Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Daily 5, Second Edition Online Book Club-Chapter 7 (Part 2)-Check-In and Beyond

I'm about ready to begin my 3rd week of summer vacation, and wow have we been busy. But, it's a great and friends kind of busy (not lesson planning busy). I'll take this kind of busy anytime! 

I'm contemplating what professional book to get and read next. I have a few ideas, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! 

O.k., back to is the 2nd part of Chapter 7. 

The topic of "checking-in" is once again discussed in this chapter, but there is a new spin put on it. Once students built stamina and independence, the purpose of a check-in changes. The purpose is no longer on behavior (but if needed, it can always be shifted back to that for a check-in or two). Instead, the purpose now focuses on what the students are going to do. Before beginning each round of Daily 5, students are gathered for a check-in. Before being released into their next round, each student must make a choice (as to what Daily he/she will go to) and be able to tell what he/she plans to work on at that Daily. Students' choices are recorded on a simple form. It is also at this time when I'll tell students who I will be meeting with (for guided reading or for reading conferences). Their default Daily is almost always Read to Self. 

As stated in the book, students do take making their choices and stating their goals/purpose very seriously. I take this one step further. At the end of each round of Daily 5, when students just sat down to gather, I have them do any one of the following:
*Turn to learning partner (elbow buddy, etc.), and tell that person what you did (what you are proud of).
*Turn to learning partner (elbow buddy, etc.), and share writing that was done during that round.
*I read writing, completed by students, to the class. We comment on it. Wow-does this hold them accountable!!!
*I tell students to hold writing up so I can see it. 
*I randomly pick a few names on popsicle sticks and ask those students specific ?s about what they did/what they worked on. Or, I'll tell those students to tell the class what they just did (what book they read, what reading strategy they worked on, etc.). 
I can't tell you how powerful check-in can be, and it only takes a few minutes. 

The remaining sections of this chapter give some additional reasons why Read to Someone, Listen to Reading and Word Work are powerful. Suggestions for each of these are also discussed. 

Read to Someone:
This particular Daily can get a bit noisy and be frustrating to some teachers. First, keep in mind the many benefits of this Daily. Some of these include increased fluency, motivation to read, the number of texts read and a non-threatening setting to practice reading skills/strategies. 

Here are some tips to make Read to Someone work for you and your students:
*Use the 10 Steps to Independence to introduce and teach your students how to Read to Someone
*Repeat the steps until you are sure your students have acquired independence and stamina. It is far easier to take the extra time to do this at the beginning of the year than to rush through the steps and find your students still don't know how to properly Read to Someone when you are well into the school year. Due to the fact that this Daily 5 choice takes a long time to get up and running, it is suggested that it should be introduced last.
*Limit the number of students who choose Read to Someone. You know your students. Some rounds, I allowed 6 students to choose. Some rounds, I only allowed 4 to choose (they were the louder ones). That worked very well. 

Listen to Reading:
Listen to Reading offers many of the same benefits as Read to Someone and Read to Self. Students are naturally motivated to use technology as long as it's developmentally appropriate and they know its specific purpose. 

*It may be necessary to assign a few of your "tech savvy" students a helper role for Listen to Reading. 
*If we all worked in classrooms where every student had his/her own iPad, wouldn't things be easier? We all know we don't all have that luxury (or at least I don't). So, you will need to get creative. Storia (ebooks by Scholastic) works well on netbooks/tablets. CD players (and, dare I say...tape players) also work! Various free websites work as well. Talk to your colleagues about what they use for listening. 

Word Work: 
Again, the benefits are plenty for Word Work. Some of the many benefits include practice with vocabulary and spelling for all students. This Daily 5 choice is so easy to differentiate for your students. I use the suggested list of materials and tie it into our Words Their Way instruction. Each of my three word study groups has a different word list (kept in one of 3 labeled containers). I noticed my students need more practice with their word sorts/lists and were not getting a ton of at-home practice, so that is why I decided to set my Word Work station up to focus on Words Their Way. It made a huge difference in students' acquisition of spelling skills.  If you are having difficulty thinking of what to include at this station, keep in mind these 2 simple things:
*What do your students need (in terms of word work practice)?
*How can you keep it simple (in terms of materials used), yet effective (think of targeted word lists used)?

I can't wait to tackle Math Daily 3 in my next post. This is my current work-in-progress. After reading about it during last school year, and doing some of my own research, I decided to implement this into my daily math block (instead of waiting until the next school year).  Upon implementation,  students made immediate connections because they already had The Daily 5 in their background knowledge and daily practice. Also, I saw motivation for math activities soar (something that was definitely lacking).  This was the main reason I bought this new edition of The Daily 5. So, check back soon for the post on Math Daily 3 (and my newest TPT product that is a tried and true winner for math).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Daily 5, Second Edition, Chapter 7-When to Launch the Next Daily 5

Not like I have this big following or anything, but for those who are reading this, I am alive! Like every teacher, I got bogged down for a bit and had to prioritize. As much as I love to blog and interact with teachers/bloggers, I had to put this on the back burner ( 2 children in sports-OMG!). But anyway....let's continue with this, shall we?

Chapter 7 is titled "When to Launch the Next Daily 5", and it opens up with a quote by Thomas S. Monson. It reads, "Don't save something for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion."

That quote is so true, and it is applicable in everyday life (not only in teaching). In everyday life, I use the good dishes everyday (isn't dinner with the family a special occasion?), I wear my Sunday best (why not?) and we drink the "good" wine. Related to teaching, my most cherished books are put in my students' hands (why share books if students are not allowed to get their hands on them?),  and they are given my best teaching every day (not only on days when I'm getting observed). 

The greatest thing about implementing Daily 5 in your classroom, is that there are no hard and fast rules. While following Boushey and Moser's guidelines, you have the freedom to be flexible with this structure. After Read to Self is introduced, and students are demonstrating independence (keep track on a stamina chart-I use one I found on Smart Tech), you MAY feel your students are ready to tackle the next Daily. I say "MAY" because, again, you know your students. If they need more time, give it to them! 
Boushey and Moser suggest the following guidelines to help you understand if your students have built enough stamina or not:
*Intermediate students: 12-14 minutes
*Primary students: 10-12 minutes
*Kindergarten students: 7-8 minutes

-Again, these are just guidelines. We all know our classes are different from year to year. 

The next Daily 5 to be introduced, after Read to Self, is Work on Writing. It used to be Read to Someone (in the first edition), but the authors decided it is most important to get students practicing writing next. 

Work on Writing is separate from the Writing Workshop(WW) you may already have set up in your classroom. Unlike the traditional format of a mini-lesson (I do), shared practice (we do) and independent practice (you do)-with the added components of conferencing/small group work and lesson closure included in the traditional WW, Work on Writing provides students with additional time to practice those writing skills learned in WW, but in a more informal way. You can set up your writing station (that's what I call it) to focus on any number of writing types (friendly letters, personal narratives, fictional narratives, persuasive writing, poetry, all about, how-to or any other type of writing you are currently focusing on (or have focused on) in your WW.

Again, on the day Work on Writing is introduced, the I-chart and stamina chart for Read to Self are reviewed first. The students are told they will be learning another choice for Daily 5-Work on Writing. The purpose is set, and students tell partners why it's important to write every day (build a sense of urgency). An I-chart is created (with desirable behaviors-like on the Read to Self I-chart). Again, desirable/undesirable/desirable behaviors are practiced (as in Read to Self), building muscle memory. Then everyone practices (you may want to call them by group or some other way for a staggered start). 

Students check-in when time is up, the I-chart and stamina chart are reviewed. A quick discussion occurs about how it went (what went well, what did not). Read to Self is practiced again as well.

I suggest using a black and white marbled notebook for Work on Writing. It's not fancy, but it holds all your students' writing! I keep them on a bookshelf, and each of my 3 desk groups have their notebooks on one of three shelves (corresponding to their desk group). This worked the best for us. I also have a small table that holds monthly writing prompt menus (see goodies below). Displayed on the wall behind the table are monthly words (I bought mine here). Each student also has a first grade writing folder (simply a 3-pronged folder that holds word lists such as a name list, birthday word lists, monthly word lists, words related to various types of writing, first 100 Fry words, etc). They must always have their writing folders out and open when they write.

During check-in (now and throughout the year), the students who wrote bring their notebooks up with the group. They either share what they wrote with their writing partner or I read what they wrote to the class. I do this, not to be mean, but to keep things moving quickly. It's also a great way for me to make a quick, informal assessment of their writing! In addition, it holds students accountable for their writing during this time! 

Each day, Work on Writing and Read to Self are practiced until stamina is built. Then, along comes CHOICE!!! Baawaaahaaaa!!! Don't run and hide....come back and listen! To all of you elementary control freaks (that is 99.9% of us), you need to give up control of where you students go during Daily 5!!! That means NO MORE plan boards, spinners, menus, rotating charts, etc. I'm telling you, this is freeing!!! You love control, don't you??? Well, guess what, so do your students! 

Boushey and Moser discuss various research to back up choice. I'm not going to get all into that right now, but know, students are WAY more motivated when they get choice! Who cares what order they practice reading and writing in? If that goal is for students to spend more time reading and writing, and they are doing that, who are you to tell them where to go? Just keep track on a little chart (see freebie link below) and you are set. Now, you may want to nudge them here and there, "Johnny, you've been to listening 3 days in a row, try something else".  But, this always does the trick. And, "those" students, you know, the ones who are a bit "tricky"? Well, they thrive on choice! They love it! 
You can read all about how to introduce choice to your students in the book-this is getting l-o-n-g! 

This is getting really long, really quickly. So, next week, I will continue with the 2nd part of this chapter (Check-In and beyond). 
Here are a few goodies I rounded up for you...

Monthly Writing Prompt Menus-I use these each month in my writing station (for Work on Writing). There is also a blank set (one  menu for each month). These have been invaluable this year. If you ever have those students who sit and sit and don't write, these are for you! I created this set, so if you purchase them, let me know how you like them. 

Stamina Chart-I didn't make this one, but you can find it for free here: 

Check-In Chart-Again, I didn't make this one, but you can find it for free here:
 I use a variation of this editable check-in chart when my students make their Daily 5 choices. They always remember what they chose, and we do one round at a time (they don't choose 3 at once-they'd never remember). 

Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying your summer (if you are done till next year). Unfortunately, I have to teach this week yet.