June 16, 2013

A Day in the Life of our Daily 3

This post is a follow up to last week's post about how I create, run, and take data on Guided Reading groups.  

Some of my most popular posts are about my Daily 3 structure: Daily 3 Bootcamp, Introducing the Daily 5, and Word Work.  I wrote all three of those posts during my second year teaching, though, and my Daily 3 has continued to evolve since then.  I wanted to take you through a breakdown of how I allocate my 60 minutes a day of guided reading time.  This year, my guided reading block was first thing in the morning.  Every morning after the kids unpacked, they grabbed their book boxes and joined the class at the carpet with them for our opening traditions.
This bulletin board is from a few years ago, but I make essentially the same one every year!

8:45-8:50 Opening Traditions & 1st round Status of the Class
In my earlier posts about Daily 3, I shared pictures of a packet I gave kids of graphic organizers and response questions for the week.  The first page was a blank schedule for them to fill in their Daily 3 choices for each rotation for the whole week.  It worked for me at the time, but I scrapped it last year because it just wasn't working anymore.  Also, the packets were becoming a pain to make and weren't really working with my instruction anymore.  Instead, I started taking a Status of the Class before each rotation.
Here's a sample template for my Status of the Class form.  The one I used this year had 3 columns for each day because I did 3 rotations.  I type the kids' names in at the beginning of the year and make a bunch of copies so I can pull out a new one each Monday.

Status of the Class is straight from the Daily 5 book.  What I do is read every student's name, and they tell me their choice for that rotation: Read to Self, Work on Writing, Word Work, or Guided Reading.  When I first read the Daily 5 book, I didn't really see the need for it, but since then I've decided that the minute it takes is definitely worth it.  Here's why:
  1. It helps the kids set a purpose for their rotation.  Nobody is, 5 minuets in, still deciding what to do.  Everyone has a task in mind, a purpose, and is able to start working productively right away.
  2. Keeping track of their choices helps me keep them on track.  Because I record the choices during the week on my clipboard, I am able to notice if students haven't been choosing Read to Self enough, or if it's Thursday and they still haven't chosen Word Work. (1 activity of WW must be completed by Friday.)
Once I have called their name and they have given me their choice, they go immediately to find a spot for the rotation.  If they need Word Work materials, they head right to the Word Work station to get what they need before getting settled elsewhere.
Word Work activities are stored in a hanging file bin on a trap table in the corner of the room.  

8:50-9:10 Rotation 1
I meet with my first group of the day.  Check out this post for a detailed description of how I use each minute of my guided groups. Students working independently are seated all around the room: at their desks, sitting on the floor, laying on backs, laying on tummies, laying on upside-down chairs, sitting on desks, sitting under desks, you name it.  The kids have their book boxes with them ALWAYS--they contain their Writing Workshop journal, their Word Work folder with any "in progress" and "completed" activities (to be turned in Friday), and of course a bunch of books.
9:10-9:11 Transition & Status of the Class 2
I ring my service bell.  Students in my guided reading group return pens and put their books in their cubby. (I have a cubby for each guided group at the end of my students' coat rack cubbies.)  All students pick up their book boxes and return to the carpet area for Status of the Class.  Same routine as before!
Gathering Place!
9:11-9:30 Rotation 2
I meet with my second group of the day.  Independent students are encouraged to choose a NEW spot, but this one is tricky to enforce because I am hurrying (always, always hurrying...) to start my second guided group.  Same routine as before!
9:30-9:31 Transition & Status of the Class 3
I ring my service bell again and we meet back at the carpet.  I take the last Status of the Class, making sure every student chooses a DIFFERENT activity than the first two rotations.

9:31-9:45/9:50 Rotation 3
I meet with my third group of the day, usually one of my "beyond" level groups because the time block is shorter.  Independent students are encouraged to choose a NEW spot.  Same routine as before!
Curled up in the library = 1 of many possible reading spots!
9:45 Transition to next subject
I ring my service bell, get students' attention, and give directions for the next activity of the day.  Students return book boxes to under their desks and return pillows to designated locations.

And that's a wrap!

 You can now download a pack of my Guided Reading templates for FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers!  All I ask is that you pay it forward and share the awesome resources you create with the teachers in your life!


  1. This sounds great! I am always looking for ways to revamp guided reading in my classroom.

  2. Thanks for sharing how Daily 3/5 runs in your room. This will be my 3rd year using the Daily 5 - each year I refine it more and feel better about how it runs. I have struggled with keeping track of what my second graders choose for the rotations. I really like your checklist! Thank you for sharing!!

  3. I haven't tried GR groups using Status of the Class. Usually I tell them where to go ~ ha ha! But I think giving my 6 year olds a little more independence would be a good thing.
    Thanks for the idea!
    Grade ONEderful
    My Running Shortz

  4. Hi Sweet Amy!
    What a wonderful surprise to find a comment from you on my blog this morning--that made my day!
    I drifted a bit from Daily 3 in my room this year... I plan to get back to it next year. And, as is the case in several situations, your blog has lots of guidance and ideas.
    Wishing you relaxing, sunny summer days...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade


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