Sunday, February 27, 2011

Teachers Working with the Daily 5...Let's Talk

As I travel from school to school, I am noticing many teachers reading, thinking about, and trying out the Daily 5.  What really intrigues me is the very wide range of teachers interested in it.  Teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 6 are exploring what it could look like in their classrooms.  It also seems to be of interest to teachers with varying styles and philosophies about how children become literate.  I don't know if this is important or not but I think it is worth thinking about together.

I have some hunches and some questions.(I know, big surprise) First of all, the hunches. 

Hunch #1

What the authors are describing is not new.  Many literacy experts have suggested what is essentially a workshop approach and many of us have been working this way for some time. What these authors do is describe it in a very teacher-friendly, meaningful and concrete way.  We can see ourselves in the picture they are creating.

Hunch #2

The book describes a structure, not a program.  Because of that, there are many ways in for teachers.  We can take what we are already doing in our literacy block and adapt it based on the Daily 5.  Or, we can set it up exactly as they tell us to, knowing that it has worked for many teachers and will likely work for us.  Or, we can start slowly, making one change at a time and reflecting on how it is working and what our next steps might be.  Wait a second, this is starting to sound  a lot like the ways in which I think about differentiation.  The structure is open-ended enough to meet the needs of all kinds of teachers.  It appears to help a wide range of teachers meet the literacy goals they have for their students. 

Hunch #3

The structure is based on some very solid research and practices.  In the approach, as I understand it, students are spending ever increasing amounts of time reading and writing,  not doing activities about parts of reading and writing.  They are engaged in real reading and writing... daily, at school.  Like our Balanced Literacy Framework, the Daily 5 approach supports a gradual release of responsibility.  Students see many models and demonstrations.  They have whole group, small group and individual experiences.  The instruction is differentiated, it is at their level.  It is also strategy based, recognizing that readers need strategies and explicit teaching at all levels of proficiency.  All kinds of strategies.  Strategies for decoding, for comprehension, for choosing just right books, for reading chapter books, for reading non-fiction...

I also have questions.  Some are mine and some are from teachers I have been talking with.  If you have answers, or more questions, or comments on how it is working for you, leave a comment or send me an email. 

  • In what ways is the Daily 5 working for you?  
  • What adaptations have you made to the structure?  
  • In what ways does the Daily 5 not help you meet the goals you have for your students as literacy learners?
  • How do you keep the Daily 5 alive? 
  • Would you like to get together with other teachers exploring this approach?
  • Do I need to make reading The Cafe Book a priority?  Why?
I think I should stop there as I have twice as many questions as hunches and I believe that is the legal limit here in Winnipeg.  As I said in my title... let's talk.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Connecting in New Ways

I think it's time to explore new ways (for me!) of connecting with teachers. Many EY classrooms have their own blogs and it is time for me to get with the program.

What you have that I do not, is access to great kid photos and stories. That will definitely be hard to compete with, but I am sure I can come up with something (do not worry, it will not be to distribute my own school photos!

My first idea is to share some of the great books currently on my desk (book bag, bedside table...) in various categories:
  • Read and loved
  • Planning to Read
  • Professional books
  • Kids books
Most of this post will take the form of adding books to my Shelfari page. My shelf is now on the blog for you to see and I will add to it as new books come my way.

Thank you to the teachers (you know who you are!) who have introduced me to this website. I think it is a wonderful way to spread the word about book finds and I am sure that together we will learn even more ways to use it.

Thank you also to the teachers who send me great book titles. Of special interest recently, are picture books that provide a springboard for student writing.

From the teachers at Hampstead School have come:

Memoirs of a Goldfish,
Wallace's Lists and Spork

Thank you to Donwood School and the Curriculum Conversations group for I am the Dog, I am the Cat and a whole website of other mentor tex

Happy reading and writing!