There are several Beliefs & Principles that Daily 5 LIVES by! These are super important in all aspects of your classroom and should really be thought through before students enter your room.
Trust & Respect – “Trusting children is the underpinning of what makes Daily 5 work.” This is a direct quote from the Daily 5 book. SO MUCH EFFORT has to be put into place in order to let go and trust! I know that every teacher has issues with letting go and trusting their students to do the right thing, especially when we are talking about their own education. But that is what is so POWERFUL about Daily 5, it leaves you so much space and time to build up that trust with students, set expectations, and then allowing them to try it out. I always sit in awww the first time I give my students books, space them around the room and ask them to read by themselves. It lasts only about 30 seconds, but day 1 of kindergarten, they are all engaged independently in their own learning. Setting that level of trust and respect right off the bat helps build those relationships throughout the school year!
Choice – Now I’ve written a WHOLE post about this – because I think this is KEY. So check the post out here.
Community – Spend a great deal of time & effort on building and maintaining a healthy classroom culture. A great resource for this is Responsive Classroom and their use of Morning Meetings. Unfortunately, I have been unable to attend a Responsive Classroom Professional Development but I am looking forward to being able to attend one in the future. I have read, studied and found a personal resource (my best friend who has attended their PD). There are MANY morning meeting resource books out there, and products on TPT as well, so there is no problem finding resources that would fit your classroom. Before my morning meeting begins, I meet students at the doorway and greet each one with a handshake and eye contact. There are many TPT products out there now, that have doorway greetings so that students can take over that responsibility of greeting students, or that you can continue to do yourself, with the student you greet having the choice of what kind of greeting they would like for that day. You can search TPT for doorway greetings. Afterwards, we have a classroom greeting (varies from day to day), an activity, a share and finally a morning message. The part I want to talk about it the morning message.
Every day I write a message to my students, in as much of a student reading capability language as possible. The message gets more complicated as the year goes on, using the skills we have learned to help decipher the words. But each morning message starts and ends the same way:
Dear Boys and Girls,
Good day. I am glad to see you.
To day we will …..
___ and ___ will be the super stars.
We will have fun.
Yes, I wrote “to day” on purpose… later in the year, I’ll stop adding the space, but for the beginning, I want students to identify the word to. Also this is where I would add our objectives for the day – To day we will read Aa. We will write about yellow. We will make 5. etc. Trying to use simple sentences and repetitive words. So students can start using their beginning reading skills to determine possible words.
The super stars are my version of “jobs” they are the ones that will help with everything all day long. Need someone to help pass out papers – that’s my super stars. Line leaders – that’s my super stars. Bathroom helpers, hand sanitizer giver, office goer, etc – that’s my super stars. I rotate through every one, giving all student the opportunity. Now I say opportunity, because just like in life, students who are unable, or unwilling to do their “job” will be fired. I always give warns before this happens, and give tips, etc throughout. Also, I do not start super stars until a couple weeks into the school year, because I am modeling all the responsibilities, letting some of the students practice parts of that responsibility throughout those first couple weeks. So each student knows what each portion of the job entails, and how to do it successfully. However, I have had to “fire” students from their job and get others to help. I do let the “fired” student earn their job back, and they are 100% more responsible the 2nd time round. This accountability factor has allowed some of my students who struggle with direction following to really hone in & work on this skill while being responsible to help others. This is part of our community building as well… and brings us to our next belief & principle:
Accountability – having a way to be independent in their learning is the ultimate accountability for students. But being independent for the sake of being independent is not helpful, it needs to be meaningful independence. Which means strategic! Giving students worksheets and then watching them complete the task we have given them might look like like keeping students “accountable”, but in reality students are not learning how to be accountable, unless there is a teacher/adult there watching them. We want students to be completely engaged in meaningful independent learning so that the teachers job is no longer management but can focus on being a facilitator of learning. So our jobs as educators is to having goal setting conversations with students so that the students for themselves understand what they are good at but more importantly what they need to focus on in order to become a stronger reader/writer. We then need to provide options for our students on different ways students can practice these skills within their reading/writing. This is were being strategic comes in to play… speaking of being strategic, you need to understand:
Brain Research – when developing your schedule, the materials you select, the books you read… etc. There has been tons of brain research that shows that students ages correlate to the length of time they can focus on learning during direct instruction. So if you are teaching kindergarten, students can focus for about 5-6 MINUTES. That means your mini lesson needs to be just that… MINI! The majority of the time within a classroom should be focused on PRACTICING those skills within different settings (read by myself, read with someone, word work, work on writing and listen to reading, as well as, small group instruction with the teacher). This might seem scary to you… but keep things short and sweet and you’ll SEE the difference in student behavior (less stopping to regain student interest/attention). This is a BIG change for a lot of educators, but when students start to DO rather than just listen you’ll see a huge increase in their ability to take something they just learned and put it into practice right away! Small groups & individual conferring is when you’ll have more time for those students who don’t “get it” right away, use this time strategically!
Transitions as Brain and Body Breaks – have you ever had to stand over students to get them to clean up and do it quickly… come on guys, make sure you get ALL the pieces, lets work together… I felt like this was a constant struggle for me UNTIL I discovered GoNoodle! Now let me get this out there… when I teach students about a new option (game, activity, etc) I ALWAYS teach how to take it out, how to play it, AND how to clean it up. Then we practice… a lot! And we practice ALL the aspects… how do we get the materials, how do we play and how do we clean it up! Then when its time for students to clean up (time is up, or students are off task) I just click on a GoNoodle video (my students favorites for the beginning of the year are Koo Koo Kangaroo) then I pause it, go over the expectations QUICKLY, then play the video again. You will not believe how QUICKLY students can clean up. And the best part… if someone doesn’t clean up their whole space, I pause the video, call them back over to their space and ask them to finish cleaning. I only have to do this for about 2 weeks before others will help clean things up that didn’t even play with while they walk by just so the video doesn’t have to get paused! It’s amazing to see the community being built, the helpfulness of everyone with a shared goal! Plus GoNoodle is just FUN! I try to participate with GoNoodles as much as possible, get myself moving and active, having fun with my students, this also helps build those relationships!
Of course there are also more benefits to using Brain & Body breaks – refocusing, a physical break from working and more. I always tell my students that just like we work out our bodies, we work out our brains. When our body is moving, it helps our brain keep moving too! I mean, really who wouldn’t want to dance, sing and be silly with their friends? Now I will say, that sometimes I have kids that are not “feeling it” and that’s fine too, they are the ones that strategically help straighten up around the room, put crayons & pencils back in their spaces, etc. I’m fine with that too, they are being helpful but more importantly they are still moving around and getting a break from the work. We all need it, teachers included. Endorphins are a real thing that kicks in when you’re physically moving, it will help you feel better too! Bonus!
These are all essential to think about when setting you and your students up for success in the upcoming year! Any questions, just leave a comment! Thanks!