Friday, 17 June 2016

Daily 5 Update

Well, hello there!
Long time, no blog. Sorry about that. It's been crazy.

We're almost halfway through the year and I have to say, I think Daily 5 is working pretty well in my room so far. I have been blessed with some very capable independent workers this year, which has made this the perfect year to start my Daily 5 journey.

During Terms 1 & 2 this year I have run Daily 5 Literacy Groups first thing in the morning, three days a week. Monday mornings I keep free to introduce our spelling focus for the week and work more closely on guided and independent writing. Normally I would be running Literacy Groups (now Daily 5) four days a week, but I lost a morning to Sport and Music, bringing my available days to operate Daily 5 down to three. 
Why do I do Daily 5/Literacy Groups first thing in the morning? Habit, I suppose. That is literally how every other teacher in K-2 at my school operates their reading groups and until now I have not known any other way. Also, parents often come to help out for Literacy Groups and first thing in the morning is most convenient for them.

Every morning starts with a quick check-in and run-down for the day. Sometimes I even remember to mark the roll, but I'm conscious to get things moving quickly as often there are a couple of parents standing patiently at the side of the room ready for us to start reading. I have a display projected on the IWB (or as we call it in our classroom, the 'not-so-SMARTBoard') that tell the students the 3 Daily 5 activities they will be engaging with that day. This allows them to read the board, move the the activity and get started right away.

I find the display really easy to use. I don't have a pocket chart (those things are all over Pinterest!) and I'm not quite ready to give all the choice to the students, mostly because whenever we have free time it's always the same few kids on the computers, so I can only imagine the squabbles for time at Listen to Reading. Anyway, once I map out the activities and ensure that each group is visiting the activities equally, I pop it into a table and voila! I love the graphics, they were a freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers from Lori at Teaching with Love and Laughter.

So each day, we check the board to see where we're going. Parent helpers take kids outside one at a time, and the kids can either read their home reader from the previous night or a Good Fit book from their book box to the helper. Parent Helpers are my Read to Someone.

Listen to Reading is working well. I've had the computers on quite a bit, and at the moment we're exploring the books on You may recall the dramas I was having with setting up the old iPhones. Well, I started with six phones and we have three that work. A 50% success rate. We're scanning QR codes and listening to stories on the phones. I do have other plans for Listen to Reading on my Listen to Reading Pinterest board, but those projects have to wait for now. I also have a CD player playing an audiobook and a REAL BOOK to follow along with. That one is not so popular... old technology I guess.

Word Work is also a favourite. A new rule this term - each week every student must complete at least one paper-based Word Work activity and glue it into their spelling book, which is working well for the most part. Having said that, if I don't remind them, it doesn't get done. We have lots of fun stuff - magnetic letters, letter stamps, play dough and whiteboards... And it usually gets put away correctly! I still need to label my tubs at the Word Work station... I cringe each time I look at it but the sticky-notes are working fine for now... just gotta hang on til the holidays! I have to say - I see great results from Word Work in our weekly spelling tests. If we haven't had Daily 5 for a week (there was one week this term where I cancelled them for the week due to whole school activities and performances), you can tell by their results. So I'm loving Word Work.

Read to Self works really well in my room and I would expect it to, since it is the first aspect of the Daily 5 introduced in the year. I have a class of avid readers, and they all (mostly) clearly enjoy curling up with a good book. I need to be a bit clearer on appropriate times and behaviours for book shopping, and that will come next term when we revise our classroom routines. At the moment we book shop on Friday afternoons or for fast finishers.

Work on Writing requires a bit more attention and revision - from both myself and the students. I would like to see some of my students being more independent during their Work on Writing time, and also to challenge themselves in their writing more. I'm looking to spend quite a bit of time revising the expectations and routines next term.

On the whole I'm quite proud of myself in that I've been able to implement and stick with the Daily 5 so far. I was a bit hesitant as I don't know anyone else who does the Daily 5 in their room. Ever the perfectionist, I'm always looking for ways that I can improve myself. Now that we have the routines in place I'm thinking of taking 'Meet with the Teacher' out of the rotation and calling students out to conference with me separately from the rotation. I used to do that when I taught Kindergarten and it worked really well. I'm also having a closer look to how I structure my guided reading time with smaller groups. I bought a fantastic resource from Designed by Teachers today that will really help me with tracking and planning my guided reading time. Let me tell you - it is NOT GOOD that I've stumbled across Miss Jacobs' Little Learners... That is where all my money is going from now on, her stuff is FANTASTIC. Plus, she's Aussie so she uses PM reading levels, and I didn't have to pay the USD conversion rate!
Check out this awesome resource!!
As well as tweaking a few things during my Daily 5 session, I'm thinking of giving my whole literacy session a bit of a shake up. Time management is something I've always felt I needed to work on and there just seems to be more and more to squeeze into every day! A colleague recently broke the mould and has restructured her literacy session (not having Literacy groups first thing each morning, GASP!), prompting me to analyse and rethink my own. She recommended a document 'Teaching Reading K-6', which I'd read once years ago, and it was great to go back through it, and old ideas become new again, bla bla bla. So I'm busting out a new-look literacy session next term now, too. I'm also looking at adding Daily 5 to Mondays, which will be a challenge to me and my time management, but I'm ready for it!
I'm going to finish off this blog post in the spirit of '2 Stars & a Wish'... only you'll notice I have a few extra wishes!


So what am I happy with?
  • my students are independent workers
  • we are consistent in following our routines
  • we understand the expectations for each Daily 5 activity


A few tweaks for next term are...
  • Daily 5 four days a week (every day except Wednesday - Sport)
  • Moving Daily 5 to midway through the session - allowing for a modelled reading session to begin each morning
  • Small group conferencing during Daily 5 to occur separately from the current rotation
  • More focus on the structure of my small group conferencing
Looks like I'll be busy these holidays!!

Thanks for stopping by.

See you next time,


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