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.  :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Phonemic Awareness

Phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and they all mean the same thing?  Join me today and tomorrow at Adventures in Literacy Land for a two-part post where I'll sort it all out for you, suggest a few great resources, and share five fabulous freebies.

Adventures in Literacy Land

Happy reading!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The New Daily 5: A Book Study

Have you heard about the new edition of The Daily 5 book?  Well I'm reading it for a book study that is being hosted by Jen @ That First Grade Blog right now.  I can't wait to share the chapter highlights with you.

About Me

First, I'd like to introduce myself to the book study group and share a little background about my school.

I'm an elementary reading specialist for grades 1-5.  My district has been using The Daily 5 framework for several years.  I participated in a book study at school for the original version when I was a first grade teacher.  We implemented Daily 5 later that year.

Our school currently uses The Daily 5 framework at the primary level and our own scaled down version (Daily 3) at the intermediate level.  I'm interested to see how the Boushey and Moser layout The Daily 3 compared to what we currently do.  I'm hoping to use what I learn from this edition to support classroom teachers.

Chapter One Highlights

The chapter opens with this quote from Regie Routman: 
The typical teacher has children doing a lot of "stuff."  How is what I am having children do creating readers and writers?
I think this quote asks an important question about our reading instruction.  It sets the tone for the book and is the basis of The Daily 5.

Boushey and Moser explain how their beliefs about literacy instruction and teaching practices have evolved over time.  They discuss how, in the past, their teaching was basal driven with students completing busy work quietly at their seats.

After years of research and working with experts in the field of reading, they have come to understand that engaging in authentic acts of reading and writing every day is what children need in order to become better readers and writers.

Thus, The Daily 5 was born:  Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, and Word Work.

One shift in the new edition is that students may not do all five of these activities in one day.  But rather, teachers may choose to do The Daily 3. In this model, the two constants would be Read to Self and Work on Writing.  Students would choose their third activity and the order in which they completed all three activities. 

I think what's most worth remembering from Chapter 1 is that The Daily 5 offers a framework for the literacy block where students engage in meaningful reading and writing activities, with most of their time being spent reading.  How beautifully simple, yet effective!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mentor Texts for Writing Ideas

I'm joining my blogging buddy, Carla @ The Reading Tutor OG, for the Mentor Monday Linky. Carla is a guest blogger today, while Emily enjoys time with her precious newborn baby girl. :)
This week the topic is using mentor texts to wake up writing with wonderful ideas.

Ideas make up the content of a piece of writing, the heart of the message.  Writers develop ideas in a several ways:
  • They choose fresh, original ideas.
  • They write about something that matters to them.
  • They narrow their topic and get specific.
  • They develop their idea by adding interesting information.
  • They make their idea come to life with juicy details.
However, sometimes writers have difficulty getting started.  They get stuck trying to select an idea that motivates them to write.
Heart Map {Freebie} created by 3rd Grade Grid Iron
Invite writers to create Heart Maps.  Students fill in their heart maps with things they love: interests, hobbies, sports, people and places that are close to their hearts, etc. Anytime students need inspiration, they refer back to their heart maps.

Mentor Text for Writing Ideas:
Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter

A few years ago I came across a book that is perfect for encouraging students to push past writer's block.  In the book, Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, Eva's neighbors offer her advice as she struggles to come up with a good writing topic.  

After reading the story with students, we record the neighbors' advice on chart paper.  Then students use the advice to develop their own stories.

What books have you found helpful for waking up writing with wonderful ideas?  I'd love to know.  Leave a comment or link up with The Reading Tutor OG to share your thoughts.  :)

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Little Saturday Sunshine

Today is a beautiful, sunny day in Pennsylvania!  I think I'll go for a run later.  Speaking of sunshine, guess what I was nominated for...
The Sunshine Award!
The Sunshine Award is a nod given to blogs that inspire or bring sunshine to one's day. It's an opportunity for those bloggers to then share a little personal information with readers. Thank you, Nick from Sweet Rhyme Pure Reason, for nominating me.
  • I have the sweetest husband and three great kids.
  • I have a serious sweet tooth for cupcakes, brownies, and pastries. Mmm. I'll be right back...
  • I don't eat my vegetables.
  • I worked at Hershey Park for one day.
  • I drink cinnamon bun coffee every morning.
  • I'm extremely ticklish.
  • I hate feet. I think they're gross.
  • I'm a reality TV junkie.
  • I can't live without my kindle or my laptop.
  • I'd be happy anywhere there is sand, surf, and sunshine.
  • My dream vacation would be to the Mediterranean.

When did you start blogging?
August 2012
Who's your favorite superhero?
Who was your favorite teacher?
Mrs. Shearer
What's your favorite genre of book?
Historical Fiction
Do you have any pets?
Yes, the cutest little beagle ever.
If you could have a longer or shorter school day, which would you pick?
While I enjoy the occasional two-hour delay, I think the regular school day length is just fine.
What brand new "special" would you like to add to your schedule?
Well I don't have any specials, but I would love to go to art each day.  ;)
Do you have anything from your childhood that you've kept?
Photo albums
Are you afraid of anything weird?
I don't have any unusual fears, but I refuse to watch scary movies.
Do you have vacation plans for this summer?
Not yet, wanna take me with you?
Do your colleagues know that you are a blogger?
My closest colleagues know, but I don't share it with everyone.

I am so pleased to share some of my favorite bloggers with you...

  • Jen from That First Grade Blog is a first grade teacher, reading specialist, and great friend of mine.
  • Sarah from Teaching Pawsitively is a relatively new blogger that I met through the SLANTbox teacher exchange.
  • Terry from First at Bat is a first grade teacher and a fabulous writer.  Her Facebook posts always inspire me.

Why did you start blogging?
What's your favorite subject to teach?
If you couldn't teach, what job would you have?
I need a new book to read. What do you recommend?
Where is your favorite place to shop for "Teacher Clothes"?
I love animals.  Do you have any pets?
What is your favorite TV show?
I have a serious sweet tooth. What is your favorite sweet treat?
Which of your TpT products is your favorite?
If you could travel to a sunny location, where would it be?
Spread a little sunshine.  Share a favorite quote.

Thanks for reading!  I'd love to learn more about you, too.  Pick a question and answer it in the comments.  Happy Saturday!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Analyzing Characters {Freebie}

I'm joining The Reading Tutor OG, where I am the guest blogger today, for a discussion on using mentor texts to analyze character.

Characters reveal themselves through their words, actions, and feelings. Strategic readers gather clues to a character's personality by tuning in to what the character says, thinks, and does.  We want students to not only be able to identify the traits of a character, but also be able to support their thinking with evidence from the text.

The posters below provide a great visual for students when introducing character traits.  You can click on the image to download the {free} set.
In my experience with teaching character traits, students sometimes lack the vocabulary to 'label' the traits that they see in a character. Thus, their descriptions are vague. I've included a list of character traits that students can use as they begin to identify them. You can download it {free} by clicking on the image below.

Created by Workshop Classroom
One of my favorite books to read when I introduce character traits is A Bad Case of the Stripes.

Story Summary (provided by Amazon): Camilla Cream worries too much about what others think of her and tries desperately to please everyone. First stripes, then stars and stripes, and finally anything anyone suggests appear vividly all over her body. The solution: lima beans, loved by Camilla, but disdained for fear they'll promote unpopularity with her classmates.

Storyline Online is a great place to go for videos of your favorite stories read aloud by famous actors. My students enjoy the videos, and I love how easy it is to pause the story to discuss our thinking about it.

I created a graphic organizer for students to use as they analyze Camilla's character.  Students record the trait that they inferred and the evidence from the text that supports their thinking.  Click on the image for your {free} digital copy.  

Clipart by The 3AM Teacher

What are your favorite books for teaching character analysis?  Please leave a comment below or link up with The Reading Tutor OG and share your ideas.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mentor Text for Predicting

I'm joining my blogging buddy, Emily @ The Reading Tutor OG, for her Mentor Monday Linky.  The topic this week is using mentor texts for Making Predictions.

Reading Strategy: Making Predictions

Let's start off with a brief explanation of the strategy.  A prediction is an educated guess about what might happen in a text.  When readers make a prediction, they use their background knowledge, past experiences, knowledge of the topic, and observations from the text in order to anticipate what will happen next. 

In order for predicting to be an effective strategy, students need to revisit their predictions throughout the reading.  As students encounter new information, they must decide if it confirms their predictions or leads them to revise their predictions. 

Mentor Text:  That Is NOT a Good Idea!

That Is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems is a great book for introducing predictions.  It's the tale of a hungry fox who invites a plump goose to dinner (You can see where this is heading, right?).  Students will be chanting the signature line, "That is not a good idea!".  They will be able to use their background knowledge to make a prediction about the sly fox's intentions.  However, there is a plot twist at the end of the story which will require students to revise their thinking.  

This book is so darn clever.  It's a throwback to the days of silent movies.  Take a peek at the book trailer...

Applying the Strategy: Predicting Graphic Organizer

In order for students to form strong predictions, they must be able to identify the information that led them to their prediction.  This graphic organizer helps students track their predictions and monitor their accuracy as they read.  Click on the image to download a copy or yourself.  :)
Keep in mind that students won't always make a correct prediction, and that's alright.  Predicting is a process.  Strategic readers continually make, confirm, and revise their predictions.  In doing so, they expand their thinking and grow as readers.

To read about other mentor texts for making predictions or to share your own ideas, visit...

A Special Note:  Next week, I'll be the guest blogger and host of Mentor Monday at The Reading Tutor OG while Emily takes time away to enjoy a *soon-to-be* brand new addition to her family.  :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Late Night Teacher Feature

Being a teacher is so rewarding, yet at times it can be so difficult.  Aside from their day to day lessons, teachers attend meetings, talk with parents, fill out paper work, create materials, grade papers, and plan. Often times it seems as though the list of things to do is never-ending.

Today, several of my blogger friends are taking time out to recognize how hard teachers work.  We have had the amazing opportunity to get to know one another, share ideas, and learn from each other.   Today is our day to "feature" other teachers and recognize their amazing work!

INTRODUCING... *drum roll, please*

Carla from Comprehension Connection!

From traveling to reading, Carla and I have so much in common.  We both started blogging around the same time and quickly became blogging buddies.  Not long ago, we teamed up with other bloggers who shared our passion for reading.  From that group of bloggers, a new collaborative blog was born, Adventures in Literacy Land.  I'm so grateful for the friendships we've formed along the way.

Here are a few snippets from a Question & Answer session with Carla...
"This is my 23rd year of teaching.  I have worked in a range of grades.  I started off in upper elementary, and when my oldest child was born, I was moved to first grade.  It was a challenging year, but I ended up loving first grade.  To this day, it is my favorite grade to teach.  After my second child was born, I took a year off with her.  When I returned to work, I came back as the technology specialist and worked half days in Title 1.  I loved teaching reading and decided to start a master's program.  I would say my specialty is comprehension and writing."
"I knew from early on that I wanted to work with children.  I started off in pre-med with plans to be a pediatrician.  After my first year of college, I decided that helping children when they're well might be more enjoyable.  I had so much fun in my practicum experiences that I knew right away teaching was a good fit.  I student taught in 3rd and 5th grades, so it wasn't until my son was born that I had my first primary experience.  Honestly, I am in the best position now working as a reading specialist, because I teach all grades.  Teaching reading is just the best."
"I really enjoy teaching writing, and that goes back to the years in first grade.  Even before beginning my master's program, I had my students writing a lot.  In first grade, I used framed paragraphs, prompts, and word banks along with lots of shared writing.  I went through a chart tablet per month practically.  In the upper grades, I've enjoyed using the Six Traits to finally have specific language to explain to students how to write.  I've really enjoyed selecting mentor texts to fit the topics and traits we've focused on."
"I've been married to the same person for almost 24 years.  We have a senior in high school, Sam, and a fifth grader, Catherine.  We enjoy traveling, and we're originally from Iowa.  We've had several very enjoyable family trips including San Francisco, Vancouver, Cape Cod, and to Disney of course!  I am involved with my church where I play in the handbell choir (and love it!), and I enjoy a good movie and relaxing with a book...preferably near the beach!"

Just for fun, I thought I would share a three of Carla's "blockbuster hits".

I was difficult to choose just one breathtaking post.  Carla's blog is entitled Comprehension Connection, so I thought it was only fitting that I select a post on comprehension.  In her post, Comprehension Strategy Linky, Carla shares two awesome activities for building comprehension in reading.  What I love most about this post is that she invites others to link up their favorite strategies for building comprehension, so readers walk away with several activities to use in their classrooms.  

One of Carla's premiere products is her Patricia Polacco Guided Reading Author Study. This unit includes materials for twelve of Polacco's books including Thank You Mr. Falker, Mr. Lincoln's Way, Chicken Sunday, Thunder Cake, My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, and The Keeping Quilt. This pack focuses on comprehension skills, written responses, and vocabulary.  Check it out, you'll be glad you did!

I love Carla's Guided Reading Unit for A Tree Is a Plant by Clyde Bulla. This fantastic freebie would work well for guided reading instruction or to supplement a science unit on plants. The materials are presented in a before, during, after format.  The skills include vocabulary, KWL, main idea, visualizing, summarizing, and questioning.  Hurry and snatch this unit up!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my teacher friend and blogging buddy, Carla.  You can visit her blog {here}.   Then, click on the links below to meet a few other great teachers.  :)

It's Currently March!

Well Hello, March!  Pretty please, can you bring us some sunshine?

I'm joining Farley to share what's happening with me, currently.

Listening: I'm listening to the morning news while drinking a cup of coffee by the fireplace.  Life is good.

Loving: I'm a little late to the party, but I just finished watching Season 4 of Breaking Bad.  I'm loving this show (almost as much as Dexter).  I'm also loving Farley's new blog design.  :)

Thinking: I'm looking forward to the Oscars tomorrow night.  There are so many great movies up for awards this year...and I can't wait to see the dresses!

Wanting: I'm praying for Spring to arrive soon.  I miss the sunshine, warmth, and outdoors.  I dislike the bitter cold we are experiencing.  I'm bracing myself for yet another big snowstorm heading our way Sunday night.  :(

Needing: I need to purchase new sneakers, I've worn mine out.  Then, I need to get outside and run.

Secret ?: Answer - Centipede!

So what are you doing, currently? Hurry on over to link up with Farley and share your Currently .