Daily 5: Why & My Schedule

Welcome back! Today I’ll begin explaining Daily 5 within my classroom setting. If you haven’t read Daily 5 by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser, I’m begging you, PLEASE go read it!! It was by far my BIGGEST transformation of my classroom in my 12 years of teaching!

Ok… first there are TONS of things that set Daily 5 apart from just doing traditional “Centers” within a classroom.

#1 Students are engaged in reading & writing INDEPENDENTLY for extended periods of time.

#2 Students receive explicit instruction on BUILDING independence.

#3 Students receive DIFFERENTIATED instruction, through whole group, small group and one-on-one conferring.

#4 Students are ACCOUNTABLE for staying on task, working on skills & strategies taught, and meeting with teacher (in small group & one-on-one conferring).

#5 Students receive explicit instruction on how to handle CHOICE.

#6 Students will CHOOSE what to read & write, where to read & write, and the order of reading & writing.

You might look at this list and say to yourself… but my students do those things. But I’m going to challenge you here, if YOU are determining where your students are going (which center), what they are supposed to be doing at that center/station and/or hovering to make sure your students do their work/stay on task, well then, you’re just NOT doing this yet.

But NO WORRIES, there are some EASY tips to transform your classroom so that your students are becoming those truly, independent learners!

I’m going to speak about my classroom specifically. The structure I use for my typical daily 5 classroom routine is:

Focus Lesson #1 (Writing): I do this because I have students self-select when they go to Work on Writing (we call is journals), some students want to go to Journals 1st Choice Rotation, so I have to have that lesson/focus taught so that students can make that choice (if they want). ALSO, I am a BIG BELIEVER that writing is all encompassing! So starting off our day with some phonics, phonemic awareness, reading, etc that is all linked to what we are writing is a GREAT kick off lesson! But to each their own…

Student Choice Rotation #1: Read by Myself, Read with Someone, Word Work, Work on Writing, or Listen to Reading.

Focus Lesson #2 (Phonics): This is where is introduce a new letter/sound, blend, digraph, etc. Some times we use iPads/Dry Erase Boards to sound out and write the words, change a letter to make a new word (word chaining), and some times we do a practice page for independent practice.

Student Choice Rotation #2: Read by Myself, Read with Someone, Word Work, Work on Writing, or Listen to Reading. ***Students can NOT choose the same rotation.

Focus Lesson #3 (Reading Comprehension): This is where my read aloud and comprehension skill would be. Usually I would read a book/poem out loud, or the kids would have an opportunity to do a read together (everyone has a copy of a book/paper book, poem, etc). After reading, I would ask several questions, ranging from literal, inferential, and evaluative. I let students turn and talk, I randomly call on a student to answer, we decide (using thumbs up/down) if we agree/disagree or (thumbs in the middle) if the answer was close, but needs more details. The kids LOVE doing this!

Student Choice Rotation #3: Read by Myself, Read with Someone, Word Work, Work on Writing, or Listen to Reading. ***Students can NOT choose the same rotation as #1 or #2. In my classroom students are required to go to Work on Writing so if they haven’t chosen it in #1, or #2, they must chose it for rotation #3. I literally say, “This is our last and final rotation, so if you haven’t chosen journals, you must chose journals” (The kids usually choral say: “You must chose journals”).

Focus Lesson #4 (Phonemic Awareness): I do Heggerty. If you are unfamiliar… p-p-please check it out!

I’ll be honest – I do the 4th Focus Lesson towards the end of the day, because after our 3rd Student Choice Rotation it is time for lunch!

One of the BIGGEST reasons why I chose Daily 5 is PRACTICE!!! As teachers we give students tons of new information constantly… give them a little time to try together, give them a few minutes to practice, then say they’ve “got it” and move on. But students NEED to internalize strategies and knowledge, then use that in their independent reading/writing.

The Schedule used in Daily 5 provides AMPLE time for students to self-select activities and then use the skills they’ve learned in their independent reading & writing. And really, that’s the ultimate goal: Students using things they’ve learned INDEPENDENTLY!

You will be in AWWWWW of how much your students retain, and use independently once they are given the time, space and materials (strategically)! You’re job will become more of a facilitator, planner and observer. If you’d like to learn more… stick around, I’ll break down what Daily 5 actually LOOKS LIKE in my room in a future post!

Published by KinderKidatHeart

Hi! My name is Katie Friedl and I have taught Kindergarten in Chicago for 13 years. It is not always easy, but its worth it! I will be writing about by tips and tribulations about teaching K in Chicago. Stay tuned to be inspired (hopefully... crossing my fingers) and probably even get a little giggle... at my expense I'm sure!

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