Thursday, July 5, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study- Chapter 2

Thank you to those who commented on the Daily Five and chapter 1.  We look forward to hearing more comments as we continue the Summer Book Study with We Read, We Blog, We Teach

Chapter 2 is titled From "Management" to "Principled Habits": Foundation of the Daily Five
This title is so fitting because so often teachers get in the rut of more often managing the classrooms every day instead of teaching; ending each day tired and/or frustrated.  This chapter has wonderful insight on the importance of developing habits in a classroom so that the students basically run things on their own and teachers can actually teach.  A favorite part was when the two principals were observing the class and talking amongst themselves.  The little girl was distracted by their conversation and politely went over and asked them to take it outside so she can concentrate on her reading.  Hilarious!

Once again, Emily will be typing her reflections in purple and Antoinette will be typing her reflections in blue.

I feel this chapter is key to success in a classroom regardless of the structure you chose to use.  This is the meat and potatoes of Daily 5.  Stephanie, from Third Grade Thoughts, posted a video on the above mentioned book study, which would be a great resource to use with other teachers.

Building a community in a classroom where students and teacher both trust each other is essential.  I have always felt that if your students trust you and truly know you care about them, they are more likely to do the things you ask and less likely to go home and complain about you to your parents.  They understand that although you had to be stern with them, you do it because you care and want them to be successful.  Building a strong sense of trust and community also eliminates some of the feelings of not wanting to look "dumb" in front of their peers as well as allowing students to read books on their level without being teased if they are below level.  The students know the importance of reading books on their level, so they don't question each other as to why one book looks easier than another.  I agree with the Sisters that this needs to be explicitly taught as well as that it continues to be taught throughout the school year.  There are great books you can use to go along with this.  I always read "One Hundred Dresses" at the beginning of the year.  It is great way to show the students what could happen if we tease and bully.  "Enemy Pie" and "Chrysanthemum" are also great ones.

Choice is somewhat and aha moment for me.  My students have always been able to choose books based on their levels and interests as well as in other areas.  I never once thought to have them choose their schedule for Daily 5.  The part where the Sisters say "Students plan their days in our classrooms with a few important questions in mind..." stuck with me.  The students plan their day?  Not me?  I loved that part because it makes the learning more relevant to the students.  It teaches them to be responsible and organized.  There were a lot of quotes from the Choice chapter that struck me.  Two others were "Children love structure and routine." and the equation "Purpose + Choice = Motivation."  Wow, such powerful statements.

I completely agree with the importance of teaching the students why they are learning and doing things each day.  I always think back to high school and remember how much I despised history.  I remember thinking, "Why do we have to learn about dead people?"  I wish my teachers would have told me why because I can't even remember which "dead people" were boring me so much. lol  My love for history came from my father who taught me the impact history has on our lives today as well as what it could do to our future if we don't learn from our past mistakes.

Last, I loved the way the Sisters compared stamina to exercise and soccer.  Yet another great way to make learning more relevant to the students thus leading them to be more independent readers.

This chapter really makes me think.
What do I trust my kids to do?
In what ways could I trust children where I haven't before?
If you were to make a list of things you do with your students in a day, would they show you trust the kids? 
(Now somethings I can't let go of, like class restroom breaks.  Sorry 2 Sisters, I just can't let that one go, blame it on a kid I had in my class during my 2nd year of teaching.)
p19 "Children love structure and routine."
     I admit I am terrible with maintaining a schedule.  I get going with a math group or reading group and the time just flies.  That is why the timer is my favorite teaching tool.  My students remind me to set it.  This year I have decided that can be something they just do.  (Do I really need to be the one to push the button?)
    As far as structure, when we were preparing for the state assessment this year, we abandoned some of our structure and my students HATED it.  They kept asking when we could go "back to normal."  That really proved how much they love indepence and schedule.
Choice is the area I really struggle with.  Mainly because of my principal's expectations. 
          The kids need to be doing Working with Words (Words Their Way) daily. 
          You must meet with your lowest readers daily.
          I only have 90 minutes for reading and writing.
          My IEP kids leave at various times.
(Real life moment, we don't get to chose certain things!)
         If my average kid gets to choose, that's great.   But often times I struggle with managing the above restrictions, and student choice is the thing that flies out the window.
Often I end up only doing 2 or 3 rotations a day.  This leads me to want to structure their time to ensure they get to write about reading (my version of work on writing) or that we have enoughcd players.

**Any tips or suggestions on how to deal with this?

The Sense of Urgency is essential.  They have to know why they need to learn things.  They need to commit to making themselves better readers.
When I started my journey with Daily 5, I had a really TOUGH group.  (People considered retiring after having this group!)
They need a sense of urgency.  They needed ownership of their learning. 
That year, I had a hard time maintaining this value.
The group I had this year was FABULOUS with this.  There were challenges every once in awhile, but overall they ROCKED!
The blessing in disguise is that I am getting that first group back.  Since I am moving up grade levels, I get the chance to try again. 

Thank you for checking out our blog and our reflections to the Daily 5.  We would love to hear any thoughts, questions, or concerns you all have.  The world of blogging is such an amazing communication tool to teachers all over.  We are life-long learners. :)

Antoinette & Emily


  1. Choice is definitely my biggest struggle as well! I am your newest follower following from the book study :)

  2. YEAH!! Thanks for following us Kelly! Reading the section on choice has been such an eye opener for me. I always felt like I provided somewhat of a decent amount of choice for me students, but what a concept to almost let them manage it on their own. I love the idea of them choosing which component to work on and them planning their day. It is very scary though, also. lol

    Hope you're having a great summer!