Saturday, July 13, 2013

Diving into the Daily Five!

Don't forget to subscribe to my email list and follow my TPT Store. Please follow me on Blog Lovin' to receive regular updates on my new blog posts. 

It is refreshing to read the work of great theorist and find that what they write about is in alignment with my belief system and philosophy of teaching. Currently, I am reading the The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades written by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser ("The Sisters"). I am looking forward to implementing the Daily Five in my second grade classroom this year. What I love is that I will not be reinventing my teaching style. Instead, I will be fine-tuning a process that I am already familiar with. I wanted to read this book last summer when several blogging buddies participated in a book study, but I had accepted a position as the Academic Dean of Students and needed to put my focus on other areas of study. Now that I've decided to go back into the classroom, I am looking forward to implementing the strategies and procedures that are discussed in this book.

As I read, I decided to share my thoughts and ideas on my blog. I know that there are several teachers who are either interested in the Daily Five or already implementing it in their classrooms. Please feel free to share your thoughts  and ideas in the comments below.

Today I am discussing Chapter One. Here are some key points, concepts or ideas that resonated with me as I read....
  • "We began to look more closely at how we were structuring the learning environment, developing a new plan for how students would spend their time working independently while we met with small groups or conferred with individual students." (page 9)
This is an important concept to me because I believe students learn best through center/workshop time. I believe giving students a set time daily for guided and independent practice is imperative. This is one of the best ways to differentiate instruction for students while providing them with important practice and hands-on/authentic learning opportunities.

  • "We wanted to change the atmosphere in our classroom and our own roles, from trying to "manage" students, rushing around the room putting out fires, to creating routines and procedures that fostered independent literacy behaviors that were ingrained to the points of being habits." (page 9) 
The bulk of my teaching experience has been in 3rd and 4th grades (a combined 11 years out of 13). Fourth grade is my favorite grade because students are independent enough to "manage" their own behaviors during center/workshop time but young enough to still enjoy and need "primary style" teaching. I would establish systems and routines in September and by February, they could completely function on their own. By April/May when the school year starts to wind down, the majority of my day is spent in center/workshop/ small groups and the class pretty much runs itself. This year with teaching second grade I am looking forward to establishing this same routine with my students. I think establishing this in the younger grades can be powerful- as they move into the upper grades teachers won't have to spend as much time establishing these systems and routines and can spend more time teaching and running their workshop time effectively.

  • "What are the rest of my kids doing while I'm trying to teach this small group of children?" (page 10)
When I read this, the answer, in my opinion, was simple. Then I continued to read and saw that their idea of "what the other students doing" is slightly different than the way I've done it in the past. During the Daily Five students are primarily reading:

    • Read to yourself
    • Read to someone
    • Work on writing 
    • Listen to reading 
    • Spelling/ word work 
In the past, my centers were more diverse and changed sometimes week to week. I do see how a lot of my centers and center ideas will fit into "work on writing" and "spelling/word work". I am also in the process of writing a Donors Choose mini grant for iPod Shuffles to add to my listening center. The sisters stated that, "...children should spend a minimum of one and a half hours a day reading in school. Instructional time is in addition to these ninety minutes." Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that three of the center rotations be dedicated to independent reading and/or reading with a partner to make sure that students are getting their 90 minutes of reading in. 
  • "The Daily Five is a student-driven management structure designed to fully engage students in reading and writing." (page 12) 
Over time your literacy block should be: student driven, have high student engagement, provide students with meaningful reading and writing activities, provide authentic opportunities for reading and writing, promote reading for the majority of the time. (page 12)
  • The following components distinguishes the Daily Five from other management models:
    • Rely on the teaching on independence
    • Manage the entire literacy block
    • Allow for three to five focus lessons and mow intentional teaching
    • Provide students substantial time to read and write
    • Allow for the integration  reading and writing
    • Incorporate a variety of clearly defined instructional routines that accelerate learning
    • Build stamina to ensure longer periods of time students successfully read and write
    • Articulate student behaviors that culminate in highly engaged learners 
    • Teach students to understand and monitor their literacy goals (page 13)
  • The first weeks of school are dedicated to launching the Daily Five and instilling literacy habits that allow for independent work with little or no teacher supervision. (page 13) <<< this is something I am looking forward to and cannot wait to get to chapter 4 in the text where The Sisters discuss the Daily Five "in action". 
So that was chapter 1. If you found this information interesting and/or helpful, check back on Monday for Chapter 2. 

I am also in the process of writing an informative post on differentiating instruction. This is something I am very passionate about (and I can say I am good with differentiating instruction for my students). I am debating on when this post should go live....should I drill through The Daily Five book and finish posting my book notes before posing on a new topic? Or, share a variety of topics over the next couple of weeks. Summer is so short and I have a lot of information to share, resources to create and two more books that I am reading! What are your thoughts?  

If you are interested in reading along, visit amazon to get your copy today.

 photo thisone.png
Pin It


  1. I read Daily 5 last summer - fantastic book! I attempted to implement most of their strategies this past year with my 5th grade class, but our schedule was very tricky and I found it difficult to really do all five. I think this year I'll switch to "Daily 3" instead. I'd rather do less well than try to do more and rush through it. I do really love their approach and am totally sold on the need to explicitly teach and practice independence. Looking forward to your future posts!

    From Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files

  2. I read this last summer, too and loved it! I flagged it, highlighted it, (coffee stained it - whoops!) and re-read it again! Couldn't get enough. Great resource. I am your newest follower :) Come stop by if you get a chance!

    The Sweetest Thing
    Follow me on Bloglovin'!

  3. I agree with you Corrina! I am not sure how my schedule looks this upcoming year (new school, new grade) but I home hoping for a solid literacy block. I am also thinking about where my word study fits in so that I can get in the D5 but also give them consistent word study/practice.