Monday, April 21, 2014

The Daily 5 Online Book Club, Chapter 6 (Foundation Lessons)

Chapter 6: Foundation Lessons-
Like all chapters in this book, Chapter 6 opens up with another great quote. It reads, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." -Socrates

Wow, this is so true in many areas of my life. I'm sure you can closely relate too. 

As mentioned in the previous chapter, foundation lessons are used in the first few days (and also whenever needed) of teaching Daily 5 activities. In those first few days, students' stamina is not yet built up, and routines are just beginning to be taught. You will have gaps of time that will eventually be filled with literacy routines (Daily 5). Before any Daily 5 activity is to be taught, there are a number of foundation lessons that need to be taught (these work very well to fill those gaps of time). All of the foundation lessons follow the Ten Steps to Independence (as discussed in earlier posts).

For each of the Daily 5 activities, there is a set of recommended foundation lessons (discussed in this chapter and also in the appendix. Chapter 5 shines a spotlight on one (or more) of each of the recommended foundation lessons for each of the five activities. 

Read-to-Self Foundation Lessons (more in Appendix B):
The foundation lesson for "Choose a Successful Spot" is highlighted in this chapter. In the beginning, the teacher chooses students' spots for Read-to-Self. But, since students need to learn how to do this for themselves, they need to be taught how. 

Make an anchor chart with students, writing their ideas for what needs to be considered when picking a spot to sit in. Once the chart is finished, stagger the start (instead of having all students find their place at the same time). Don't forget to ring your chimes at the end of the round.

Work-on-Writing Foundation Lessons (more in Appendix C)
The foundation lesson for "Setting Up a Notebook" and "Choosing What to Write About" are the ones discussed at length in this chapter. 

Setting Up a Notebook:
It is highly recommended (and I strongly agree) that plain old composition books or spiral notebooks are used for Work-on-Writing. The pages don't come out (especially with the comp books), they are cheap (or free if your district/school has them already) and sturdy. In the past, I've used all kinds of things (including a number of "cute" stationary), and all it causes is a headache! Now, from time to time, adding some seasonal stationary is o.k. (IMHO). 

Choose What to Write About:
How many times have your students written about the same thing (mommy, daddy, who they are friends with, how everything is "nice" or "good"). Or, on the other hand, how many times have your students just sat there, wasting time, as they tried to think of something to write about? 

Boushey and Moser suggest teaching students how to write down ideas for their writing (right in their notebooks). I use monthly "writing prompt menus". These are introduced to the students at the beginning of the year (and they learn how to use them). Then, at the beginning of each month, new ones are introduced/read. My first graders use these daily, and they have been very successful. They really enjoy sharing what they wrote at our check-ins. You can find them right here
(FREE just until Tuesday). Please DON'T say you got these for free in my comments. That will get other customers upset. 

Read-to-Someone Foundation Lessons (more in Appendix D):
EEKK: This means "elbow, elbow, knee, knee". This lesson teaches students how they are expected to sit when reading with someone. I have found it does need to be repeated every few weeks.

Voice Level: According to Michael Grinder, the loudest voice in the room sets the noise level for the entire class (as written on page 93). Model a quiet, calm voice. Your students will do the same. They do need to be taught what type of voices are expected during this time. I limit the number of pairs who are reading-to-someone to 2 or 3 (depending on the students). That has helped with noise level.

Check for Understanding:
This skill is introduced on the first day of school, through read alouds, and it is reviewed throughout the year. Students need to be explicitly taught how to listen to their partner, how to read to a partner and how to check for understanding. As suggested in this chapter, I made check marks for my students. I made these oversized checkmarks out of red craft foam. On them, I wrote "Who?" and "What?" with a black sharpie. This serves as a reminder for how to check for understanding. 

How Partners Read:
Students have a number of choices when reading to someone. 
Same Book:
*I Read, You Read
*Choral Read
Different Books:
*I Read, You Read

How to Get Started:
Can you believe young children (or any age children for that matter) have to be taught how to get along, what to read and how to decide who gets to read first? 
Students need to be taught the following:
*Good manners (how to ask a partner to read)
*Let's Make a Deal (settling on what book to read first by making a deal)
*Rock, Paper, Scissors (winner gets to choose what book gets red first, who reads first, how book is read)
*Youngest First (youngest goes first, decides what it to be read/how it is to be read)
*ABC Order: Whose name begins with the letter closest to "A"? That person calls the shots. 

Coaching or Time?
Students need to be taught what to do if their partner gets stuck on a word (or words). This lesson is explained in detail on pages 97-98. I found helpful bookmarks (for FREE) here: Bookmarks

How to Choose a Partner:
During the first few days, the teacher chooses partnerships, but eventually (like with everything) students need to be able to do this independently. So, they need to be taught how to choose a partner. This is discussed at great length on pages 98-100. I've found this procedure to be highly effective. When my students do not have a partner, they simply read to themselves until a partner becomes available. I found it helpful to remind students who chose Read-to-Someone before each round begins. That way, if a student who did choose RS is busy with something, other students who also chose RS knows this and can read-to-self until that student become available.

Listen-to-Reading Foundation Lessons (more in Appendix E):
Set Up and Clean Up the Technology:
I teach my students how to set up our notebook computers (we have 4) in the morning. Then, when they are assigned the "Student of the Week", this is part of their responsibilities. They simply unplug each from their chargers, place them on our small table, open them up, turn them on, and find the website to be used. I LOVE Storia ebooks by Scholastic!
In any case, students need to be taught how to set up and clean up whatever technology you choose to use for this Listening.

Other foundation lessons include "Listen and Follow Along" and "Manage Fairness and Equitable Use" (see pages 101-102).

Word-Work Foundation Lessons (see Appendix F for more info):
Again, students need to be taught your expectations for set up and clean up of materials used. They also need to be taught what materials are available, their intended use and the words to be used (whether you want them to use sight words or spelling words, a specifically assigned list, etc.). They also need to be taught how to choose materials wisely and how to choose a successful spot to work in.

Wow! That was a lot of info, but I hope I jazzed it up a little with that those freebies (bookmark and writing prompt menu). The bookmark wasn't made by me, but I think it's useful. 

I don't have a link-up option this week, but feel free to leave a comment! I'd love to hear about any foundation lessons you think should be added, or how Daily 5 is working for you. If you have any ?'s, please ask!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Daily Five, Second Edition Online Book Club (Chapter 5)

Chapter 5: Launching Read to Self (and Some Foundation Lessons) and a Stitch Fix Review

Before jumping into this week's chapter of The Daily 5, I have to do a quick review of my second Stitch Fix box. If you are not familiar with Stitch Fix, you need to be. In a nutshell, this is how it works:
*It's $20 per month. This fee pays for a stylist to be assigned to you and pick out 5 items (clothes, jewelry, accessories) that you may like. No shoes! 
*You fill out a personal style profile that is quite detailed. You get to comment on clothing collections and add your own comments about what you like too. You can even link your stylist to your Pinterest board if you've posted clothes you like (or even a few pics of yourself). You also pick the price range you'd like for each clothing category.
*A box arrives at your doorstep with the items, style cards (with ideas for how to style each item) and a personal typed note from your stylist. 

*You take the 5 items out, and you get to try them on in your own home (hello, no shopping with kids!).
*Decide what to keep and what to send back. If you keep all 5 items, you get a 25% discount. Even if you keep one item, your $20 stylist fee is applied toward that item (also applied if you keep all 5). 
*Whatever you don't want, you pack into a pre-paid bag and send it back (postmarked within 3 business days).

I HATE going shopping. I always end up with something striped or 5 of the exact same thing (only in different I guess not exact). You get the idea. Add 3 children (all little boys) in the mix, and you get a shopping trip from hell! Anyway, this service was sent from above. I LOVE it!!! The items I received this month are awesome. I kept all 5!!! So, what did I get this time?
*A gray and white fit & flare dress: Not my favorite, but it was cheaper to keep this because of the discount. 
*Jean Jacket: I didn't think I needed another jean jacket until I saw this one (and tried it on). I LOVE it! It will look great with summer dresses and other things I have.
*Plaid tab-top shirt. Upon seeing it, I thought it was too "fall-ish", but then I tried it on. This is a perfect example of why this service is for me. I would've never picked this out in the store, yet I love it. I wore it with wedges, capris and a tan jacket over it. I "springed" it up a little.
*Blue and white pocket tank: I love this too. I can dress it up or down. Perfect. Again, I would have never picked it off the rack at a store. 
*Navy skinny jeans (easily rolled up into capris). I have never had a pair of jeans fit so comfortably. I've worn them 3 times since I got  the box last Wed!!!!

If you are interested, check out Stitch Fix by clicking on the highlighted link. It is my referral link. If you subscribe, I will get  $25 credit toward my next "fix". 

Now, Onto The Daily 5...

This week, the Daily 5 will begin with Read to Self. The past few weeks built the foundation for this moment. Boushey and Moser suggest beginning with Read to Self because it is simple to teach, practice and implement. It is also the most powerful way for children to grow into independent readers. 

I believe the most important thing to remember is to start slow when beginning so you can move faster later on in the school year. Following the gradual release of responsibility model, and the 10 Steps to Independence (as discussed thoroughly in the post on Chapter 3), your students will become independent readers and learners. It may seem, at times, that the pace is slow, but you must go slow at this critical time (when students are learning and practicing routines that will lead to independence). Too often, I've moved my students way too quickly through learning these routines, only to kick myself later in the year when I was still putting out fires! 

The First Day:
It is suggested, before beginning the school year, to invite all families to come into the classroom (with their children) in order for the children to become comfortable and familiar with it. Where I work, we don't do that. Instead, parents and children visit when we teachers are not in the rooms (they can peek inside). So, I begin everything with students on the first day. 

From my experience with, and knowledge of the Daily 5, this is what I do...
On the first day of school, as children arrive (without parents), I greet each child at the door. I take their book bags, look through them, take out all school supplies and place them in a large plastic bag labeled with that student's number (I'll sort through them later). I then show each child his/her desk (in part of a larger desk group). Children read from a large book bin with about 25 assorted books in the middle of their desk groups. They do this until all students have arrived and it's time to start the day. The book boxes remain in the middle of the desk groups throughout the day so there is always something for students to do (and so they can begin to see how important reading is). 

Three Ways to Read a Book:
When all students have arrived, they are gathered in the meeting area for morning routines/morning meeting. After that, I do a short read aloud. After we get our wiggles out with a short brain break, we sit back down for our first anchor lesson, "Three Ways to Read a Book". This lesson is so helpful because even your most reluctant readers (or those who are ELLs) will be able to participate in Read to Self (and feel confident while doing it).

The three ways to read a book are as follows: 
*Read the pictures.
*Read the words.
*Retell the story. 

During this first lesson, the first two are taught/demonstrated/discussed. Retelling can be saved for later in the day or the next day (so children are not sitting for too long....remember the brain research discussed earlier in the book study?).

After this first lesson, fill each child's individual book box or bag with about 5-6 books (they will learn how to choose their books later). 

At Last-We Launch Read to Self:
The suggested outline for how to teach Read to Self is found in the appendix. It is also suggested that younger children complete one round, and older children may be able to complete two rounds of practice. Make sure the 10 Steps to Independence are followed! Also, record stamina on a graph.

Integrating Foundations Lessons:
Once children learn Read to Self through the Ten Steps to Independence, aside from the small amount of practice they will do, there will be an abundance of time during your literacy block. It is during this time when foundational lessons will be taught that will enhance Read to Self and that must be taught before the other Daily 5 choices are introduced. The Read-to-Self foundation lessons are:
*Three Ways to Read a Book (as discussed above)
*I PICK Good-Fit Books
*Choose a Successful Spot (more about this in Chapter 6).

I PICK Good-Fit Books:
With SO much research out there (both old and new), there is no doubt that students will benefit from reading books that are "just right" for them. In addition, when students read "just right" books, they are more engaged, more motivated/less frustrated, they have choice/control and negative behaviors are minimized. 

Students need to learn HOW to choose "just right" books (instead of just picking books from a leveled tub). It is suggested, that for this anchor lesson, the teacher should bring in a variety of shoes (in a bag). A chart (with the suggested wording for "I PICK" is also necessary-see page 74) will be referred to all year long. 

The teacher is to take the shoes out one at a time (refer to the first line of the chart). The "purpose" of each shoe and the importance of wearing the correct shoe is also discussed. This is easily connected to how students choose books (if you want to learn about dogs, choose a dog book-not a book about cars). Each book selected must match the reader's purpose. 

"Interest" is then discussed. Discuss how shoes match our interests. There are no ballet shoes in the bag because I'm not interested in ballet. It doesn't match my interests. Students need to think about their interests when choosing books.

Here is also when shoe size is discussed. The teacher pulls out a tiny shoe and tries to put it on (obviously, not able to fit). Then he/she pulls out a large shoe that, again, does not fit. Relate this to books that are not a "good fit"-hard to understand/trip readers up. 

Comprehend ("C") is then introduced with "know the words" ("K"). Boushey and Moser suggested 99% accuracy would be a "good fit". So, they said their old "five finger test" will not work anymore. Instead, if a child can pick up a book and read almost every word, then it is a "good fit". If not, it may be too hard. 

Comprehension is demonstrated as the teacher reads a physics text book (or something else above his/her level). Demonstrate, that even though most words are read correctly, the reader cannot understand it. Students need to be able to comprehend what they read. 

After this anchor lesson, students are given time and support in choosing their own books for their reading boxes. It is highly suggested that an organized classroom library (that has been introduced to students) is in place. This is where book selection (or "shopping" as I call it) will take place. Throughout the year, invite 1-2 students a day to take out the contents of their boxes/bags and explain their selections to the class. This is powerful! Also, at the start of a reading conference, review each child's book selections with him/her. You will learn a lot from your students' selections! 

How can you make sure your students have time to "shop" for books? Here are some ideas: 
-Assign students shopping time during morning work (a few each day).
-Make it a choice once a week (or more) for Read-to-Self.
-While waiting for dismissal, students may shop (a few each day).

Adding the Other Foundation Lessons:
In the afternoon (on the first day of school) or during the first week of  school, you need to teach other foundation lessons. These lessons will lay the groundwork for the other Daily 5 choices. It is suggested that Work-on-Writing Foundation lessons be the next ones that are taught. The include the following:
*Underline Words You Don't Know How to Spell, and Move On
*Set Up a Notebook
*Choose What to Write About
On the first day, you may only get to one of these, and that's o.k. 

The next foundation lesson to consider is one from Read-to-Someone. These foundation lessons include:
*Check for Understanding
*EEKK (elbow, elbow, knee, knee)
*Voice Level
*How Partners Read
*How to Get Started
*Coaching or Time?
*How to Choose a Partner

Some other suggested foundation lessons include:
*Set Up the Technology
*Listen and Follow Along
*Manage Fair and Equitable Use with a Limited Number of Devices

*Set Up and Clean Up Materials
*Choose Materials to Use
*Choose a Successful Spot

Again, some of these (especially the set up and clean up of materials) need to be taught on the first (or second day) of school so time does not have to be spent when it's time to teach about Word-Work. Boushey and Moser include a list of suggested Work-Work materials on page 85, and they are all FREE or very cheap! 

The next chapter, Chapter 6, will go into more detail about more foundation lessons. The ones mentioned in this post should be taught one the first day if possible. If not, then they should be taught on the second day. 

If you comment or link-up, let me know your experiences with Read to Self.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Daily 5 (Second Edition) Online Book Club-Chapter 4

As I sit here planning and typing this post, I'm thinking about the upcoming week. My first graders will take a short section of the Terra Nova tests on Monday-Thursday. This is the first time I ever administered a standardized test like this to young children. Trying to keep the mood light and relaxed, we arranged desks in rows on Friday (like I used to sit in when I was in first grade), and we practiced our "bubbling" skills. If any of you have given similar tests to your youngsters, do you have any advice? I know it's late, but any advice would be helpful.

Also, I am super excited that my second "Fix" from is on its way. This is an online subscription service that assigns you a stylist who picks out and sends you clothes/accessories. I will post more about it this week, after receiving my 2nd "fix". My first one was a dud (I kept only one item). It's my own fault for typing that I love stripes. Pretty much everything I got was striped!!! 

I hear that, as long as feedback is given by the customer, the fixes keep getting better and better (as the assigned stylist gets to know the customer's tastes). Hey, anything beats going shopping with little ones or sneaking out on my own when I can find the time just to buy things I won't wear or already have...ahem, stripes. I'd also much rather do other things than go shopping! So, to have someone do this for me seems like a pretty good plan! I'm looking forward to getting out of my stripe style rut.

O.k., on to our book club! This week, I'm covering chapter 4:
"What Do You Need to Begin the Daily 5?"

Like all previous chapters, this chapter also begins with a quote by the late Steve Jobs. It reads:
"Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path." 
Wow, that quote hits home. I don't always do things like I'm "supposed to", but there is always a purpose (and great research to back it up) to explain why I do things the way I do.

The list of things you need to begin the Daily 5 is short and sweet, and so is this chapter. That's a good thing since I am in the middle of doing yard work and spring cleaning! 

#1-Chimes-The Quiet Signal:
There are quite a few transitions during the Daily 5/literacy block. In order to get your students' attention, you need to establish a signal to let them know it is time to stop working, clean up and gather for a check-in/mini-lesson. 

You can use what you would like, but Boushy and Moser suggest the use of chimes. In this section, they discuss Grinder's suggestion of "Above, Pause, Whisper" to make sure all students respond to the signal. In addition, like every routine/procedure you teach, be sure to use the "10 Steps to Independence" as discussed in last week's post. 

I do not use chimes, instead I used a check-in procedure from Whole Brain Teaching. I say, "Check-in". My students then repeat me 3 times and begin cleaning up and gathering to check-in.

#2-Chart Rack or Interactive Whiteboard:
Used for the creation of permanent "I-Charts" that will displayed and referred to often, a chart rack would be the best thing to use to make them. You could use an interactive whiteboard, but the charts won't be permanent (you'll just have to store them on your desktop and refer to them often after they are created).

#3-Tools, Not Toys:
It is suggested that some "tools" are gathered and put into a box or bin to support the "barometer" children who have a hard time building stamina. Some ideas (recommend in the book or by me) include sand timers, a Magna Doodle, I Spy Books, small blocks, puzzle books (I Spy), other manipulatives. It is also suggested to tape off areas of the room (or use carpet squares) to clearly mark work spaces for students who may have difficulty staying in one spot/finding a spot to work.

#4-Book Boxes:
In order for students to be expected to read independently, they need to have easy access to books in a box or bag (instead of choosing books from the class library each day). 

At the beginning of the year, it is suggested that the teacher selects 5-6 books for each students' reading box or bag. After teaching students how to choose "just right" books, how to use the classroom library and learning what types of books your students are interested in, the students can then "shop" for their own books. 

Suggestions from Jim Trelease, Richard Allington and Patricia Cunningham say that primary classrooms should have between 700-750 titles (upper grades-about 400). Also, studies have been shown that children who are in classrooms with large classroom libraries outperform students who are in classrooms with few books or no library. 

#5-A Gathering Place and Focus Lessons:
You will need a large space where students can gather for check-ins and mini-lessons. In this space, you will need a chart rack, whiteboard or an interactive whiteboard. This is where anchor charts (I-charts) will be created.

Boushey and Moser discuss the benefits of having students (regardless of grade level) gather in a large, open space. These include better behavior management due to close proximity, opportunities to "turn and talk" to partners and fewer distractions (as students are not playing with things in their desks). 

I couldn't agree with this more! In my first grade classroom, we gather many, many times throughout the day. When students are at their desks (as they are at times throughout our math lessons), it is SO difficult to make sure they are all paying attention to me (not things in their desks or each other). :)

As discussed in previous chapters, the I-Charts created then become a permanent anchor chart to display (and refer to) in the classroom. 

#7-Classroom Design:
Your classroom should offer a comfortable setting for your students to learn. Some alternative seating ideas include using soft chairs/beanbags, low tables, couches and seats spaced around the classroom.

In my own classroom, during the Daily 5, I allow students to sit on a bench, a couch, a rocking chair or on the floor. Of course, they may choose to sit at their desks as well. 

Questions to Think About:

1. Are you surprised that you don't need anything fancy to begin the Daily 5?

2. Are there any other things you would suggest to use while beginning the Daily 5?

3. What alternative seating do you offer your students?

4. How else do you make your room cozy and inviting?

Thanks for joining this online book club!!! Please leave a comment below or link up your responses from your own blog.