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Saturday, July 7, 2012

What's the Difference?: Key Materials, Concepts, and Routines for Launching the Daily Five

I have already read The Daily Five, and have actually lead a Daily Five professional development meeting with the wonderful Mrs. Arbuckle, but I always end up learning something new when I reread this book. 

I am so excited to share about Chapter 3 and how I have implemented it in my classroom, as well as what I plan to do differently next year. 

Establishing a Gathering Place
The Sisters describe the gathering place as "an open space large enough for the whole class to come together and sit on the floor"(p. 28).

I was very fortunate to get a wonderful carpet for my classroom last year. It is "A Place for Everyone" classroom carpet and can be found at Lakeshore Learning. I can not tell you how much I love, love, love this carpet for a gathering place for my classroom. Each student has his/her own space, which eliminates the possibility of students playing with each other and distracting each other. Even for my third graders, having the squares is beneficial. 

My library is surrounding the carpet, which I love, because we really establish the routines of Daily Five and Good-Fit books. I also have my whiteboard easel and anchor chart paper in this area, although I am thinking about changing the way I do anchor charts--I will finish talking about that later. 

Good-Fit Books
Along with Daily Five, I do the First Twenty Days lessons (an abridged version) in my classroom. Both the Daily Five and the First Twenty Days emphasize the the need for students to choose books that are appropriate for this. 

I love the I PICK model, and even have bookmarks that I give to my students after introducing this concepts. You can find them at my Teachers Pay Teachers store here or at my Teacher's Notebook store here

One of the reasons I like the I PICK model is because it emphasizes more than just a student's reading ability. I have many students on a lower reading level, but that have the motivation to read books above their designated "reading level." I stress to my students the importance of understanding what they read and knowing the words, which is when I introduce the "Five-Finger Rule" and the "Check for Understanding" bookmarks. The "five-Finger Rule" states that if you come to a page in which you don't know five or more words, you need to stop and ask yourself if you are really understanding what you are reading. If you're not, maybe choose that book for a "Listen to Reading" book or a "Read to Someone" book in which a friend reads it to you. 

I do have Book Luggage boxes, an idea I got from Beg, Borrow, Steal

At the beginning of the year, I put a book in their "Book Luggage". This year I found the book "The Lemonade War" on sale from Scholastic for a DOLLAR!! That's right, ONE DOLLAR. Before school got out, I purchased 26 copies (just in case I have a few extra), and will put them in their book luggage as a beginning of the year gift. Students will keep 5-7 books in their luggage at all times, so that they always have books to read, and won't have to constantly go to the library. This year, I think I am going to let my students go to the classroom library on Monday mornings during our Silent Reading Time from 8:00-8:20. 

Anchor Charts
The past two years I have written everything on big pieces of anchor chart paper, and have then posted them around the classroom. I LOVE anchor charts, but hate how sloppy they end up looking and how much space they take up. I feel like so many anchor charts are necessary to keep up throughout the year, and by the end of the first semester, my room is COVERED in anchor charts. 

This year, I am planning on using an idea from Ladybug's Teacher Files in which she types all of her anchors charts on PowerPoints. You can check out some she has for sale here. I like that I can type the anchor charts with the students--I can definitely type faster than I can write, especially when I am trying to write neatly. I also like the fact that I can print the anchor charts for the students to place in the Daily Five folders, so that they can refer back to them later, and always have easy access, even though they are hanging up. 

FINALLY Short Intervals of Repeated Practice and Signals and Check-In
One thing I found so important this last year was the need to build the students' stamina, so that they can appropriately participate in the Daily Five. Although I will say that it is very hard for me to start out with just three minutes of independent practice!! Until my students build their stamina, it is hard to meet with reading groups, which I hate! Last year, my students built up their stamina pretty quickly, within about 1-2 weeks for the first Daily Five  activity (Read to Self) and then more quickly for each additional activity. I was very strict about STAYING OUT OF THE STUDENTS' WAY and calling the students back if anyone was off task.

I love the part of the book that talks about choosing a student that has a hard time staying focused and on task to model the incorrect behavior, and then come back to model the correct behavior. I love that since they have modeled the correct behavior, I can always remind them that I have seen them do it before and I know that they can do it. 

I found it interesting that the Sisters encourage the use of a quiet, calming signal to get the students to reconvene. Rather than asking my students verbally to come back to the Gathering Place, I have used a few different things-- a Zenergy Chime, a rain maker, or have just turned off the lights. These calming signals don't break the concentration of the students, which I LOVE!

I think that is about it for Chapter Three. Be sure to check out Mrs. Lyon's blog post at We Read, We Blog, We Teach on Chapter Three. 

Also, the first THREE POSTERS will get my I PICK bookmarks for FREE 

See ya later friends!


  1. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this chapter especially since you've already used it. What grade do you teach? (I'm in 4th). I'd also love to hear more details about how you incorporate D5 with The First 20 Days. I used the First 20 Days last year (my first year of teaching) and I'm not sure I know it well enough to integrate it with something else I don't know that well, D5. Thanks!
    Bee Teaches

  2. Bee--

    What a great question about implementing the First Twenty Days and Daily Five. Sorry it took me so long to respond!

    I teach third grade, so you will probably be able to easily modify what I do.

    I plan to start D% by introducing Read to Self. Each day as we do the Read to Self lesson plans, I plan to also incorporate some of the First 20 Days--how to read a book, how to choose a book, picking a just right book, and types of genres all fit in very easily with the Read to Self lessons.

    I talk about how to "buzz" effectively in guided reading and literature circle groups, because I feel that fits well into that small group setting, but we also discuss how we can use those strategies all of the time.

    I have found this website to be very helpful, even though it is geared towards grades 1 and 2. I bet you will find it helpful, too! http://literacy-in-content-areas.wikispaces.com/First+20+Days+Resources


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