Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

A place dedicated to learning for ALL students!

Daily 5 Book Study- Chapter 2

on June 25, 2015


Whew!  I actually thought I was going to be late for this one!  Luckily this chapter was a very fast read so I am still on track with it.  That’s a summer goal, btw.  To stay on track with this book study and really learn about Daily 5 and see if it will work for me and my new group of firsties.  Yeah… 😉

Ciera at Adventures of Room 129 is hosting this one.  So chapter 2 was all about the core beliefs behind Daily 5:

  • Trust and respect
  • Community
  • Choice
  • Accountability
  • Brain Research
  • Transitions as Brain and Body Breaks

First up, trust and respect.  We all want our students to trust us and respect us.  We work to show them the same in return.  Basic curtesies we should be giving all human beings, right?  But what about in respects to how our students work in our classroom?  Do you really trust your students to take care of their part while you do yours?  Do you trust your students to make the best selections for themselves and do their work while you are working with a small group or one-on-one?  This is a big thing for me.  I have bounced back and forth on the concept of allowing my students to have free choice in my literacy stations or not.  My reasoning is based on each group.  I have felt, in the past, that some could be trusted with choice and others couldn’t.  The Sisters realized that they needed to explicitly teach their students to make good choices and do what needs to be done.  They had to trust that the students will learn and acquire these skills through lots of guided practice and direct instruction.  My thoughts on this- They are right.  I have always known that my students are capable of a lot.  I don’t do a lot of little tasks for them like some other teachers I work with do.  They feel that their students are not capable of those.  But I know that students can be taught.  So why am I not applying this consistently to my literacy teaching?!  Or math for that matter!  They said in the first chapter, Daily 5 is a structure, a routine to follow.  I’m good at teaching those!  So I need to learn to trust my students to learn the routines and then use those routines to independently make their own choices.  I can do that, right?

Next up was community.  From the very first day of school we all work to foster a community of learning in our classroom.  We want all our students to be respectful of each other in regards to their educational differences.  With the right type of classroom culture in place, students will help each other stay within the routines and hold each other accountable.  An example was given of a student reminding another one who was being disruptive of what he/she is supposed to be doing during that independent work time.  It wasn’t done rudely or in a way to criticize.  It was done to help the other student.  Peer to peer help.  Thankfully, I’ve had that happen in my classroom before and it’s such a good feeling to know that my kiddos care for each other.  I’ll definitely be keeping that up!

Third was choice.  Oh boy.  A big one for me.  Like I said above, I’ve bounced back and forth with letting students have choice or not.  To be honest, that was when I taught second grade.  When they could read a lot more on their own and needed less directions.  I haven’t really, truly tried this with my first grade kiddos.  Why not?  To be honest I’m not really sure.  I’m not that much of a control freak that I feel the need to direct every movement in my classroom.  I mainly wanted to make sure the students had equal opportunity to get to each station activity and they knew what was coming next.  A structure, routine.  But this book reminds us that when students get to choose what work they do and even where they do it, they are much more engaged and inclined to do it well.  Yeah…going to work on that one.

Accountability was next.  Now this section I really wanted to see.  The last couple of years, I have felt like my students were not completing their station activities correctly unless I had them complete recording sheets and turn them in.  I held them accountable.  Well I felt like this section was linked with the trust and respect one.  Accountability isn’t in a completed piece of paper (I learned that real quick).  It’s having the students engaged in the work and spending their time wisely.  But you don’t get this unless it is directly taught.  Are you noticing a pattern here?  I sure did.  The Sisters have said several times that it all comes down to how we teach them.  We must teach them how to pick a good working spot, how loud their voices must be if they need a voice, etc.  We must show them everything.

Brain research was fifth.  This focused on what was developmentally appropriate for age level you teach.  “It was Wesson who originally taught us the rule of thumb that would change the results of our lessons: The average number of years our children are in age parallels the average number of minutes they can maintain attention during direct instruction– whole group, small group, or one-on-one– as measured by PET scans.” (pg. 28)  That sounds about right.  This is way the Sisters have made the whole group instruction segments no more than 10 minutes.  Our little darlings cannot sit for longer than that and actually learn something.  We’ve all seen it!  Also, we should be allowing for way more practice time than teaching time.  The rule of 20/80 was given.  “Twenty percent of our time should be spent teaching our children based on their immediate needs, as guided by individual assessments.  Eighty percent of students’ time must be spent on practicing the skills and concepts introduced during their instruction, using books and writing they choose.” (pg. 30).  As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

The final principal discussed in this chapter was transitions as brain and body breaks.  Yes yes yes!  I had already been thinking the same thing as these super smart ladies!  Hoowah!  Okay I’m required to teach from my teacher basal and I have been faithful to that.  However, I quickly realized how my students, second or first grade, could not sit still the whole time.  Even I couldn’t!  So looked at the lesson flow as laid out by the basal and found ways to chunk it and get my students moving.  I do parts on the floor and parts at their desk.  I try to incorporate body movements when we practice words.  I have even stopped a lesson entirely just for a good stretch session (now I use Go Noodle…but that’s for a later post!).  The Sisters and I were on the same wave length.  When they notice their class not able to maintain their stamina and keep working, they call for clean up and to regroup as a class.  The physical act of putting things away and going to their meeting place helps refresh the kiddos.  They do more movements as needed as well.  So I got one thing right already!  Haha!  🙂

Well that’s chapter 2.  Please go stop by Ciera’s blog, Adventures of Room 129, to read what others had to say.

Happy Teaching!

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