Daily 5 Thoughts

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged–Pinterest seems so much more immediate!  But I’ve been really interested in the Daily 5 book studies going on in the blogging community, and wanted to share my thoughts, too.

I’ve taught with the Daily 5 and CAFE for 2 1/2 years now.  My 2nd grade team will be trying it this year (3 newbies and 1 who tried parts of it last year.)  They’re really worried about how it will work, and I get that.  It sure sounded complicated when I first tried it.  I read the Daily 5 book, tried Read to Self and Read to Someone, and liked it enough that I used some awarded professional money to attend 3 workshops in Tacoma.  I have absolutely loved it–totally life-changing, for both the kids and me.

I’m not spending a ton of time preparing busy work that I wasn’t sure taught the kids anything anyway.  I know the research says practice is what is needed, and they get that now.  My test scores are higher than they were, and the kids can pretty much run the classroom themselves.  I’m able to get quality small group instruction done, and conference with kids periodically.

My goals this year are to improve the coaching piece of Read to Someone, better review anchor charts and procedures, conference more frequently, and tighten my word work lists.

I’m concerned with so many blog posts who love using Daily 5, but rotate the choices like centers.  In my humble opinion, choice is a key element to making this work.  It’s not difficult to keep a checklist of where kids are, although with Title help, Special Ed. help, Bilingual pull-out, Speech pull-out, and my pull-out groups, it feels an awful lot like juggling some days.  I code where each student is, and just pull out a fresh checklist when I run out of room.  I just saw (on Pinterest, of course) where a teacher uses a pocket chart, where each student places a choice card next to his/her name to indicate what choices they’ve completed, with remaining choices under the first card.  (Just found the original blogger on this!  Learning is a Journey ) Even though I see it on my checklist, they often forget they’ve already chosen something, making it seem like I’m choosing for them when I tell them to select another choice.

Another key element some teachers are missing is building stamina, which means flexible timing.  Although my choice times are generally about 15 min., some may be only 10 min, and some may stretch to 30.  Initially, they seldom go past 10 min.  When a regular rotation is put in place, that makes it easier for the teacher to plan, but that’s where behavior problems pop up.  The ideal is to stop a round when a student is off task, whether that’s the first day or the 175th day.  If they know the round will continue despite their behavior issue, there is no reason for them to stop the misbehavior.  And then the teacher has to stop instruction to correct the student–which reinforces the misbehavior.  Which is what we want to avoid, and why we chose to use Daily 5.  It’s more work to plan for flexible group times, but it pays off in the quality of instruction the teacher is able to provide.

I’ll probably post more of my thoughts on Daily 5 and CAFE throughout the summer, and will go back to posting book reviews as well.  School Supply deals may be less frequent, because I have a HUGE stockpile, and because Staples changed their policy.  Their new policy gives store credit at a later date for 25 items, instead of just purchasing them outright.  Disappointing.  There’s still Office Depot, though!


7 responses to this post.

  1. Hi! Thanks for linking up!

    I have a question about stopping the rounds for misbehavior. Did you have the kids clean up completely and return to a whole group setting? Or did the kids stop their task, leave as is, and join a whole group setting? When would you continue Daily 5, after remediation? I’m still trying to develop an understanding of how I’ll manage behaviors with Kinders at the start of the school year.

    Primary Graffiti


    • Hi Cheryl! Yes, the kids clean up completely and return to a whole group setting. If it was an obviously short round or early in the year, we’ll talk about why we had to end the round so quickly, without being judgmental. If it’s early in the year, I go on to whatever was next, usually a mini-lesson. We keep a graph of our stamina and celebrate if we worked longer than the last time. This last year, we were on 4 minutes for a whole week! If it’s later in the year, I’ll restart the round with the same choices after a mini-lesson. Sometime that day or next, whatever choice that particular child was on will be reviewed. If the round was about right (10-20 min.), I simply end the round and review that particular child’s choice as a whole group later. So if a child was supposed to be working on writing, but spent too much time staring off into space, I’d review what it looks like and what expectations there are in work on writing as a whole group. I don’t teach small groups hardly at all until October, when it seems like everything clicks together. It sounds awful, but the kids actually make the biggest gains in the first semester, so I try not to panic now! I hope this is clear enough to understand–feel free to let me know if it isn’t!


      • Posted by Cheryl Saoud on June 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm

        Your reply was very informative. I’m eager to read addition post thought this study. Thank you for taking the time to reply!!!


  2. Hi… Thank you so much for sharing your Daily 5 experience. It sounds like you have quite a system going. Graphing stamina is a fantastic idea… the kids always love a competition. I hope you continue to share your Daily 5 knowledge in the upcoming posts. I really enjoyed reading your advice.
    THanks again


  3. Posted by Kris on June 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Great, great advise!! I would love to know more about how you teach your students proper “choice” behavior. Do you ever have the problem of too many kids at one station?


    • When we do I charts, we talk about how we make choices. So for read to self, I really emphasize “bubble space”…what that looks like, sounds like, how to deal with distractions, etc. For work on writing, it’s an extension with how to use clipboards, get materials. For listen to reading, we discuss how there are only 4 headphones at the listening center, 1 pair of headphones at the dvd, 1 person at each computer, 1 person at each leap pad, 1 person at each iPod. We talk about what bubble space looks like with at each place. Afterwards, when those are filled, and a student chooses that particular place, I just tell them it is closed for the round. With word work, I have a ton of materials available, and only one person can use each set of materials. We discuss how bubble space works with each one of the materials. And then we talk about how it’s the same and different with bubble space with read to someone. When someone (or a pair) is off task at any place, the round is over, and we discuss (right then or a little later) what it should look like instead. If my whole class chooses read to someone, that’s fine. It’s still their choice. I hope that answers your question!


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