What's The Difference?
Key Materials, Concepts and Routines for Launching the Daily Five
Establishing a Gathering Place
The gathering place in my room is called the meeting area. I call it the meeting area starting on the very first day. My class has rules for discussions in the meeting area. You can read a post about the rules for discussions in my room here.
I believe that teaching kids (and their parents) how to choose just right books is directly related to the amount of progress (and the rate of that progress) for our youngest readers. Last year, I did a post about my favorite books for the minilessons I do about just right books. The books I wrote about in my "Just Right Book" post are below. You can read that post here. I also added Shoes for Me to my collection of mentor texts to use for teaching about just right books.
I also have a Literacy Information Night for the parents in my class about a month into the school year. When I worked as the Literacy Intervention Specialist, all of the parents from my building were invited. Now that I'm back to my normal (1st grade - thank goodness!) teaching life, I just do the presentation for my own parents. During my presentation, I share about the importance of choosing "just right" books and give parents resources for finding just right books for their child. I also remind them (in my super friendly voice) how much it slows down progress when kids practice reading books that are way too difficult for them. I encourage parents to read those more difficult books to their child and let their child practice books that are truly at their independent reading level (just right).
Short Intervals of Repeated Practice
I've done a lot of work with struggling readers during my career. One of the most important things I've learned is how important it is to provide repetition, repetition, repetition. One of the reasons I really liked the Daily Five right from the start is the fact that the Sisters stress the importance of repeated practice and modeling. It's easy to rush through the teaching of routines, but it's always better to be slow, thorough and patient. I'm good at being thorough and I think I do a good job modeling for the most part. But, I'm definitely not slow or patient.
Figure 3 - 8 Ten Steps to Improve Muscle Memory
This list is so important if you want the Daily 5 to be successful in your room. I also used the same steps when I introduced my Math Stations (which I need to work on next year - oy - another post for another day). I do these steps in the very beginning of the year to introduce the Daily Five. Then I continue to use each step (with the exception of #5 - the incorrect model) for the rest of the year. I just go through them quickly each day before my literacy center time. The part that I'm sometimes tempted to skip, but that I think is the most beneficial, is the check in step. I ALWAYS check in before my students start their next center/rotation.
Signals - In my classroom I use 2 signals. I always use a set of bells to signal checking in time/changing center time during my literacy centers. I also use the lights (like an old lady according to one of my volunteers). My reasons for choosing those two is simple - one is auditory and one is visual. I don't always use the lights with the bells. But sometimes shutting down the light source is necessary for some of my dumplings. In the summer I call those few students dumplings. I think most of you call them "special friends" during the school year. The picture below is the assortment of "signals" that I've used over the years. I used the green bells last year. I get bored easily, so some years I switch the signal (but I always keep the same signal for the whole year - even though it feels poke my eyes out boring to do it that way). :)
The confession of the day... I don't use book boxes for each student. I trust (that's what they want me to do, right?) my students to visit the correct leveled bin and choose their own books from their "just right level" and put them back (nicely). Last year, I wrote a post about how it works in my room. You can find it here and see a picture of my community book bins. The post shows one of my shelves full of community book bins. I have two identical shelves full of those community book bins. Each bins is leveled on the front. I have a crazy amount of leveled books. Some people collect gnomes (I think - ha) and I collect leveled books. I love how it works for me and it gives my kids lots of choices.
Looking forward to chapter 4 - The Daily Five in Action! I'm also working ahead on chapter 7, because I'm hosting that chapter.
Melissa from Mrs. Freshwater's Class and Jana from Reading and Thinking Out Loud are hosting chapter 3 this week. Please head over to her blog to read their fabulous posts and the other link ups for chapter 3.