Sunday, March 30, 2014

The New Daily 5 - Chapter Two

Our Core Beliefs: The Foundation of the Daily 5

In chapter two, Boushey and Moser explain six core beliefs of The Daily 5.  Chapter 3 will explain the seventh core belief.  These core beliefs are the foundation of The Daily 5.

"Meaningful learning requires respect and trust between teachers and students." 

In this section, The Sisters discuss the importance of trusting and respecting all of our students.  We must establish a classroom community built on trust and respect and continue to develop it as the year progresses.  We must also explicitly teach and practice expected behaviors.  Over time students learn to self-monitor their own behavior.

We must trust that students will display the expected behaviors during Daily 5 time.  If a student is not reading and writing independently, we must believe that it isn't because the child wanted to misbehave, but rather, he need more time to practice expectations and build stamina. This is a perfect opportunity for reteaching.

The Sisters suggest checking in before, during, and after Daily 5 with students that are experiencing difficulty. This is a great way to build confidence and redirect behaviors in a respectful manner.

As teachers we spend a great deal of time creating a sense of community in our classrooms.  Its starts from the very first day of school by getting to know one another.  A healthy classroom culture provides members with ownership.  Students hold each other accountable for learning, behavior, effort, order, and kindness.

In The Daily 5 model, the whole community rejoices when students achieve their goals.  Similarly, they join together to encourage, support, and hold each other accountable for learning behaviors.

Choice.  It's the one that gets me every. single. time.  It's such a simple thing, really.  Children LOVE choice.  It's self-motivating and puts them in charge of their own learning.  So why is it so difficult for me to relinquish that control?  I like structure and routine.  I get a little nervous when I step outside of that box.  I worry that students' choices are going to lead to off task behavior.  When this happens, it is time to refer back to principle number one, trust and respect.

In The Daily 5 model, accountability is a two-way street.  Both teachers and students must be held accountable for what goes on during Daily 5. Teachers must explicitly teach students exactly what our expectations are for Daily 5 time.  It is the teacher's responsibility to hold brief meetings with students when a break-down in routines occurs. Problems are addressed and expectations reviewed and practiced during the class meetings.  

Similarly, students are held accountable for choosing an appropriate spot in the room to sit, maintaining an acceptable level of noise, selecting meaningful writing topics and just-right books, and sustaining engagement in each activity.

The Sisters reviewed brain research to determine an appropriate length of time for the whole-group focused lessons. They learned that the chonological age of students is about equal the number of minutes students are able to stay attentive.  Due to these findings the sisters have shortened their whole-group lessons. 

The Sisters suggest using Regie Routman's 20/80 concept.  In traditional classrooms, teachers spend 80 percent of a lesson instructing ,while students spend 20 percent of the lesson practicing. Routman suggests flipping that model to be most effective: 20 percent of a lesson is direct instruction and 80 percent is student application. Students need lots of time to practice reading and writing, and they need timely, focused instruction help them grow.

The Daily 5 consists of five workshop sessions, or rounds. The length of time for each session varies, based on student stamina.  At the beginning of the school year, and with younger students, all five rounds take place during the literacy block. With older students, or once stamina is lengthened, there may only be two or three longer rounds.

Transitions are provided during Daily 5 each time a workshop round has ended.  Students clean up their materials and check-in at the large group area.  The check-in provides an opportunity for movement and a change of pace for students.  These breaks are the perfect time for a short, focused mini-lesson before moving to the next round.

Are you using The Daily 5 in your classroom?  What are your greatest successes?  What aspects are most difficult for you?  Please share your thoughts in the comments or join the book club and link up with my friend, Jen, at That First Grade Blog.  :)


  1. Wendy, as usual, your posts are very, very informative (and useful)! Letting go of control was hard to do, but after taking the plunge, I will never go back :).
    Thanks for linking up! Have you thought about what chapter to be my guest blogger for?
    That First Grade Blog

    1. You pick, Jen, and I'd be happy to guest blog for you. :)

  2. How about you do My Choice Mondays? It's simply you choosing their choices. And then the other four days it's their choice. I find my little guys forget over the weekend.

  3. Wendy, I have trouble with choice too! I know I need to let them choose, but it is so much easier for me to have it all laid out. My first year doing Daiky 5 I tried letting my firsties choose and it did not go well...took way too long! Now that I'm in second I should try it again. Maybe if I try it now, I will be brave to start it at the beginning of the year next year. Thanks for the reminder!


    1. Good luck, Crystal! Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised. :)
      I'm glad I'm not the only one who is reluctant to give up control. ;)