Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hooray for Daily 5!

We launched our Daily 5 lessons today!!  If you’re not familiar with Daily 5, it is a literacy framework by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  Not a curriculum, more of a schedule.  The Daily 5 activities are Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Word Work, and Work on Writing.  In my experience thus far (only 7 days into the school year, but still), the Daily 5 is AMAZING!  I’m so excited that our district Curriculum Director is on board with grades K – 5 adopting it.  When I read about the Daily 5 on fellow teachers’ blogs and then saw the awesome resources that were being created on TpT, I knew this was what I needed!  I was ready for a change from my not-so-effective center routine the last few years.  I read the Sisters’ books, attended a workshop over the summer, pow-wowed with my colleagues about the day-by-day plan for our firsties, and I was ready! 

Yet, after meeting my class the first day of school, I have to admit I was a bit worried.  The Daily 5 operates in a way that the kids work completely independently in rounds of reading, writing, and word work.  Well, it seems that I have a group of EXTRA-social little ones this year, and I had begun to have visions of Daily 5 rounds full of me yelling out “Quiet, boy and girls!” and “Please do your job!”  Nevertheless, I went into the first lesson with a clear plan, wanting so much to make this successful for my class.

And, TA-DA!  I was SO pleasantly surprised by the turn-out of our first Read to Self lesson!  You know how sometimes, no matter how well you prepare for a lesson, the actual delivery of it just doesn’t turn on well, whether it’s because of you, the kids, or because of some other factor (1 of 250 different things that can interrupt the flow of your schedule)?  Well, not to toot my own horn, but I totally ROCKED this Read to Self intro!   I remembered to hit all the important concepts at the right times.  We made a fabulous I-Chart, and we discussed the 3 ways to read a book (read the pictures, read the words, retell the story).  We did inappropriate and appropriate models of Read to Self behaviors, with the kids being actors and actresses.   And then I released the kids for their first practice, with a goal of 3 minutes of Read to Self time.   
The I-Chart we created on our Smart Board

After about a minute and a half, one of the kids called out to a friend to share something from her book, and I immediately called the class back to re-group.  After “checking in” with the kids and rereading our I-Chart, I sent them back out to try again, with a goal of 2 minutes this time.  And not only did they do wonderfully, they RAVED about it!  They loved it!  They wanted to do more of it!  They were “right in the middle of something and didn’t want to stop reading!!”  Music to any teacher’s ears. J 
Reflecting, I am glad we had to stop and re-group in that first lesson.  It set a precedent for the kids and demonstrated how important the I-Chart behaviors are.   And, I’m so proud of them for what came next.  I think back to Independent Reading time in my classroom last year (10 minutes each day) and realize what a huge difference these lessons make.  This group was more focused reading independently on the second day of school than my last year’s group was in May or June!  We will build our Read to Self stamina tomorrow!  Hooray for Daily 5! J

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