23 May 2014

Exploring the Daily 5 - Chapter 7

When to Launch the Next Daily 5

The key point here is that every group of students is different. Signs to watch for, which indicate readiness for the next Daily 5 choice include consistent demonstration of I-chart behaviours and stamina. Some suggestions are made about how much stamina is enough before introducing the next choice, but they are suggestions. It really will depend on the group of students.

Launching Work on Writing
I'm excited about this choice because I often come to the end of the year feeling my students haven't done enough writing. This will get them writing every day. An important point that was shared here is that there will still need to be separate "Writing Workshop" sessions when specific types of writing will be taught. In Daily 5 writing time, children choose whatever form of writing they like (story, poem, song lyrics, non-fiction, etc.) and then write for the whole time. Before launching Work on Writing, all the foundation lessons need to be taught, and then it's time to use the 10 Steps to Independence (Chapter 3) again. Because the children have been building stamina with Read to Self, it is likely that their starting stamina will be greater than it was for Read to Self, but not necessarily.

Introducing Choice
I love the honesty of the authors when they share their reluctance to "give up control" by giving choice. I know that won't be easy for me either. I also like what they say is at the heart of choice: "knowing the expectations, possessing the skills to meet them, being trusted to carry them out, and taking responsibility to do so." (p.111). Yes, the students are going to love being able to choose what activity they do at what time.

Check In
This involves a few minutes when children verbalise their choice and the teacher records it. Verbalising the choice breeds accountability, and the children get working quickly. Later in the process they will be able to state their goals and the strategies they are working on. Wow! I like that. This section includes tops for recording choices and for making the choice recording process go smoothly. An important point is made, that students who the teacher will be working with in a small group need to know this before choices are made and recorded so they are not disappointed.

Releasing Students into the Daily 5
This section suggests various ways to do this. It may be a case of try different ways and see what works for me.

Read to Someone.
When I read the list of benefits of Read to Someone I began to wonder why I hadn't tried it before. There are a considerable number of foundation lessons that need to be taught, and even re-taught, in order to make this choice work without chaos erupting, but those lessons, combined with the 10 Steps to Independence should result in a positive experience that the children enjoy and benefit from. Success will require planning and work, and the authors suggest this may well be the last choice to be introduced.

Listen to Reading
I already know the value of this, especially for my ELL students, so I'm determined to find a way to make this happen. Again technology access will be challenging, but I might be able to make a computer lab booking once a fortnight and do it that way. An interesting comment here is that not everyone needs to do Listen to Reading, although given my ELL population, I suspect most of mine will need to.

Word Work
This time provides children with essential practice for their individual word study needs. Primarily the focus seems to be on practising spelling or writing words that the students need to know or have discovered in their reading. This is definitely a "doing" choice that kinaesthetic learners will love. It also has the potential to become play, so clear instruction and development of an I-chart are important. The author's also suggest a ten minute limit, after which students put their materials away and move into either Read to Self or Work on Writing. That makes a lot of sense.

And that's the Daily 5. By the time all the choices are introduced, students should be developing habits of independent work in literacy, and the teacher will be busy working with students in small groups or individually, providing that much needed differentiated instruction.

For more of my reflections on "The Daily 5", check out these posts
Chapter 1: That Was Then, This is Now: How the Daily 5 Evolved.
Chapter 2: Our Core Beliefs: The Foundations of the Daily 5
Chapter 3: The 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence
Chapter 4: What do you need to begin?
Chapter 5: Launching Read to Self - The First Daily 5
Chapter 6: Foundation Lessons

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