What's the Difference?: Key Materials, Concepts, and Routines for Launching the Daily Five
Hello Everyone! It's Katie Lyon from Teaching: The Art of Possibility. For those of you who don't know me, I teach 5th grade at a private school in West L.A. and I'm also the Vice Principal there. I also must wear a dozen other hats.....but I'm sure you all understand that and can relate!!! Anyway, WELCOME to The Daily 5 Book Study.
I was so excited to discuss Chapter 3: What's the Difference?: Key Materials, Concepts, and Routines for Launching the Daily Five with everyone after reading it. After all, I'm all about having my materials ready to go and practicing routines in my classroom!!! Once I got past staring at the picture on page 17 (the first page of Ch. 2) and wishing I had a LOFT in my classroom, I finally moved onto Ch. 3. Where I once again was teased with the loft on page 35....but I pressed on. I really started to think about what The Sisters were saying when it comes time to launch The Daily 5. Let's begin.
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'll admit, I was one of those people who thought that my 5th graders were too old to do that. But as I read on, I began to understand the necessity of this area in the classroom. After all, even older students need (actually crave) a chance to move around and not be seated just in their desks. As I began to envision this space in my classroom, I knew it had to fit the following criteria:
- Be large enough to accommodate us all.
- Be a flexible space - my classroom isn't HUGE. So I need to make sure each space is used to it's fullest potential. (I'm thinking my library would be perfect for this.)
- Be comfortable - for me and my students. This means a nice chair for me, pillows for those who want them, perhaps some crate seats, a rug, etc.
- Have space for anchor charts.
- What do you envision your gathering place looking like?
- If you already have one, what makes it work? Any tips for us beginners?
After finding a gathering place for your students, it's time to begin discussing and helping your students understand the importance of finding books that are RIGHT for them. The Sisters have done a lot of research when it comes to this concept. I agree with them that even more so than just having books that work for our students in the classroom, we must teach the children so they are "empowered to choose good-fit books for themselves each time they go the the library, bookstore or classroom book area" (p.29). Such a difficult concept indeed. We've all been there. You have the students who simply love to read, the students who only read a particular type of book and of course the students who "hate" reading.
The Sisters introduce a model called I PICK. Which stands for:
I choose a book
Purpose - Why do I want to read it?
Interest - Does it interest me?
Comprehend - Am I understanding what I am reading?
Know - I know most of the words
The Sisters explain an activity that they did comparing picking a good-fitting book with picking shoes. A great analogy for students of all ages! I believe this process could take a bit of time in the beginning making sure your students are correctly choosing books that work for THEM. However, the beginning of the year is all about establishing routines, and this is an important one.
This is where the Book Box comes into play. After students have chosen books that work for them individually, they now need a place to put them. As you never want your student to have just one book, but a handful so they can choose one from their box without needing to
The book boxes can be simple like The Sisters described such as cereal boxes covered with contact paper, plastic zippered bags, or they can be more durable (or neater which is what I like). In the past I have used the following:
1. Magazine boxes from IKEA (which I have posted for you below and you can order from a second party since IKEA won't ship them) These were great because the students could decorate them the first few days of school. AND They didn't cost me an arm and a leg.
2. This past year, I purchased book bags from Really Good Stuff. These did cost me a lot. But I found if I wanted my students to also be bringing books HOME TO READ, that I wanted them to be taken care of. I also have students and parents sign off at the beginning of the year on my classroom library form about the requirements of checking out books in my classroom library and the fine for replacing these bags if they become broken or lost.
Good-Fit Books Discussion Questions
- What are some ways you help your students select books that work for them?
- Do you use the I PICK acronym or something else?
- Have you ever used book boxes before? If so, what did you use?
- Do you have a classroom library? How many books do you have? According to Jim Trelease (2001) "children in classrooms with the most books consistently outperform their peers who are in classrooms with little or no library." (I have over 2,500 and it's a pain to keep organized but SO worth it!!)
Anchor Charts are another way to help students connect what they are learning in class. These charts are typically done on large pieces of paper (I love my Post-It flip chart paper - so easy to hang up!!) and reflect ideas and concepts that the students have help thought up. We've all seen the cutesy anchor charts that are floating around on Pinterest, and while they are extremely nice, they are not necessary. If you refer to page 36 in the book, you can see examples of basic anchor charts which introduce the I PICK method and the guidelines to "Read to Self".
For my classroom, I have no problem making anchor charts with my students, however, I always run into the issue of where do I hang them? With classrooms seeming smaller by the day and Fire Marshalls dictating a lot of what we can and can't hang up along with how much of your walls can be covered by paper, I find that this is where I would have the most problems. How can that be overcome?
Anchor Charts Discussion Questions
- Do you consistently use anchor charts?
- Do you use the I PICK acronym or something else?
- Any tips on displaying anchor charts?
- How do you overcome any obstacles placed on you by school, city codes, etc on displaying materials?
The Sisters talk a lot about practicing the routine over and over. I think the most common mistake that we (teachers) can make is by underestimating the power in this! So often we are faced with challenges of time and not having enough of it. Quite often, we do not put in the practice that is required therefore watching what was once a great plan and vision for our classroom fall flat. As they say, "Practice makes perfect!"
On pg. 37, The Sisters introduce a ten step chart to improve muscle memory. After reviewing this chart, it is plain to see you need to give each step its due diligence. Leaving out even one, could make the whole model unsuccessful. The part that I found the most interesting was setting up a small amount of time to practice, like 3 minutes. However, if you see that even just one child is off task, you need to pull the group back together. You do so without using disciplinary voice for that child but more with the idea that "with correct encouragement and practice we can help them build stamina so that soon they will exhibit the correct behaviors and be able sustain them." (pg. 38). This idea seems simple enough but I know it is one I will need to work on and remember when implementing this in my classroom.
After you have allowed the students to practice over and over again, you need to set up some sort of signal to let the students know to reconvene on at the gathering place. The Sisters mention the one they use of chimes. However, I have seen teachers use bells, drums, a count of 1-2-3, and so on. I think what is important is finding what works for you and your classroom and again practicing it.
Finally, check-in with your students. Have them discuss what went well and what could have gone better. Refer back to the anchor chart you created. Allow students to model for the class the correct way and of course the incorrect way. By doing so, you are laying the groundwork for your procedures.
Repeated Practice, Signals and Check-in Discussion Questions
- What are some tips that you have for teachers when doing repeated practice?
- What signals do you use in your classroom?
- Why do you think check-in is an important aspect of this model?
"The beginning of the year is all about establishing routines, defining expectations, practicing behaviors, and building stamina with children within the Daily Five framework, and it takes lots of discipline on the children's part as well as the teacher's. We move slowly to eventually move fast.
The payoff is enormous." (pg. 42)
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on Chapter 3. I have created a freebie for you to use. One is a bookmark you can print and laminate for your students on the I PICK method. Simple and to the point. You can get it here: I PICK Bookmarks