Friday, June 22, 2012
A Little Late to the Party!
Okay - so I'm a little late. I missed "The Daily Five" book study yesterday and today's almost over, too. I read at least 20 different blogs and lots of questions and now here I am. I decided that I would just share a few personal thoughts, since I agree with all the thinking out there on the importance of community, trust, etc. and you don't need to hear it again.
I have been using "The Daily Five" for 3 years now and plan on using it for the rest of my teaching career, no matter what grade I'm in. I love it! I'll tell you why, just commenting on chapter 2, so as not to get ahead here. There is nothing like building STAMINA in your students. It is empowering. They love it and feel like they can take on the world. For most of them they didn't think they could do it without us (teachers), but if you do it like the book says later on, you'll see, it works. Don't go faster than the book says, even though you're going to want to. (I know from experience but it pays off to listen to “the sisters”). STAYING OUT OF THE WAY is the right way to do it. They don't need us if they have stamina and therefore we can do some real teaching with those that need it. BUILDING A SENSE OF URGENCY gives the students the reasons they need for why. This really helps those challenging students because they always need to know - why. Of course CHOICE is motivating and the whole structure leads to choice, not just letting the students choose when they do each “daily”. I've done it both ways (because I had to with aides) and choice is still ingrained in the program. Teachers don't create cute little centers but let the students do real reading and writing. Therefore it doesn't matter how many students choose to do what at what time. In fact, as you'll see in the book, the choice in what daily to do at what time doesn't even come into effect until a couple months through. Also it still works if you can only do four and call it "Daily Four." I like to read aloud picture and chapter books throughout the year teaching vocabulary and therefore don't do "listening to reading" since I only have time for four 35 minute sessions. I do a 10 minute mini lesson, 20 minute "daily" - reading to self, writing, word work, or reading to someone, with 5 minutes to stretch and share. All of this leads to TRUST. It just works. The students feel more grown-up and they love it. So - keep it simple - it's as easy as it sounds! Keep reading because it will all make sense soon.