I have one excuse why I didn't post on Thursday about Chapter 3....the WEATHER! It was 70 degrees and sunny yesterday in Kansas therefore I was outside pretty much all day. I think I walked the dog 3 or 4 times! Since I didn't post yesterday and I said I would post tomorrow I decided to post on chapters 3 and 4 today. The hubby wants to maybe paint tomorrow so I wanted to make sure I got both posts in.
Chapter 3: The 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence
I enjoyed reading this chapter because "the sisters" narrowed down their ideas of building stamina and setting up the D5 into 10 easy steps! Our students need to actually experience their learning physically instead of just hearing and seeing it. This will allowing students to create a lasting memory of the expectations and routines. This is definitely my philosophy as well when it comes to not only the D5 but also teaching expectations at the beginning of the year. "The sisters" 10 steps can be used in many other instructional situations besides the D5, they are great practices to have in your tool belt as a teacher.
Step 1: Identify what is being taught
This steps is pretty easy and self explanatory, but many times we as teachers leave it out. Identifying what is being taught will allow students to make connections to learning and improve comprehension. In the D5 this is done through making an I-Chart.
Step 2: Set a purpose and create a sense of urgency
This steps is also done through making an I-Chart. "The sisters" also tell a great story in this section about a little girl named Jenna, make sure to be on the look out when you are reading. When you are creating a sense of urgency with your students it is helpful for them to see you excited about the learning for the day. Remember our attitudes always rub off on our students!
Step 3: Record desired behavior on an I-chart
"The sisters" have changed this step a little...instead of having students brainstorm the ideas the teacher will record the desired behaviors and briefly explain each one. "The sisters" believe allowing students to brainstorm will make the lessons too long and therefore being unproductive. As I was reading this section I went back and forth. I understand that we want lessons to be short for our student's attention spans but I feel allowing the students to brainstorm creates a sense of ownership within the class. I am not sure how I will handle this next year with my class quite yet. I did like that "the sisters" suggest with younger students to only list a few desired behaviors and continue to add more as the students build more stamina. (this is perfect for K students!)
Step 4: Model most-desirable behaviors
We all know how this section goes! One take-away I got was that "the sisters" always made sure to check in with the whole class after each modeling. I made sure to flag the specific wording to use with my class next year.
Step 5: Model least-desirable behaviors, then most-desirable behaviors again
Last year when I did this step with my students I made sure to choose a student who I knew might have problems during the D5 as we practiced building stamina. I was able to remind that student that he/she had shown the class what not to do very well, but even better he/she was able to model perfectly what to do. This was a great confidence builder for that student and something positive I could always refer back to with that child. "The sisters" model is correct, incorrect, and then correct unless you are teaching kindergarten. Showing kindergarten students the correct and incorrect expectations might confuse them, therefore only showing them the correct modeling is a better choice.
Step 6: Place students around the room
This is a section I skipped last year with my students. We have specific places students would sit during different parts of the D5. For example; they sat at their desk for Read to Self and Work on Writing, they sat on the carpet for Read to Someone, they were on the computer for Listening to Reading, and they sat on the floor in the back of the room for Word Work. This worked pretty well, but I might try allowing students to choose where to sit next year. Now having a year of the D5 under my belt I really want to try bringing in more of the choice foundation that "the sisters" build the D5 around. I think I will be pleasantly surprised!
Step 7: Practice and Build Stamina
This is one of the most important parts for the D5 to be successful. I kept a class poster of the stamina we built everyday in different sections of the D5. I allowed a student to color in how much we built that day. It was a great motivator for students and a visual to remind them of their successes. Student's behavior will set the pace for building stamina each year, therefore I am not expecting my students next year to build the same amount of stamina each day as my students last year.
Step 8: Stay out of the way
The hardest part of this section for me was the eye contact. Many of my students wanted to make eye contact with me instead of reading. One day I decided I was going to read along with them as they were building stamina. I noticed that many of my student didn't even look up from their books because they knew I was busy reading myself. Usually I would read the next section of the D5 I would be introducing in days to come during this time.
Step 9: Use a quiet signal to bring students back to the gathering place
My students loved my quiet signal, a rain stick. I tried using something else during math centers, but then I realized I should be using the rain stick to make it consistent for my students. "The sisters" suggest using the formula "above, pause, and whisper" with your quiet signal (Boushey and Moser, pg.54). You have an above signal (the rain stick), you pause until you have your students attention, and then you whisper your directions.
Step 10: Conduct a group check-in
I think it is always important to have a check in at the end of any independent work time students have. This allows you to revisit expectations or I-charts if needed and allows students to share any important findings/ideas while they were working independently. "The sisters" suggest having students rate how they performed today during the D5 and then set a goal for the following day. I LOVE this idea and will be doing it next year for sure!
Chapter 4: What do you need to begin the Daily 5?
1. Chimes or a quiet signal: I used a rain stick that I purchased at a local teacher store.
2. Chart Rack or Interactive Whiteboard: I made sure to keep mine at our gathering place.
3. Tools, not toys: These are for "barometer" students. I hope "the sisters" explain how they use these more in later chapters.
4. Book boxes: I used canvas bags I got at Hobby Lobby. I ironed on numbers to each bag so I can use them again next year. "The sisters" suggest having 700 to 750 titles of books in your classroom library for students. That made me tempted to open all my crates of books and start counting. Also consider the ratio of fiction and nonfiction in your library.
5. A Gathering Place and Focus Lessons: My kind principal purchased everyone rugs for their gathering places. It doesn't hurt to ask!
5. I-Charts: I keep these in a place I could always refer to them with my students.
6. Classroom Design: "The sisters" suggest considering where you usually like to read as an adult and really thinking about where/how your students would like to read in your classroom. My building did not allow pillows, couches, etc. but I did allow my students the choice to sit at their desk or to lay on the floor.
WOW, that was a lot of great D5 tips from "the sisters." Make sure to go check out Kim's post for the upper grades!
If you would like to follow along with us check out the schedule below: