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!


  1. Thank you for sharing this information this is very nice blog thank you for giving this info

  2. Very detailed and helpful. I am a new teacher. Do students rotate in groups or work at their desk when feasible? Is it set up like small group stations? I will read the book but very anxious...:) Thanks, amy

  3. Thank you very much for sharing your blog! I have decided to implement Daily Five in my classroom this year and have been enjoying the process. I love that you use folders for "work on writing" instead of notebooks. I have my students use notebooks, but I'm already having some issues with this. Maybe I'll try to use your notebook idea instead! I was particularly concerned about how my students would rotate while maintaining control and keeping students on task. While I decided that my students will not get to choose their rotations for the first few weeks, I do think I have found an efficient way for students to rotate once they do get to choose. My class only has time to get through 3 of the five daily five rotations each day. I have created three different clip charts with all the daily five rotation ideas. I have included circles on each daily five rotation so students know how many students are allowed in that particular rotation. For example, read to self has six circles so six students may complete read to self during one rotation period. Students place their clips on the circles to make for an easy visual for their classmates. Students will then keep their clips on each chart so I can review the charts afterward to ensure students have not repeated a station. I have a rule that students must complete all five daily five activities before repeating any. Hopefully this will be helpful!
    Thanks again for your wonderful blog posts! I always enjoy checking out your site :)!

  4. Thanks for your post! I've implemented Daily Five this year and love it! The kids are thriving with all this independence and stamina they are building! Thanks for the tips.

  5. Hi, i know it’s almost the end of the school year…it’s my first year teaching 2nd grade after teaching kindergarten for 13 years. I have always done literacy centers with my kindergartners and wanted to try daily5 with my second graders but because I’m new to this grade level, new to the school, and new to the school district, I have never found the time to start this but ended up going back to doing literacy centers. I know it’s super late to start this now but I figured I should at least try. My questions for you are the following:
    *read to self – how many books do they read each day? Do you make them return books right away when they’re done reading them?
    *work on writing – how many activities do you make them do each day? do you change your activities each day for this?
    *word work – how many activities do you make them do each day? Since they will be doing this everyday, how many activities do you prepare each day and do you change it weekly?

    Sorry, I’m new to this. When I do literacy centers, I have 8 activities prepared for them for the whole week. They rotate twice for 4 days. I change activities each week. I was wondering how you plan yours and how many activities you prepare each week. Looking forward to hearing back from you. Thank You!

    1. Hi, Irene!
      Sorry for the late reply.
      For read to self, they are allowed to keep up to 7 books in their bins. I don't tell them how many they have to read, because many kids are reading chapter books. They just know to read the whole time. They can switch out their books in the morning.
      For work on writing, they just have to write the whole time. For most kids, they'll work on the same piece the whole time. They usually continue their work from writer's workshop, but I do switch out the other options weekly.
      For word work, they just have to work the whole time. :) Some kids may do one activity the whole time, while others may do 3.

  6. I love your listening center table! Did you make it yourself? If so what did you use?

    1. I actually bought it from a retired teacher. I think her husband made it out of an old table. :)

  7. Where can I find your "Daily 5 Choices" organizer to record student choices for the day? It's my first year teaching second and your information has been really helpful! Thank you!

  8. Also, the I-Chart templates you linked to are not the same that you have. Do you know where I can find yours? I like them better because they have polka dots and are simple. Thank you so much!!

  9. Can you post your schedule of your complete Rdg/Lang Arts class so I can see what all you do every day and what time slots you give the students for stations? Thanks!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am the first in my school to do Daily 5 and I count on blogs for advice. I teach second and it is my first year after 13 years of first grade. It is also my first year doing Daily 5. Read to Self has gone very well. I am not in a set routine yet. I am still figuring out what works. I also have two classes. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. My class is not ready to do Read to Someone. I was so glad to find a pro who does not use it. Mine struggle with chatting but do very well in Read to self. On class can go about 18 minutes and the other 29. I am ready to add my second round. I am ordering some of your suggested materials and really appreciate your advise. All the best! Beth in Texas

  11. Is there any place where I can purchase these posters, they are great!

    1. I found them for free here:

  12. Teach Your Child to Read Today!

    Reading is one of the most important skills one must master to succeed in life. It helps your child succeed in school, helps them build self-confidence, and helps to motivate your child. Being able to read will help your child learn more about the world, understand directions on signs and warnings on labels, allow them to discover reading as an entertainment, and help them gather information.

    Learning to read is very different from learning to speak, and it does not happen all at once. There is a steady progression in the development of reading ability over time. The best time for children to start learning to read is at a young age - even before they enter pre-school. Once a child is able to speak, they can begin developing basic reading skills. Very young children have a natural curiosity to learn about everything. They are naturally intrigued by the printed texts they see, and are eager to learn about the sounds made by those letters. You will likely notice that your young child likes to look at books and thoroughly enjoys being read to. They will even pretend to behave like a reader by holding books and pretend to read them.

    At what age can you start teaching a child to read? When they're babies? At 2 years old, 3, 4, or 5 years old, or wait until they're in school?

    If you delay your child's reading skill development until he or she enters school, you are putting your child at risk...

    Did you know that 67% of all Grade 4 students cannot read at a proficient level! According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, of those 67%, 33% read at just the BASIC level, and 34% CANNOT even achieve reading abilities of the lowest basic level!

    There is a super simple and extremely effective system that will even teach 2 and 3 year old children to read.

    This is a unique reading program developed by two amazing parents and reading teachers, Jim and Elena, who successfully taught their four children to read before turning 3 years old. The reading system they developed is so effective that by the time their daughter was just 4 years 2 months old, she was already reading at a grade 3 level. They have videos to prove it.

    >> Click here to watch the videos and learn more.

    Their reading system is called Children Learning Reading, and it is nothing like the infomercials you see on TV, showing babies appearing to read, but who have only learned to memorize a few word shapes. This is a program that will teach your child to effectively decode and read phonetically. It will give your child a big head start, and allow you to teach your child to read and help your child develop reading skills years ahead of similar aged children.

    This is not a quick fix solution where you put your child in front of the TV or computer for hours and hope that your child learns to "read"... somehow...

    This is a reading program that requires you, the parent, to be involved. But the results are absolutely amazing. Thousands of parents have used the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach their children to read.

    All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes a day.

    >> Click here to get started right now. How to Teach a 2 or 3 Year Old to Read.

  13. Logic puzzlesPuzzleFry is the hub for interview puzzles, brain teasers, logic puzzles, brain games, riddles, Logical Questions, Math and Number Puzzles and quizzes.

  14. I have a question: What is shell spell and rock writing?