Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Daily Five Book Study: The 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence

So I wasn't able to get an entry up in time for Chapter 2 but I'm back for Chapter 3!

This chapter focused on the ten steps to follow to teach students how to be independent workers during Daily Five. These ten steps are quite critical because the whole purpose of Daily Five is for students to be independent learners while the teacher works with smaller group of people. If they can't be trained to be fully independent during Daily Five, then Daily Five simply won't work!

Of course, these ten steps don't just train the students in one day! It's a process in itself that takes time to develop and master. What takes the students the longest is building stamina. So in general, the first few weeks of "Daily Five" time isn't really Daily Five but simply doing 2-3 rounds of stamina building. If you go on TpT you can find tons of free stamina charts that you can use in your classroom to record your stamina progress. I've only worked with lower grades so I don't know how long it will take for the upper kids to build their stamina. However, it usually takes my class (1st and/or 2nd) around 2-3 weeks to completely build and maintain stamina for Read to Self. We would always go over the desired behaviors before practicing building stamina. Even once stamina is built, I usually still spend our first month of full-on Daily Five quickly going over our desired behaviors before we begin, just to make sure it's engrained in the students' minds. After a month in, we can usually head straight to Daily Five without needing to remind ourselves of the desired behaviors.

Step 10 mentions a group check-in. I thought this was such a great way for students to reflect on themselves and their class as a whole and that I continued doing the check-in at the end of Daily Five every day, even after we had finished building stamina. Once Daily Five is over, the students come to the carpet and show me with their thumbs how they think Daily Five went that day. (Remember, my Daily Five time is only an hour with two rotations.) The students would then give their reasoning for whatever thumb they are showing. One of my whole class rewards system is a "coin jar".

Just print and laminate so you can use it over and over again!
After we've talked about how Daily Five went, the class as a whole decides how many coins we get. Five coins is the most we can get for Daily Five, so use that as our goal as we decide. In the beginning, of course, the teacher usually makes the final decision, since students are still learning about how to correlate behavior and performance with the right number of coins. But by the time we get halfway through the year, the students are able to more accurately and honestly gauge how many coins the class should get based on their Daily Five behavior. (Just fyi, the coin jar isn't just used for Daily Five, it's used for other whole class things too.)

In conclusion, the ten steps listed in this chapter are pretty straightforward and easy to follow. As long as you are consistently following the steps every day while you practice building stamina, you will get there! TpT has plenty of free Daily Five resources to help you get started on these ten steps so definitely take advantage of that. No need to reinvent the wheel! I know it's scary to think that you might be wasting precious instructional time repeating something that may not seem like instruction, but it will totally benefit your class in the end. If spending a month of training students to be independent learners means you get nine full months to focus on your small group instruction, then I would think that one month is totally worth it!

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