17 June 2014

Exploring the Daily 5 - Chapter 9

Returning to our Core Beliefs

The final chapter of The Daily 5 addresses specific groups or individuals within the classroom and how these are dealt with, from a foundation of community, accountability, trust, and respect.

Barometer Children
This term is applied lovingly to those children who have a major impact on classroom climate. These children will usually require additional support to build stamina, but not necessarily every round or even every day. Four levels of support are suggested. Some children will only ever need level 1 support, while others will need level 3 or 4 support regularly. Foundational is the belief that, with appropriate support, every child can be successful.
Level 1: Reflection
I really appreciated this section. It reminded me of the need to look first at my own behaviour, and that things that I control, to ensure I am doing all I can to help these students be successful. It's about me taking time to reflect, as well as to check on a few things such as "Good Fit Books". Sometimes I might even need my own goal sheet to ensure my tone with students is positive and that I'm giving appropriate, timely, positive feedback.
Level 2: Extra Support
This level provides a respectful opportunity for children to get some extra practice at building stamina. While it does involve recess time, it's only a few minutes, since these children are often those who need recess the most. This level of support will help identify if further support is really needed.
Level 3: In-Class Modifications
This section provides details of ways to help specific children develop their stamina, acknowledging that it may take them longer to build stamina than some of the other children. It also allows for their shorter stamina without breaking the stamina of those who can work independently for longer periods. Tools such as sand timers, stop watches, kinaesthetic materials, and alternative reading materials are used, as well as individual stamina charts. Eventually the additional tools will not be needed, but there should always be the opportunity for students to return to the tools if necessary.
Level 4: Gradual Release of In-Class Modifications
This level is about providing additional "check-ins" with specific children during a round. This works well when the teacher moves from group to individual or individual to individual, rather than having students move to the teacher. Essential to this working is believing the best of our students even when their behaviour isn't perfect.

Guest Teachers
This section provides a sample lesson plan that can be quickly adapted for any planned or unplanned absence. It provides enough detail for any teacher to follow and allows students to support the teacher through well-established routines.

New Students to the Class
This section provides valuable tips on what to do when a new student joins a class part way through the year. Buddies are a key strategy, and new students also provide an ideal opportunity to review the Daily 5 I-charts with the whole class. When new students have lower stamina, this gives the teacher an ideal chance to do assessments with the new student, and to teach core lessons like how to choose Good-Fit books.

This section is about communicating the Daily 5 with parents. It includes a sample letter to parents to introduce them to The Daily 5.

Trusting Our Students and Our Teaching
This section reminded me that I don't have to get it all right first time, and that's OK. It highlights that I may not see evidence of learning in the same way as I have in the past, but I will see it in new, exciting, and authentic ways. I love the following comment from the authors:
"Our children help us learn to trust our teaching and prove that they deserve to be trusted to be independent. Our students rise to our high expectations, they meet high standards, and they willingly accept the responsibility to do so." (p.157)

So now you will have to wait until August 2014 when I get the chance to have a go at introducing The Daily 5 into my classroom here in Phnom Penh. Meanwhile, my next project is to thoroughly investigate The Cafe Book and see how I can use that alongside The Daily 5 in my classroom, using the resources I need to as part of our school wide curriculum.

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

Chapter 7: When to Launch the Next Daily 5
Chapter 8: The Math Daily 3

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