Now here is one of my flaws: I am not a patient person. As a result, I began my Daily 5 instruction in my kindergarten class after the first few days of school. As the book suggested, I started with having my students build their read to self stamina. I knew that their stamina was going to be low the first few days, but I had my expectations set way too high, and not in a good way! After a few days of building our stamina, I still had that one Chatty Cathy that ruined it for the whole group, and I could not handle it! So, my impatience kicked in, and I gave up! I decided that kindergarteners just can't build stamina!
Well, was I wrong! I continued to use the some aspects of the Daily 5 structure in my classroom (using read to self, read to someone, word work, listen to reading, and work on writing), but I set them up as assigned rotations during my guided reading block. This worked great for me this year, but my students totally knocked my socks off as the year progressed. I was shocked with their stamina, and was so proud of them. So, now that I KNOW kindergarteners can do it (I guess I had to see it to believe it!), I am ready to take another stab at the Daily 5, and I am not giving up this time!!!
So here we go, round 2, the second edition of The Daily 5.
Chapter 1 [That Was Then, This Is Now]
I like this chapter, because it really shows how the Daily 5 is different from other literacy block structures, and it admits that there were faults with the original structure. I like that it literally shows the practice of teachers reflecting on their teaching, and changing their teaching as a result of that reflection. Here are what I believe are some of the most important points:
- All 5 components of the Daily 5 are no longer done in the same day! [This is how I was already structuring my reading block, so I am glad that I was doing something right!]
- Read to Self is introduced first, then Work on Writing, and the rest is up to you.
- The most important thing for me is that when the Daily 5 is taught correctly, you will be spending more time WORKING with small groups or individual students instead of MANAGING the rest of the class while your small group sits and waits for you.
- The reading block begins with a whole group focus lesson (CAFE), and then students go into their first Daily 5 choice. This first choice ends when students "break stamina." Four more rounds proceed in this way for a total of 5 rounds.
- When you notice yourself ending a round of Daily 5 because you have run out of time rather than because your students "break stamina," it is time to participate in 4 rounds instead of 5 (but they still can choose from all 5 options).
- When you notice yourself again ending a round of Daily 5 because you have run out of time rather than because your students "break stamina," it is time to participate in 3 rounds instead of 4 (but they can still choose from all 5 options).
- You will eventually stay at a number of rounds that is effective for your group of students. [For me, this was 5 rounds this year. However, if I do better at building stamina this year, I think we can do 3 or 4!]
- In between each round, there is a focus lesson (CAFE).
- Students always have to choose Read to Self and Work on Writing as ONE of their choices per day, and should do all 5 in the span of a week.