Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Daily 5 in 2nd Grade

This is my 5th year using The Daily 5 in my classroom. Launching The Daily 5 is what I look forward to the most each fall. In this post I am going to explain how I manage The Daily 5 in my 2nd grade classroom. (The I-Chart templates are from Mrs. Jones' Creation Station.)

1. Read to Self
Read to Self is the first activity I introduce to my students. I purchased my book bins from Really Good Stuff. They aren't the cheapest option, but they are well worth the money. I allow my students to have 7 books in their book bins, one of which can be a chapter book. They can do book shopping in the morning before the bell rings, or for a few minutes at recess. I used to have scheduled book shopping time for students each week, but allowing them all to do it right away in the morning is just so much easier for everyone! (Read more about my classroom library in this post.)

I do not have my students complete any tasks during Read to Self, other than READING! I want their eyes on a book, reading the entire time-no writing or responding to reading. Once my students have reached 10 minutes of stamina for Read to Self, I begin to launch Work on Writing.

2. Work on Writing
Many students begin the year as very reluctant writers, but soon love to write during Work on Writing time. I do have a separate writer's workshop time. The difference between writer's workshop and Work on Writing is that workshop time begins with a mini-lesson, is guided, I hold conferences, and we are usually working on a piece over a period of several weeks. During Daily 5 time, students are writing independently, without any help from me. I sometimes allow them to work on their workshop pieces during Daily 5, but this is usually only when a piece reaches the publishing stage.

During writer's workshop time at the beginning of the year, students are setting up their writing folders. I prefer folders over notebooks, because this allows me to use 3-lined paper. The line spacing is more appropriate for 2nd-graders, and I want them to be able to hand pieces in without handing in their whole notebook. There folders look like this:

The left side is where they place their "tools," such as their Quick Word, and heart map. The middle of their folder is their ponder pocket, which contains index cards with writing ideas (the ponder pocket lesson came from Getting to the Core of Writing). The right side of the folder contains pieces of writing they are currently working on. While launching Work on Writing, students are simply using their ponder pocket, heart map, and other brainstorming tools to free write. As the year progresses, I introduce other writing choices. Here are some of my favorites:

3. Word Work
The next Daily 5 that I launch is Word Work. Prior to launching word work, I introduce students to the materials that they will be using during a separate spelling block. I stress using the materials the correct way, but I allow students to explore the materials. Then, when we're ready to start Word Work, they are already familiar with the materials, and have had some time to "play" with them. Some of the materials I use for launching word work include:

As the year progresses, I rotate materials and add other choices. Students can practice spelling words and/or sight words during Word Work time. I will also add games and materials for other skills that we are practicing, such as commas and apostrophes. Here are some of my Teachers Pay Teachers Word Work favorites:

4. Listen to Reading
By the time students are ready to launch Listen to Reading, they have a very good grasp on the routines and expectations of The Daily 5. Because of this, I only spend a few days discussing the expectations, and having students model. Most of the discussion is centered around how to use the devices correctly. I then choose some students to practice Listen to Reading while the rest of the class is building stamina for the other 3 areas of The Daily 5. My students can do Listen to Reading at the CD player, or on the laptops. Perhaps the most difficult part of launching Listen to Reading is helping students realize that I cannot help them if the technology isn't working. It also takes a lot of work to teach them that they should only spend a few minutes trying to get something to work. If it still isn't working, they should pick up and do Read to Self or Work on writing.

For the first few months, I allow students to explore the Listen to Reading sites. Then I start to require them to complete a graphic organizer that is related to the comprehension strategy we are working on as a class. (Read more about my laptop organization in this post.)

5. Read to Someone
I do not do Read to Someone during our Daily 5 block. Instead, I have a separate "Buddy Reading" time once per week.

Once all areas of the Daily 5 have been introduced, and students have at least 20 minutes of stamina in each area, I introduce choice. I always make a very big deal out of the fact that students are in control of their own learning, and can choose what they would like to do. Here is how I manage my Daily 5 choice time:
  • We do 3 rounds of Daily 5 every day.
  • All students have to do Read to Self and Work on Writing every day. Their 3rd choice can be Word Work or Listen to Reading. I keep track of what they chose, so that they can choose the opposite 3rd choice the next time.
  • If I meet with a group during a round, those students will only do 2 independent rounds of Daily 5, which will be Work on Writing and Read to Self.
  • I have a visual up on my smartboard that contains student names in alphabetical order, as well as a visual of the choices.
  • I have a clipboard that contains a list of student names on the left, and the Daily 5 choices across the top. 
  • As students tell me what they would like to do, I mark a "1" in that column for round 1.
  • After round 1 is over, students gather back at the carpet. They then choose what they would like to do for round 2, and I mark a "2" in that column.

My best advice for anyone who wants to launch The Daily 5 in the classroom is to read the book. It is a very easy read, and it will help you understand the Ten Steps to Independence. There have been many updates since the first book was published. For example, the authors do not suggest students do all 5 activities every day, which is why I do 3 rounds.

Also, some people have asked if I do mini-lessons in-between my rounds of Daily 5. I used to, but I have not run my Daily 5 block this way for a few years now. My main reason was that it was difficult to fit everything in. Instead, I do phonics lessons in the morning, and writing lessons during writer's workshop. I do start my Daily 5 time with a read aloud and mini-lesson.

I'm sure I forgot something, so please let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Alternative Seating: How Things are Going!

My 2nd graders are getting used to using alternative seating, and I am loving it!

We spent the first day back from winter break going over expectations. We discussed which seating options would be best for the various activities we do throughout the day. We talked about choosing a seat that would help them be successful learners. And guess what? They're doing it! I think I've only had to move 1 child in 3 days. I've even seen children move on their own, because a friend was talking to them while they were working.

The only "problem" I ran in to was that the pillows were very popular last week. At one point, there was a big group of kids running to grab pillows at the same time. So they all put them back, and we didn't use pillows for that round of Daily 5. Problem solved! They seem to be over the pillows this week already. :)

They love standing at the bookcases.

Some kids enjoy the low tables, some prefer the high, and some switch off between the two.

I choose 2 students each day to sit on the stability balls, bean bags, and saucer chairs.

I have heard that some teachers who use alternative seating have students choose their spots for the day. I allow my students to choose different spots for the different activities that we do. For example, during math we may be using manipulatives that can be used at a table or on the floor. Then we may switch to using our workbooks, where students may want to sit at a table. We also do a lot of partner and small-group activities. One spot may not "fit" everything that child is doing throughout the day, so they have the freedom to move around, as-needed.

I'm definitely happy with my decision to move to alternative seating thus far. I don't know if my students are necessarily more engaged, but they are definitely more comfortable!