Monday, July 15, 2013

"Principled Habits: Trust, Choice, Community, Urgency, Stamina, Staying Ot of the Way

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Welcome to chapter 2 of The Daily FIve. If you missed the post I shared on chapter 1 click HERE. 

The Daily Five encompasses 6 "Principled Habits":

  • Trusting students
  • Providing choice
  • nurturing community 
  • creating a sense of urgency 
  • building stamina
  • staying out of students' way once routines are established  (page 18)
It is explained in the text that these principles are essential to the Daily Five. 

  • "Meaningful learning requires respect between the teacher and students as well as among the students themselves." 
  • "Taking time to build trust and demonstrate and caring is the foundation upon which all other elements of our literacy learning are built." 
  • "As William Bridges says in Managing Transitions, "Without trust in the teacher, the step toward independence and the mastery of a new skill is less likely to happen. At that moment, with fear balanced against hope, it is trust that makes the difference" (p.108)" (page 18)
  • When trust is combined with explicit instruction, our students acquire the skills necessary to become independent learners. 

I believe in building a strong classroom community through the responsive classroom approach. A responsive classroom promotes a kind, safe, respectful, and predictable environment. It is embraces cultural, academic and developmental differences and encourages collaboration/ cooperative learning by developing students' social and emotional growth. A strong component of building a responsive classroom is establishing trust. Students need to feel safe to take academic risks and explore things that may be out of their comfort zone. I made this connection while reading chapter 2. What I like about the Daily Five is that it is an academic regimen that teaches the "whole child"; it is about not just transferring information, but teaching kids to process and apply what they are learning in the class and in real world situations. This is also an important component of differentiating instruction (which I will be writing about next week). The Daily Five concept so far is fitting right into what I believe are important components of classroom instruction. 

  • Students crave structure and routine. The Daily Five requires a system that is slightly different than one that you would find in a typical school day. "The most pronounced difference for students is the choice they have over the order in which they'll participate in the Daily Five activities. During the literacy block, the five tasks are taking place simultaneously: 
    • Reading to self
    • Reading to someone 
    • Listening to reading 
    • Working on writing 
    • Spelling/word work 
  • "Students plan their day with a few important questions in mind:
    • What are my goals in reading and writing?
    • What will I do first?
    • Whom will I work with?
    • What will I accomplish? 
    • What was I working on yesterday that I want to continue today
  • "Choice is highly motivational and puts children in charge of their learning...
(page 20)

Student choice is empowering and I as I read this section I first thought about how I would do this. I normally don't allow students to begin choosing their own centers until mid year once they are "trained" to move throughout the room with control. So I am thinking about what my first 3-4 weeks of school will look like to start preparing them for this type of autonomy sooner. I also thought about how I implement Student Led Parent Conferences (SLC) in my classroom. Through SLC's students develop interactive portfolios that includes student friendly data, student work and reflective writing. How will I collect data using the Daily Five? I like that the students ask themselves a set of questions at the start of the day and I am thinking about what this can look like. Will there be a daily check-off, is there a daily writing prompt that encourages them to reflect on these ideas? What is a second grader capable of doing in September and how will I foster this independence as the year goes on? How can I include this in my student-led conferences/ interactive portfolios? I like the idea of student choice and I look forward to reading up on the different strategies that I can use to implement this in my classroom. 

  • "Creating and maintaining a healthy classroom culture."
  • "A sense of community provides members with ownership to hold others accountable for behaviors of effort, learning, order, and kindness." 
  • "...the community will join together to encourage, support, and hold [this child] accountable for his or her learning behavior." (page 22) 
This goes back to establishing a responsive classroom. 

  • "Creating urgency in earning establishes a culture where every moment of learning and practicing counts for students and teacher. "
  • "We believe that when people understand the reason for a task, it establishes motivation and becomes a force that keeps them persevering."
  • When teaching each one of the Daily Five, start with explicitly teaching why
    • You read to yourself
    • You read to someone 
    • you listen to reading 
    • you write
    • you do work
(page 22) 

Students have to understand the why. They also have to understand that "every minute counts". When students have a sense of urgency, I have seen this minimize behavior distractions significantly not only in my class but in my colleagues' classrooms. One colleague of mine who taught second grade this year implemented the Daily Five in her class and she had some very challenging behaviors in her classroom. Although she still had to redirect and discipline from time to time, overall her classroom climate was focused and on task during instructional time. I say this because I teach in a Philadelphia public school- which has limited resources. It is important that when I look at different theories, teaching strategies, etc. I have to ask myself, "is this realistic for the environment in which I teach?" I would never doubt the ability of my students and I would never put a cap on what I think they are capable of learning. But I have to be realistic when choosing a program or resource because I have to make sure that what I use can realistically meet their needs. And if it doesn't, I evaluate where I need to tweak it so that it does. I remember in college watching short video clips that modeled teaching styles or routines, etc and there being these large classrooms filled with tons of resources and maybe five very well-behaved students. That isn't realistic...not for me anyway... not in a sense where when I am doing small groups there aren't any other students in the room or, that I have a huge classroom. So when I view video clips, read textbooks, listen to PD's I always take in the content and then plan on how I can make this work in my classroom. I say this to say that I've seen parts of the Daily Five in action and I look forward to how this teaching model will have a positive impact on my 2nd grade class. I always teach with a sense of urgency- I constantly emphasize why they need to take their learning seriously. That is a part of my teaching style. But again, I primarily worked with older kids, I taught 4th and 6th over the last 8 years so establishing a sense of urgency within my students sometimes takes a lot of work, work that I love, but I have to mold them into being independent workers- which can take up to about December at times...just being honest. I look forward to working with the younger students and I think successfully laying this foundation and sense of urgency for learning and taking learning serious in the early years is powerful. 

  • "The stamina needed for Daily Five is much like the stamina needed for physical exercise."
  • "If we start with a task that children have no stamina for or lack the ability to do, they are not only doomed to frustration and failure, but why would they ever return to that activity on their own?"
  • Teachers must, "lay the foundation for success, support them, cheer them on, and help them succeed."
  • "Just like with soccer practice, children cannot become better readers, make standards, and develop a love for reading when we are giving them only 7 minutes a day to do it. If we are instructing so much that the students don't get a chance to read, or if we are counting working in a workbook as reading time, then we're not giving them enough time to become better readers and writers." 
I guess the easiest way to make sense of this is if you only run a mile when working out, if you enter a marathon and have to run 26.2 miles you will be significantly unprepared to "run the distance." Stamina is important for all of the reasons stated above. It is also very important for students to find success on standardized tests (those passages are long...). 

  • "We had unwittingly taught them to rely on our reinforcement to keep them on-task. They were not the least bit independent." 
Students only truly have independence when they are capable of managing themselves. Establish systems that the students can manage and not only do you make your job easier, but you empower the students to encourage and/or accept accountability. 

Are enjoying my book notes? If so, check back on Wednesday for a new update. 

What are your thoughts? How is this relevant? Do you use Daily Five? If so, what has your experience been like? Please share your thoughts, links and/or resources in a comment below. 

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

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  1. WoW ... what a gift your review is! So many, many transferrable skills from reading to the real world. Beautiful.


  2. Thanks Barbara, are you using the D5 in your classroom? If so, how is it working for you?