The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

The Daily Five as Three

I keep thinking that I have written about this topic already, but I can’t find any recent posts about it, so it is possible that I meant to write about it, but then didn’t.

Anyway, the intermediate grade teachers were encouraged to learn about a balanced literacy program that has been implemented all over the country, known as the Daily Five. It is a way for students to take ownership of their literacy experiences by selecting from a variety of five activities that, ideally, they will do each day. These activities are: read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, writing, and word work. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided to pare it down to the Daily Five as Three. Students listen to reading every day during our read aloud after lunch and, while word work and vocabulary development is important, I am still working on developing something that is meaningful, as well. So my students select from these choices: read to self, read with something (I changed the pronoun to emphasise the joint effort), and writing.

We have spent a lot of time in my room working on reading to self; the students are now able to successfully read independently for 45 minutes on any given day. We’ve done work on writing throughout the year. I started having them practice reading with others last week, to build on the buddy reading they’ve been doing with second graders.

This week, I rolled out the initial approach to the Daily Five as Three (which I am generally just going to call the Daily Three). Because of a variety of scheduling variations, we haven’t had the full amount of time needed for these three literacy activities, so I have let the students choose one. The key is that they choose it, not me. About half the class chose to read independently and the other half chose to write. One student wanted to read with someone but, since he couldn’t find anyone to read with him, he chose to read independently.

Yesterday they had 30 minutes, and did a great job. So today I decided to give them a full forty-five and see what they’d do with it. During this time, I had a meeting, so I had a floating sub in my room, who happened to be the teacher who was with my class on Monday. She walked in and, upon seeing everyone in the class quietly engaged in reading or writing, complimented everyone on how amazed she was! (This definitely earned the class an extra pebble in our vase!) When I returned from my meeting, she said that everyone had continued to stay on task and she was able to work with a pull-out group on math.

It was a fantastic success, and we will build on it tomorrow. I need to remember to play music in the background and, stealing an idea from a colleague at another school, I will tell the class that they way they can tell if they are too loud is if they are louder than the music. Some days are full of frustration; others are days of great successes. Today was definitely in the latter category!

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2 responses

  1. Congrats on the success! I love playing music to my students–I’ve found that the Amelie soundtrack (of all things!) works wonders on my students’ attention spans.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm

  2. Pingback: Launching the Daily CAFE |

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