Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Trying Out Daily 5

Daily 5 has been like a whisper on the wind for a few years now for me.  When I volunteered in a 2nd grade classroom during my undergrad, it was something the teacher down the hall did.  During my credential program, it was something some of my fellow teacher-candidates were experiencing in their placements.  Last year, it was something mentioned at every single district literacy meeting.  I started to get more familiar ... it was a way to do Universal Access.  Then, I started reading blogs and saw how so many of you used it.  Finally, last month, I went to a one day Daily 5/CAFE training/workshop and got the book.  

The training/workshop was super helpful.  It was for 4th-6th grade teachers in my district.  That meant we were all working on adapting it for slightly older than The Sisters teach and dealing with integrating it with the same curriculum.

A brief overview of my "Reading Workshop" last year:

  1. I went week by week with the curriculum, except for grammar because I just couldn't find a way to teach what a complete sentence was before I taught what a noun was.
  2. I used some activities from the curriculum, but also haphazardly tried to create hands on, fun activities that mostly confused students.
  3. Using the theme and strategy for the week, I found more difficult reading passages for my advanced kiddos.
  4. I typed out instructions for each station.
  5. I made students a checklist.
  6. I was exhausted and never actually planned what I would teach small group.
This process took basically an entire day each weekend.  

In the beginning of the year, the kids rotated through the stations, including small group.  Later on, I let them choose the order and just called groups back.  Kids were off task and my small group was tossed together last minute.  It wasn't very differentiated in anything but reading level difficulty.  

Reading was where I felt the worst last year.

Now I'm trying aspects of Daily 5 and so far it is fabulous! I'm still calling it Reading Workshop ... I like that better.  We are working up to doing Daily 4: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Word Work, and Work on Writing.

As most people I know and bloggers I follow do, I give students a bit more structure about what has to be completed than The Sisters do.

Read to Self: This is the one I'm keeping the most open - the kids read what they want and their only recording is the title and author.  I'm playing around with the idea of letting them take one AR test each week during this time, but I'm not sure yet.  Suggestions?

Read to Someone:  This is where I'm having them read stories from our curriculum, but I'm not necessarily going in order.  I'm picking what works best with the strategies I'm teaching and with our social studies and science curriculum.  I like that by using curriculum stories, both partners can have a copy of the same thing to read.  This is also where I'm having kids use graphic organizers based on strategies we're working on.  They will have something to turn in from this station each week.

Word Work:  This station has must-dos and may-dos for grammar/vocabulary.  The must-do so far has been pages from their workbook and the may-do is more hands on.  Again, they have things to turn in from this station.

Work on Writing:  I'm going to introduce this today!  Each week, they will have to write a reading response (a la Book Whisperer meets Notebook Connections).  Then, if they do more Work on Writing, they'll have lots of choices, such as another reading response, continuing what they're working on in writing workshop, writing a letter, writing another story, writing something persuasive ... you get the idea!

I made a recording sheet, but it will look the same each week (I already have the next two weeks photocopied!).  On Mondays, the students and I will fill in the must-dos on their checklists and they'll keep track of their progress during the week by marking when they do what and recording what they read.  The kids are getting a bit confused by all my Must-Do/May-Do categories (because each Daily has them plus some Dailies are must-dos and some are may-dos), so I'm thinking I need to tweak this.
 Click HERE for the google doc!

I also have this pocket chart up with must-dos and may-dos for the kids to reference.  Work on Writing isn't up yet since it isn't a workshop choice yet.  We're practicing whole class this week!  I'm not sure how I'll fit it on there ... going to have to get creative!
I posted these before, but click HERE if you didn't get them the first time!
Another genius idea from Clutter Free Classroom:  Use whiteboard markers on pocket charts!

I'm really enjoying taking the time to set up the procedures and practice stamina, but I am also feeling panicky about not having taught a lot yet during reading.  It's also really hard to keep whole class lessons to 10 minutes, but I'm getting better.

This year vs. last year:

Planning takes less time than last year.

The kids are more on task than last year.

There's less busy work than last year.

There's fewer papers for me to grade than last year.

Yep, I'm loving it!


  1. I am implementing Daily 4 in my fifth grade class for the first time this year. After 9 years of planning, I find that it is a much better format for my literacy block than any thing that I've done before. We have read to self and work on writing down to a science. I have introduced read to someone but we need more practice and we will be starting word work soon. Good luck with the rest of the year.


    P.S. I'm a new follower.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I've started all 4, but I think it's time to go back and review each one. Some of it's starting to break apart a bit!
      Good luck to you as well!