Luckily, I took a few deep breaths and calmed down enough to get advice from Mrs. Literacy Specialist. We worked hard to put some components of Daily 5 in place during my first year, and last year I continued tweaking my systems until I was pretty happy with the way things were going. I describe my Daily 3 system and how I modify the Sisters' "vision" to work with older kiddos and a literacy series in this post, so I'm not going to drag you through all of that again! But, since the school year is starting, I'd like to share with you how I build my Daily 3 foundation during the first weeks of school.
Last Year: Anchor Charts in progress
We will make our anchor chart (as seen in the Daily 5 book) and I will choose a squirelly student to model the correct/incorrect/correct behaviors. Then let the stamina building begin! During this phase, it is CRUCIAL to be insanely strict with stamina building. The first time a student so much as GLANCES away from their book, I ring my little bell that I train them means, "Come back to the carpet." If the time was really short, keep your tone positive! I say something like, "Today we weren't ready to read more than 2 minutes. We are still training our minds and bodies to read to self. We are still learning, and that is okay!" We reflect, revisit the anchor chart, and try again. I track the "stamina" on the board, and make a HUGE deal out of improvements in stamina. After every "practice," we share Celebrations & Things to Improve. It's adorable.
Last year's anchor charts and stamina (upper right)
While the kids are practicing stamina, I do NOT walk around the room and monitor. The Sisters say that this trains the kids to read when you are standing near them, NOT to just read regardless of what you are doing. Since I will be seated at my guided reading table during our real Daily 3, that's where I sit while I time them. At first I watch closely to know when to ring my bell, but as we build up our stamina I will likely read too. :) The first day, I will fill their book bins. After I do the "Good Fit Books" lesson from the book (the one with the shoes!), I will let them start adding books to their book bins using the IPICK guideline we will go over together.
I will also choose their spots for the first few days. After we go over "good spots" and add it to our anchor chart, I will let them choose their spots. (Note: Later in the year if the kids are challenged by choosing appropriate spots, I will take back this piece of control. I will choose their spots for a few days while reteaching appropriate and inappropriate spots, and will give back that control when they are ready.) Also, I let students read all around my room and typically let 1-2 in the hall (depending on the group of kids). This gets them separated from their neighbors! I have some bean bags, big cushions, and a whole bunch of little pillows that they can use. Again, if these are used inappropriately or not shared, I take them back for awhile and reteach until we are ready.
When I introduce Word Work in several weeks, I will start with 1-2 choices, and gradually add others as I see fit. Choice is the lifeblood of Daily 5 (along with routines of course!), but too much choice too soon only leads to chaos. That's why at first I choose seats, and when the kids are READY, they start choosing their seats.
- Start slow--don't rush to introduce the components too quickly
- Model, Practice, Reteach, Repeat (This goes on all year--any time my students had a rough day in Daily 3, I reminded myself that this was a signal to me NOT to complain that "my kids can't do it!!!" but instead to go back to the anchor chart and reteach!)
- Adapt the program continuously to meet the needs of your classroom!!! There is no one right way to do Daily 5 (or 4 or 3!).
What other questions can I answer about introducing Daily 5?