around Europe, but it’s the first time in a few years that I’ve been excited about my language arts instruction. The authors’ next book TheCafe Book is sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Sisters suggest assessing within the Daily 5 classroom.
Here’s the linky thingy