Daily 5: Our Core Beliefs *Book Study*

I'm just a bit late to the Daily 5 Chapter 2 party, but I'm excited to dive into this chapter with you! If you didn't catch Chapter 1 yet, it's all about how Daily 5 edition 2 differs from the first edition. There are quite a few shifts in The Sisters' thinking.....you can catch up here.

Chapter 2 explores our core beliefs about reading & reading instruction, & how those core beliefs are the foundation blocks of the Daily 5 framework. I know many people are hesitant about implementing D5...teachers have to give up some control. That's scary. I know...that's part of why I just couldn't wrap my brain around this framework. However, D5 is built on a solid foundation of their core beliefs.
Source: The Brown Bag Teacher

Trust & Respect
Think about the types of activities kiddos are spending most of their time on through the day in many classrooms. If those classrooms are like mine used to be, kiddos are busy with workstations while I'm working with small groups. They're doing hands-on, interactive activities, search & write the room, sorts, playing games. You know...fun stuff. But here's the deal.....shouldn't I have them spend MORE time reading & writing than they are spending on the 'fun stuff'? The answer is, of course, YES!

I bet lots of classrooms are similar to mine...& I bet the reason for that is the same as mine: I don't really trust my kiddos to spend that time really reading, or really writing. But you know what? Just like with everything else, if you really teach your expectations, let your kiddos practice them & build up their stamina...they WILL spend their time really reading & really writing.

Community
I know we all know the importance of working towards building a community of learners. It starts at the beginning of the year: we all work on get-to-know you activities, & team-building exercises those first weeks of school. It builds a foundation for a successful, positive school year. I have a unique perspective on community: I teach a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd grade multi-age classroom, I team teach with an identical classroom (think 55 kiddos - 2 teachers). We function as ONE classroom. In fact, we are referred to a TEAM (there's 1st grade, 2nd grade, TEAM, 3rd grade, etc. in our building). We also keep our kiddos for all three years, so each year, we launch our 3rd graders to 4th, & we get a new crew of firsties in the fall. (This year, we're getting 18 firsties). We work very hard on community.

I was pleased to read in the book, "It isn't uncommon for two children to sit side by side, one with a chapter book and one with an early picture book, completely comfortable with the truth that each selection meets that individual's need at that particular moment". That is exactly what we saw happening! Wow. We introduced D5 at the end of April...so our kiddos hadn't had lots of exposure or practice within the framework, but we already saw that happening by week two. Wow. We were amazed! When you've taken the time to build a strong community, you'll see kiddos hold each other accountable for behaviors, expectations, and even personal goals.

Choice
I'm already a true believer in choice. It allows kiddos to take ownership & responsibility for their learning, & not only does it increase motivation, you'll see gains in motivation, too! I'm pleased that choice is a big part of D5. Of course, we can't forget that teaching the expectations & allowing kiddos time to practice those are key!3

Accountability
Have you held back from doing D5 in your classroom because you were concerned about accountability? Oh, yes...kiddos are accountable! Even though they're not completing & turning in papers. Even though they're making choices. Here's the thing though....accountability is a two way street. We need to be accountable to our kiddos too! I like the way The Sisters explain it: think about those activities we've currently got kiddos working on.....do ALL of your students have the ability to independently complete them? Do you find yourself needing "be out among the children, managing and redirecting, flitting from child to child in order to help them them complete their work"? Yes? I know I did. And think about that...that's not really how I want to, or should be, spending my instructional time. With D5, we need to hold ourselves accountable to teaching kiddos those expectations: what it looks like, sounds like, & feels like to be engaged in the tasks we're giving them.

Brain Research
Brain research fascinates me. Learning about how the brain works and how that affects learning is so interesting. And being able to apply that to my instruction is nothing short of awesome! Brain research is at the foundation of D5...it's why some of the pieces are there. Here are my take aways from this section.

  • Maximize the effect of your lessons: your kiddos can only attend for the number of minutes equal to their age. So..your 7 year olds? You've got about 7 minutes before you start to lose them.
  • Follow the 20/80 rule of thumb: 20% of our kiddos' time should be spent in direct instruction. 80% spent practicing skills & concepts we've covered in instruction.
Isn't it interesting how those work together? The brain research that tells us we need to keep lessons brief also then allows us to give kiddos more time for that important practice.

Transitions as Brain & Body Breaks
GoNoodle Inspiration BlogThis is a concept I truly appreciate! Think about the last time you were sitting in a meeting or training. For me, that was just last week. At a certain point, I just need to get out of there! I need to stand up, walk around, move! Can you relate? Your brain just can't take in any more. I can't tell you how many times I've thought to myself, "This is how my kiddos feel!" haha! This is a part of D5 that I've really taken to heart. The Sisters recommend providing some kind of movement between ending a rotation & beginning your next mini-lesson. GoNoodle, anyone?

A quick brain/body break really makes a HUGE difference. Kiddos love it, & it really does seem to heighten their ability to attend. And it's quick! We use GoNoodle for almost all of our brain/body breaks, & you can find lots & lots of them that are just over a minute. That's not a lot of time, & it truly does make a BIG difference. While I'm on the subject of transitions, I thought I'd share another big take away I had from the D5 Conference I went to:

You know how when you're transitioning & you have those 3 or 4 kiddos that are just taking their sweet time putting things away & getting to the meeting area? You know how you say things like "I'm just waiting for Billy Bob, Sammy Jo, & Mellie Mae", "I'm just waiting for 4 people...."? Do you do that? Because I totally did. Here's the secret to getting them to the group:

Don't Wait

That's right...just go ahead & start. They hear you...they won't miss out on any part of the lesson. And they'll get the signal that it's time to get over there! Honestly. I put it into action & it does work. They can hear your lesson as they're putting things away & they do start moving quicker & getting to the group faster. Amazing, right? 

What are you thinking so far? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please comment below or link up if you have a blog!