Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Daily Five~Chapters 3 & 4

There are 2 things that have had a BIG impact on the way I teach over the last two years…..reading blogs and The Daily Five. I’ll never dare to teach without either of them again! After seeing so much about The Daily Five online, I absolutely had to get my hands on the book and once I did, I read it furiously with highlighter and pen in hand. It simplified my literacy block. It helped me to work smarter, not harder and NOW…….guess what?! “The Sisters” are at it again! There’s a Second Edition!!! Whoop whoop!

The Daily Five has helped me to concentrate on research based practices that have my students purposefully concentrating on actual reading rather than on the “busy work” of things that are about reading. I love it and can’t imagine going back to anything else! This week’s focus for the book study is on Chapters 3 and 4.

Jennifer at First Grade Blue Skies has an awesome freebie that outlines The 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence described in Chapter 3.

Step 1:  Identify What is to Be Taught
Simple, right? Know exactly what is to be taught. This is where Independence charts come in. These are anchor charts that will outline desired behaviors and should be created together as a class. The name of the Daily 5 choice goes at the top with a side labeled for student behaviors and one labeled for teacher responsibilities. This pattern is followed for the creation of each chart.


Step 2:  Set a Purpose and Create a Sense of Urgency
I have a very deep need to know why I  have to do something. If I don’t understand why it’s important it becomes very low on the priority list. Students are no different, they want to know why what we’re asking of them is important. By setting a purpose for what you are doing through sharing objectives in kid-friendly language, students will see the relevance of it to their daily lives.

Step3:  Record Desired Behaviors on an I-Chart
Be sure to discuss the desired behaviors with your class as you are creating the chart. Guide this discussion in such a way that students take ownership over the creation of it and feel their input is valid.  For young children with little stamina, only add a few at a time.

Step 4:  Model Most-Desirable Behaviors
Modeling brings everything off the written page into 3D-real life application. Be sure to emphasize what will happen if we all follow these desired behaviors. We’ll each grow to become better readers!

Step 5:  Model Least-Desirable Behaviors, Then Most-Desirable Behaviors Again
The trick to this demonstration is to call on a student who often exhibits off-task behavior. By doing this, the student is getting the desired attention he or she wants and you have an opportunity in front of a watching audience to begin shaping his or her behaviors toward meeting expectations. Genius, right?! After the student has modeled unacceptable, off task behaviors, use this same student to model desired behaviors again. This begins to build the student’s muscle memory for doing the correct thing and grows confidence that they can indeed make the right choice.

Step 6:  Place Students Around the Room
The one question that guides students choice of seating is…. “Is this a place where I and others around me can be successful”? If the answer is no, the student must choose a different spot. If the answer is yes, students are seated and begin building stamina. Next year, we will call these success spots!

Step 7:  Practice and Build Stamina
Never let a timer or clock manage children’s pace. While it is suggested to begin practicing for only 3 minutes at a time, if you are using a timer or clock…use it for your eyes only. Let your student’s behavior guide the pace of practice. Keep track of it on a chart at the meeting area to show progress. I think this may be our very first bar type graph next year! In our classroom, after we practiced building our muscle memories and began following the actual routines of Daily 5 and guided reading, we then incorporated a timer to increase our sense of urgency for completing activities.

Step 8: Stay Out of the Way
The title says it all! Your goal is to build independent learners who are intrinsically motivated. You do not want their success to be tied to you hovering over them offering thanks and praise. You want their success to be tied to an individual, self-motivated feeling of accomplishment. Stand or sit near your guided reading table or the area where you will be pulling small group as you keep a watchful eye without making eye contact with students. STAY OUT OF THE WAY….it will be hard at first, but you can do it! Winking smile Once stamina is broken…once you can tell that they’ve given you the best they’ve got, return to the meeting area in your classroom.

Step 9:  Use a Quiet Signal to Bring Students Back to the Gathering Place
As soon as students begin to show their stamina is exhausted, have them each put their book boxes away and return to your classroom gathering place. The Quiet Signal is key to beginning this transition smoothly because all students will be moving throughout the room at the same time. In our classroom we use a rain stick. Once it turns, students immediately clean up their activity, put their book box away and are seated at the carpet. I do not call them to the carpet. This too, takes time to practice and learn, but because it is a quiet signal students must be working at a reasonable noise level in order to hear it and begin the transition. This transition period also serves as a quick brain break before the beginning of the next mini-lesson.

Step 10:  Conduct a Group Check-In; Ask, “How Did it Go?”
Once students have gathered in the meeting area, develop a hand signal for students to privately respond to answer this question. Last year, we used a thumbs up or thumbs sideways over our heart to indicate how we felt about building our stamina after practicing. “The Sisters” suggested using a method of holding up a certain number of fingers in response to this question. 1 indicated below standard, 2 indicated approaching standard, 3 indicated meeting standard and 4 indicated exceeding standard.

Never scold a student for how they respond. It is, after all, their judgment of how they just performed. If it isn’t an accurate reflection, ignoring the undesired response will often cause it to stop happening. Acknowledge how well they tried and use your class’ behavior as the deciding factor for what you do next.

          Slide1 Slide3 
What I’ve enjoyed the most about the new edition is the increased flexibility of how you implement Daily 5 in response to the individual needs present in your classroom.

Below is a brief list of things you will need to begin implementing The Daily 5 in your classroom:
  • The Quiet Signal
  • Chart Rack, Easel and/or Interactive Whiteboard
  • Tools to support stamina growth
  • Individual Student Book Boxes
  • A Gathering Place for Focus Lessons
  • Independence Charts
  • Classroom Design {that allows for choices of comfortable, successful seating}
Taking the time to implement the focus lessons at the beginning of the year, in detail, will set your class up for success throughout the year. It takes time, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it to build independent learners who are capable of making choices. Daily 5 is not a curriculum. It is a way of managing how you present your curriculum. It is a way of providing a student driven, student inspired, student led, positive classroom environment. It compliments the workshop model for balanced literacy. It’s a way of building a life-long love of literacy and enjoyment for what has easily become our favorite time of day!

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to get your copy of the book. Be sure to check in with the ladies of Freeblicious to continue the book study! All are welcome to link up! Enjoy and happy reading!


  1. Those are the best anchor charts I've seen! Man...I wish I could draw like that! You've got a gift! Soooo cute!

  2. Those anchor charts are absolutely amazing!! Thank you for this amazing post!
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets


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