Sunday, January 27, 2013

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

Wow! I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post! Time sure does fly. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my online Daily 5/CAFE class that was about to begin. The fourth week is about to begin, and it's going by so quickly. We just finished a study on The Daily Five book, and The CAFE Book will be the focus for the remaining weeks. I first got interested in The Daily Five when the book was first published (2006). It was during the summer, and I was starting to think about the next school year. Centers/stations (whatever you want to call them) always held value for me, but I could just never quite get them to work the way I envisioned them to. Well, after reading a little book blurb about The Daily Five, from an Amazon email of recommended books, I knew I had to get this book! I ordered it immediately, and when it came, I read it cover to cover in no time.

Throughout the years, I implemented The Daily 5 the way I thought it should be implemented. I even ran a book club on this book with colleagues. But, something just never clicked. It wasn't until the latest read through this book, along with numerous discussions and assignments for my current course, that I had the "Ah-ha" moment. 

I finally relinquished control and gave my students choice over what Daily 5 tasks they wanted to do. Up until a few weeks ago, I still held control over what literacy task they did (and the order that they did them in). After reading current research that backs up the importance of student choice (within structure), I finally decided to give the choice over to my students. After explaining the new way of doing things, they were super excited. 

Students look forward to doing their "dailies", they are much more motivated and they are tying their work to their individual reading/ writing goals. I believe this time is much more productive, as I can meet with a few reading groups a day and not be interrupted or have students off-task. 

In the near future, I plan to post more of what I learn from this course, along with tips on how to implement both of these structures in any classroom. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Currently January

It's that time again to do Farley's Currently for January. I love reading other people's "Currently" lists. 

I just opened up my TPT store with a little freebie to use in a writing station. Since my goal is to simplify, I did just that with my writing station. I put away all of the little writing activities I had out because I was getting frustrated...frustrated that my kids weren't doing "real" writing. The only things I have out are their Writing Station Journals and the January Writing Prompt Menu I created (my freebie). I explained more about the menu in my store, on the 2nd page of the menu. My students' writing has much improved, and so has their motivation since they know they will have the opportunity to read their writing during our "check-ins"

Monday begins the Daily 5/CAFE grad class I am in. Some of you contacted me to find out how to get into the class/to find out more information. If you look at (University of Iowa), you should be able to find information. There will be a new session opening up soon. You can also go onto the Daily 5/CAFE site-that's where I first found out about it. And, the cost was so reasonable...$400-something!!! You can't beat that for a grad class!!! I am super excited.

If you do check out, and download, my freebie, please leave some feedback. I'd like to know if anyone used it/liked it.