I am Abby from Third Grade Bookworm and I could not be more excited to kick off our summer book study with you!
I am a 3rd grade teacher in Georgia. My school is departmentalized 1st-5th, so I teach Reader's Workshop, Writer's Workshop and Skills Block (ELA) to 2 groups of students each day. On a *perfect* day, I get about 2 hours and 15 minutes with each group. That means no fire drills, or assemblies, field trips, IEP meetings... :)
Having taught at an America's Choice school for 10 years, I have been seriously invested in the workshop model. That being said, I found myself really interested in the CAFE/Daily 5 model when our fabulous literacy coach brought it up this year. I read both books but didn't have time to really "digest" or put into action all of the fabulous things I learned.
So, when I started reading The Daily 5 again , I found myself saying - "Oh! Me too!" over and over during Chapter 1 when The Sisters wrote about all of the "things" they found themselves doing after school once the kids left... restocking centers, grading an assortment of "busywork" papers, assessing reading and writing tasks, etc.. I've often found myself looking up at the clock around 4:00 every afternoon, only to realize I haven't started to make my mini-lesson charts or prepare for my small groups and conferences for the next day. Then, I came across this question:
"Did those things just keep our kids busy, or were they engaged in literacy tasks that will make a difference in their literate lives?" (p. 4)
I had to be honest with myself. Many of the things my kids were doing quickly found their way into the recycle box! :) They were activities that aligned with the standards we were working on but they weren't meaningful activities that made my students better readers and writers.
I also appreciated The Sisters' honesty in noting that during the first few weeks of school, their literacy instruction is focused on putting rituals and routines in place, setting expectations and building students' stamina for working and learning. I do have that fear of the Curriculum Cops coming by and wondering why I haven't started addressing the standards yet, but I'm prepared!
"The way teachers structure their learning environment and the way students spend their time influences the level of reading proficiency the students have attained at the end of the year." (p.7)
In other words - if we don't take time to establish the structure and expectations of our literacy block, our students will not be able to meet their potential as readers and writers during their year with us. Take that, Curriculum Cops! :)
As I try to reconcile the workshop model and Daily 5, I have a couple of questions I want to leave you with:
- How does your current time for teaching literacy compare with what The Sisters suggest for The Daily 5? Is it longer? Shorter? Are you open to making an adjustment? Do you have a "block" of time you can set aside?
- With intermediate students, our schedules are often more constrained than those of our primary counterparts. Are there pieces of The Daily 5 you would consider more "essential" than others? For example, would you consider Listen to Reading an essential component?
Finally, I wanted to challenge you to take a look at your own management techniques and start to plan for those "tweaks" we all make every year. Think about how The Daily 5 will change the structure of your classroom environment. What will you keep? Throw out? Tweak?
I'm including a printable freebie that mirrors the chart The Sisters developed on pages 7-9. The first page is the one I'll be using. I pulled out the pieces I wanted to focus on the most. The second page is blank so that you can focus on what fits you and your classroom.
I can't wait to hear what everyone has to say! Happy Reading!