Saturday, September 18, 2010

Daily 5 ~ My Style

As I mentioned in my last post, it seemed as though fate made me read the book The Daily 5. We have been given the opportunity to "take back" our kids and use guided reading groups so I was trying to figure out what guided reading was going to look like in my intermediate classroom. I have seen guided reading groups done by the Primary Friends (yep, they're allllllll primary teachers, with the exception of one brave soul I encouraged to defect and join me in the intermediate ranks!) and have always wanted to make it happen, but I just wasn't sure how.

My natural instinct was to look for centers. Honestly, though, the thought of having to create centers and then check all that busy work was not appealing to me. It was during these searches that I kept bumping into the Daily 5 and why I decided to get the book. Thank you, Universe, for sending me the message. It makes complete and total sense to limit my whole group instruction time, but I just wasn't sure how to do it. I knew that working in guided reading groups on my students' level was what to do, but what about all the "non-negotiables" I had to teach? At some point I realized that just because the lessons are non-negotiable doesn't mean the same thing for the worksheets. To be quite blunt, the practice pages that go along with our anthology lessons suck. Most of them don't even reinforce the skill I'm supposed to be teaching. So the banishment of the worksheets has begun. I sorta asked permission... if necessary I will beg for forgiveness later.

No more worksheets,
Lots of books!
No more teacher's dirty looks!!

Technically I'm not going to be doing the Daily 5. I'm going to pretty much be doing the Daily 3, maybe the Daily 4 one day if I'm lucky. No matter the numbers the premise is the same. When my kids are not working with me in a guided reading or skill group, they are going to be reading, writing and working with words. The kids are going to be involved in setting their personal goals, and their parents (whether they like it or not) are going to have some assignments to work on at home to help my 13 below level readers meet their grade level benchmarks. There will be no worksheets and no busy work just real reading and writing.

My days will generally look like this:

1. Grammar Lesson
2. Daily 5 block - this is where I'll be meeting with Tier 2 kids from our team and my aide will be working with my solid on level or advanced readers
3. Reading Skill or Strategy Lesson
4. Daily 5 block - I'll meet with one of my two groups of below level readers and either check in with my on level or advanced readers or have individual conferences
5. Writing / Phonics / Structural Analysis Lesson
6. Daily 5 block - I'll meet with my other below level group and then have individual writing conferences with students
Fridays will be my day for progress monitoring and goal setting with the kids.

That's how my vision boils down on paper. This week we'll see, sorta, how it works. I'll be spending most of my time doing my individual goal setting conferences, and then next week I'll really be working more with the guided reading groups. Once I have this tweaked I'll need to start thinking about how technology and collaboration fits into this plan. But let's just take one step at a time...


Anonymous said...

Hi! I was wondering what grade you teach. Also, what is your time frame break down? How long do you spend on each of your lessons? How long are your daily five groups? It's encouraging to see this as my school is unleashing this program starting Monday. The only training I have had was 1 1/2 hours today. I am freaking out!

Becky Bair said...

Thanks for the questions. I started Daily 5 with 5th grade last year, but this year I am moving to fourth.

My schedule is dramatically changing this year so I'm not exactly sure what my blocks of time will look like. Last year I typically had 3 Daily 5 blocks - a lesson of 20 minutes and then group time for about 25 - 30 minutes. Not sure what it will be looking like this year yet.

Don't freak out! Focus on training the kids just as the books lays it out for you. Once you train the kids in how to do the 5 different activities, you can tweak your schedule and everything to fit your needs. I think that's the beauty of Daily 5 - the framework is there, but you can use it however you'd like. You don't have to do things exactly like the books says.