Monday, August 11, 2014

I confess….

….I love structure! I love knowing what to expect. I love knowing what is expected of me….and why it’s important. Can I let you in on a little secret? Your students do too!

My favorite thing to teach? Literacy!!!! All day….every day! It’s the heartbeat of our classroom. If you’ve read my little blog for any period of time, you know that I’ve written several posts about my love for The Daily 5. Can I let you in on another little secret? I didn’t like it when I first heard of it! {GASP!!!} I know….. My first impression was Whaaaat?! You mean just let my kids choose what they want to do?

And then, rather than argue the point of something I really wasn’t informed about……I read the book! The more I read, the more intrigued I got. The more I read, I realized…I was already doing many of the things mentioned…just called by a different name or organized differently. What I grew to love the most was the intentional building of principled habits instead of managing student behavior.

Does your school model PBIS or CHAMPS? Again…..principled, preventative, positive habits that teach students to SELF MANAGE! Holla!!! If my students can self manage, if they can make positive choices that will impact their learning…..what’s not to like?

BUT Daily 5 is NOT balanced literacy! I KNOW! Ha!

By definition, balanced literacy is a method of teaching reading in which phonics and whole language approaches are BOTH used to maximize student learning. Bloop! That’s it…in a nutshell. 

The Daily 5 is a positive approach to classroom management that fosters literacy. Balanced Literacy is managed by Daily 5. It’s the structure…the “how to”. It’s the building of muscle memory, so you can address the components of balanced literacy with minimal interruption. The two don't compete with each other, they compliment each other.


…and can we keep it all the way real? You simply can not teach a class that you can not manage. Building relationships and routines has to take place before you can even think of diving into teaching anything, including balanced literacy. Balanced literacy is not a new concept to early childhood teachers. It’s what we do!

In 1st grade, it may look a little like this….


The components are all connected….


…and have to be interesting and FUN!


Though the components are the same and should all be integrated, it will look a little different in each classroom because it is driven by assessment and reflecting on student needs.


While balanced literacy will be your all encompassing umbrella, differentiation of activities for students to complete independently will allow you to meet with small groups. Getting to small group is the BIG goal of your literacy block because its at the guided reading table that the most important work begins!




Ask any of my students what their favorite time of day was and they’ll gladly tell you…… “Daily 5” time. Whether you call it stations, centers or reading….what’s important is students knowing they’re working to become better readers and writers. Love structure? Yep…..I confess. I do. Love balanced literacy? Yep! I do. Would I want to teach without building principled habits? Absolutely not! Will I teach BOTH as we begin the school year? YES! 

Taking the time during those first 20 days of school to instill a classroom community that will foster successful literate kiddos is a no brainer! We’ve gotta do it, peeps! It’s honestly, what I’m looking forward to the most! And Week 5, when it all comes together is such a beautiful thing!

So the next time someone tells you Daily 5 is not balanced literacy….just smile and ask them if they’ve read the book…….it’s always a great time to learn something new.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! What a wonderfully positive post about Daily 5 and student choice!


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