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. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jen,
    I linked up my post for Chapter 4, unfortunately long after the linky closed. :/
    Oh well better late than never. :)
    Read With Me ABC