Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Six Foundations of the Daily 5 (Book Study: Chapter 2)

Overview & Thoughts
 Chapter 2 delves into the six core foundational beliefs that are essential when implementing the Daily 5.
  1. Trust
  2. Choice
  3. Community
  4. Sense of Urgency
  5. Stamina
  6. Staying Out of the Way
According to the authors (Gail Boushey & Joan Moser), putting more trust in students is key to developing respect and positive relationships between the students and the teacher, but also between the students themselves. However, as they stress, it is vital to show them correct models of what behaviors you want them to do and give them short, repeated opportunities to practice those behaviors.  With some practice, they should be able to develop the independence they need to continue working even when they are not being actively "managed". Now, wouldn't that be great?!

Thoughts & Ideas: This year I'm truly going to embrace this and start guiding students toward more responsibilities and trust. #1 - I'm going to develop a list of classroom jobs that students can apply for. (Misty at Think, Wonder, & Teach has a great post about that here.)  #2 - I'm going to stop the intensive book check-out system for our classroom library. (I could never find time to keep up with it anyway....)  #3 - Instead of raising their hand to ask permission to use the restroom, I'm going to let them just sign out. 

Within the Daily 5, this involves selecting the order in which students complete their tasks, what they read, who they choose to read with, and what goals they'd like to focus on.  Having a choice about things within the reliable structure of the day can be highly motivating.

Thoughts & Ideas: I've always been a huge supporter of giving as much choice as possible, and I think this will appeal to my students. I also think including some magazines and other non-book reading material in their Book Boxes will work as well.

This section focused on developing a positive classroom culture where all the students know and support each other - all pulling together to help achieve their goals.

Thoughts & Ideas: Lots of ice breakers and getting-to-know-you activities at the start of the school year are great, but I also think it's important to continue those team building activities throughout the year. Last year my 6th grade team scheduled a weekly team meeting where students shared their personal successes and we gave 3-5 students awards. If you're looking for team-building ideas, I highly recommend the book Moving Beyond Icebreakers: An Innovative Approach to Group Facilitation, Learning, and Action. It's a terrific resource and has dozens and dozens of great activities for any group size and any amount of time. 

Sense of Urgency
Explaining the reasoning behind activities - the "why" - establishes an atmosphere where every moment counts and being efficient and productive with classroom time matters. By teaching students the purpose of their goals, they'll be motivated to begin right away and not let distractions disturb them.

Thoughts & Ideas: This seems rather tricky to me. Some of my 6th grade students in the past were masters at "dilly-dallying" (sauntering to find a book, get a drink, sharpen a pencil....). Perhaps with repeated practice, they'll get good at it.  I'm hoping!! 

Building students' stamina to read and work independently is a huge aspect of the Daily 5. By starting with just 3-5 minutes at first and building up over periods of practice, you should be able to guide your class toward working on their own for longer and longer amounts of time.

Thoughts & Ideas: I thought the sports analogy really hit the nail on the head - would you ever see a 7 minute soccer practice? NO! Just like any other skill, reading takes focused practice that builds over time. I've been taking my 5 year old daughter to swimming lessons during the past few weeks and I can see this in action. The first day she could float on her back for only a second with assistance, but within a week she's made it up to 5 seconds totally on her own.

Stay Out of the Way
Essentially - this means let your students build up their stamina on their own and without positive reinforcements from the teacher so that they become truly independent.  No circling around to improve behavior by supportive hovering.......  Just sit and observe from the location where you will be meeting with students later on.

Thoughts & Ideas: Yikes! This does make sense, but it's also a bit scary....   Since our observations with the principal are going to increase this year with the new APPR system in New York State, I can only hope that she'll understand what I am doing!

If anyone has some great team-builders or ways to improve students' sense of urgency, I'd love to hear your recommendations!


  1. I love this chapter. AFter reading it, how could anyone NOT want to keep going? I esp. like the idea that the community polices each other. Love the story of the kid who pointed out the anchor chart to a friend to get her back on track!

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    1. I agree, Lynn - this Chapter really sold me on the Daily 5 method.
      Thanks for the award!!



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