Sunday, July 1, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study Intro Our Thoughts

We were so eager to participate in the Daily 5 Book Study through

We are both going to be writing on this post.
Emily's thoughts will be in purple.
Antoinette's thoughts will be in blue.

I was introduced to the Daily 5 through our district professional development classes. 
Our school was one of the few in the district still using the basal.  I was going into 3rd grade, and didn't want to use the basal anymore.  So the Daily 5 was a great gift to my teaching.
In the Introduction of the book I found these points to be meaningful:
-Because we had asked our students to do those "things" we certainly had to look at each one and at least mark on the paper. -pg4 
           I have thought this too many times!  I have to give them a grade, so I have to look at it.  The same boring answer a bunch of times, if you are using a basal.
-Yet the rest of the children in the class are working by themselves, completely independent.
           Yes please!  I was hooked after this sentence.  Independence is essential to owning your learning.

When I was a teacher in the Kansas City School District, we used reading and writing workshops.  You can imagine my surprise when I came to a new school which was still using the basal.  It was complete and utter torture!  I tried to keep up with the fast paced themes using a workbook which I felt dumbed down the curriculum.  I survived my first year and decided there was no way I was doing that another year. lol  The next year, I tried to incorporate some of the basal into a reading workshop style of teacher.  AND... there was no way I was using that workbook.  My third year, I ditched the basal all together.  That year, I too was introduced to the Daily 5 through a professional development class.  I had never read the book, but incorporated my own version of Daily 5 into my classroom.  I like the routine it created and how much easier it was to interact with a small group because everyone was busy working.  I've always been interested in reading the book thus was very excited when I stumbled upon the summer book study on Pinterest.

So here are my thoughts on the introduction:  I totally relate to the authors of Daily 5 when they discussed how they evolved as teachers; starting with worksheets and classroom management issues and then moving to Daily 5.  My evolution was different than theirs though as I started with workshops for the first six years, went to a more traditional style of teaching with tons of worksheets, and ended with workshops and my version of Daily 5.  My workshops in the past few years have been better managed as a result of using some components of Daily 5.

Two things really stuck with me from the introduction.  The first was when they talked about how at the end of the day they mentioned something wonderful that the students accomplished that day.  So this would be what I call one of my duh moments.  It is a routine that my students and I tell each other good bye each day.  I always say something like have a great evening or see you tomorrow, but I never thought of telling them something amazing they did.  What a great way to make each student feel special.  The second was that the students cycle through their choice of the Daily 5 component and they are responsible for ensuring they have accomplished a different component each period.  WOW!!! Scary yet fascinating at the same time!

We would love to hear your thoughts on the Daily 5.  Have you read the book?  Do you use this structure in your classroom?  Any helpful tips for us or other teachers?  We are so excited to hear from you. :)


  1. I found this post via "We Read, We Blog, We Teach" (and that via Pinterest). I am going into my 3rd year of teaching 4th grade. We use the Treasures basal. I too, despise the worksheets, worksheets, worksheets. It seems as if I am going through the same progression. My first year I stuck to things pretty closely. Last year, I ditched some of the busy work. Next year I want EVERYTHING my kids do to be meaningful. I have spoken with my principal about my lack of confidence with small group reading instruction/organization. In fact, she loaned me The Daily 5 and The CAFE Book. I am really happy about stumbling accross this book study (Pinterest is amazing). Although I am a bit overwhemled with the 103 comments, I know I will learn a lot and walk away with many great ideas. I'm sure things will start coming together the more I read. I'm interested in how your schedule is set up. I usually have 40 minutes of whole group time and 50 minutes of small group time. My IEP students often vary in needs (as I'm sure you've experienced). Some students might be pulled during small groups, while others are pulled the entire reading block. Do you have any suggestions for how to adopt the Daily 5 structure with these obstacles?

  2. I am also participating in the D5 book study and came across your blog! I will be a first year 2nd grade teacher this coming August and have literally been dreaming of implementing the Daily 5 in my classroom. I agree with your last few lines that it seems scary to completely release responsibility to the students. I am nervous about that, but have faith that it will work with lots and lots of practice at the beginning of the year.

    I attended a planning sessions with the 2nd grade teachers that I will be working with at my new school and one of them made the comment that she only teaches procedures and stuff for the first two days because after that she run out of things to teach. I just don't see how this could be.. I was completely taken aback by her comment and am concerned now that I will be frowned upon if I take longer than two days. I know it is going to take me awhile to teach all of the procedures that I want to have in place for the school year. What do you think is an appropriate length of time for this at the beginning of the year? Should I be worried about this or maybe wait and see what the other 2nd grade teachers say about the beginning of the year procedures? I know the sisters says 20 days...

    Thanks so much!

    Mrs. P

  3. Randi- All of the comments were a bit overwhelming for me as well. I also found the book study via Pinterest. Emily and I love that site.
    That is awesome that your principal is supportive of you venturing away from the norm. Our principal very much loves the basal but we are lucky, as well, to have the freedom to teach the way we feel is best. Next year we are doing Balanced Literacy which is reading and writing workshops. I am excited for our district.
    We have very similar complications with our schedule. Our IEP kids are pulled either partially or completely from our reading block. Depending on scheduling, we get about and hour to an hour and a half of Comm Arts time. Next year, we hopefully should have more. Emily will have to speak as to how she juggles this, but my IEP kiddos were gone the entire reading block. I did have some students leave for a half hour for reading support, so I just scheduled their guided time around that. I do about a 15 minute mini-lesson at the start of the block and then either work with small groups or individually with the remaining time. My small groups struggled a bit this past year, unfortunately. Due to many conflicts (testing, testing, and more testing lol), I didn't feel they were as consistent and fluid, at times, as I would have liked them to be.
    With Daily 5, it might work out even better as you do more than one mini-lesson. Depending on their needs, you could schedule certain lessons around the students who leave. I haven't taught using more than one mini-lesson before, though.

    Emily- Feel free to add any other helpful suggestions as I know your schedule was different than mine. :)

  4. Mrs. P- I completely agree with you regarding how is it possible to teach procedures in a couple of days. I feel it is an on-going thing. It's hard to say how long is appropriate because it really depends on the students. I agree with you though, that lots and lots of practice is needed in the beginning. Emily is more versed in Daily 5 and CAFE strategies than I am, so she might be more helpful.

    I used my own version of D5. My students had 3-4 rotations. Almost every day, they had some kind of work with teacher and read to self. Most days, they had tech time (blog, website, etc) and word work. These all took a lot of practice at various points. I usually spend the first week really working on procedures alone and then gradually start adding in curriculum. This past year I had looped with my fourth graders, so we didn't need as much practice.

    Next year, with starting Balanced Literacy, our first units are launching reading and writing workshops.
    The focus of these units is to build the structures of the workshops. There are some standards addressed in these units, though. Teachers will teach the standards along with practicing routines. These units can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks, depending on the grade level. I feel it is important to note that once you introduce and start practicing the procedures with the students, you can start teaching to the standards while continuing to work on routines.

    My advice to you regarding your grade level would be to first see what the other teachers' plans are. They probably will agree with you. If not, you have to go with what you feel is best for you and your students. I transferred from one district to another 5 years ago. The group of 4th grade teachers were wonderful people but taught quite differently (using a basal) than I was used to. I tried to teach in that manner and was completely miserable. The next year, I took baby steps towards using more of a workshop structure. If I could go back, I would have listened to my instincts as to what was best for me and my students. I understand not wanting to step on toes considering you will be at a new school (I will be experience the same thing next year). I would just see what they have to say, use some of it, and then go with what works best for your classroom.

    I'm excited you are participating in the book study as well and look forward to chatting with you more.

  5. Randi-
    The schedule is my nemesis every year! I had kids pulled in the middle or during the whole thing. I think that it is important to have the most important mini lesson while everyone is there if possible. We were expected to meet with those kids everyday. (Yeah that happened!)As far as choice. My IEP kids didn't really get to choose them all. I focused on Read to Self, Word Work, and Listen to Reading. If time allowed I would add writing. They essentially do, read to someone and fluency strategies during their service time.

    Hope that makes sense!

  6. Mrs. P,
    If asked I would just say, each teacher takes different amounts of time to teach expectations. 2 years ago, I had a difficult group (which I will be getting back, since I am changing grade levels), and they took a lot longer than the angels I had this year. Plus if its your first year, you can use that to your advantage. You are on a learning curve, it make take extra time.
    I have joined 3 different grade level teams, getting ready to join my 4th, and my recommendation is to honor them and their thoughts, but stay true to what you believe. Some teachers are constantly racing through topics and that won't change.
    I like Antoinette's suggestion to start teaching the curriculum as you are still practicing routines.


  7. Thank you so much for your advice and words of wisdom! I look forward to continuing this Daily 5/CAFE journey. I'm sure I'll be back soon to pick your brains some more. :)

  8. Thanks for the advice and words of wisdom! I look forward to continuing the Daily 5/CAFÉ journey. I’m sure I will be back soon to pick your brains. :)