I'm going to put it out there - I'm NOT a fast reader, but reading this Daily 5 book has completely changed that.... or maybe its just that this book is THAT good!
Chapter 3 of The Daily 5 is all about the 10 steps to teaching and learning independence.
I'm so thankful that there's a chapter all about this topic because I know its something that I, as a teacher, can ALWAYS use help with. There were a lot of 'ah-ha!' moments in this chapter as well that I can't WAIT to share with you :)
Step 1: Identify what is to be taught
I was very much able to identify with this step as I use content objectives for EVERY lesson I teach. I find that if I don't - as good of a lesson I think I might have, there's a chance the students honestly don't realize what they are practicing. Making the students aware of what they are learning/practicing is crucial. The way we do this for Daily 5 is by creating an "I Chart" (like a T-Chart, but using an I) We use an I because the I stands for Independence (so clever!) On the I Chart is where you will write (at the top) what the students are learning about. First Grade Blue Skies has adorable I Charts ready made and free if you want to check them out! These would also look great on large chart paper, especially when being taught at the beginning of the year!
Step 2: Set a purpose and create a sense of urgency
I thought this sentence in the book really summed this section up: "Setting a purpose and creating a sense of urgency establishes a culture in which every moment of learning and practicing counts." Absolutely! But how!? It's all about making what you're doing meaningful to the students! They need to know that by doing these tasks it will help them 1. become a better reader and 2. will make reading fun! The Daily 5 book suggests to write BOTH of these 'why's' at the top of your I charts when doing the 10 steps to independence.
Step 3: Record desired behaviors on an I-Chart
There is something very specific about giving directions. I can tell a student to go sit and read.. OR I can break down that desired behavior and describe it to the child to they know exactly what my expectations are. In step 3, we are doing just that. We leave very little room for error when it comes to the students NOT knowing what is expected of them. In the chapter, the desired behaviors for "Read to Self" are listed as the following:
* Read the whole time
*Stay in one spot
*Get started right away
Notice how all of these are written. None of them are written telling the students what NOT to do - they are all written by telling the students the positive behaviors they expect to see.
Step 4: Model most-desirable behaviors
Students learn the best in 3 ways: visually, audibly, and kinesthetically When all three are combined, the maximum amount of learning can take place. Not only should we be modeling these desired behaviors but the students should also be practicing them. Giving the students the time to create the muscle memory of what the behaviors should look, feel, and sound like will help create a sounding board for the year when they begin to do this completely independently. Every behavior should be modeled. After modeling, its good to finish by asking the question, "Boys and Girls - If ____ continued to do this behavior, would he/she become a good reader?" And of course, the answer is YES!!
Step 5: Model least-desirable behaviors, then most-desirable
Just like modeling the most-desireable behaviors, modeling the least-desirable behaviors is just as powerful. Not only does it help determine for the students exactly what behaviors you hope not to see, but it allows them to see the complete difference between both behaviors. When doing this, you'll want to make sure to always end with the doing the most-desirable behavior to help end on a positive note as well as the picture left in their minds of what to do correctly! And if you're really smart - you'll have the students who you 'know' MIGHT be one to do the least-desireable behaviors to model them incorrectly and then correctly for you ;)
Step 6: Place students around the room
This was definitely one of my 'ah-ha' moments. Before reading The Daily 5, I would have NEVER 'practiced' this. But now, its like 'duh!'
Allowing the students the chance to practice grabbing their book boxes filled with their 'Just Right Books" or other materials and finding suitable places to sit will allow you the chance to have those important conversations about where they should sit. Also, by allowing the students to know that there will be many transitions and many opportunities to sit in the 'best' spots, then you won't have those petty arguments throughout the year. Again - DUH!!
Step 7: Practice and build stamina
Step 7 will happen with step 6 - while practicing finding spots and grabbing materials, they will also have the chance to build up their stamina for independent reading. The Daily 5 is very specific about starting small and working your way up. Do not assume that your kids can do an amount of time you would think 'normal'. For my 3rd graders, I plan on starting at around 4-5 minutes. How will I know if that's too much time at the beginning? I'll look for specific behaviors that are telling me they (even just 1 or 2 kids) have reached their breaking point. Those might be looking around the room, talking to others, getting up for drinks etc. When these behaviors begin to be present, stopping that practice round and moving on to something else is a good thing to do!
Step 8: Stay out of the way
This was another 'ah-ha!' moment. I always thought that when teaching independent work, my presence was always needed to keep behavior in line. But think about it this way - by doing that you're teaching the students that, that is how they should act when you're there walking around. So what happens when you're not there and instead you're with other students? They act differently! I've never thought about it like this. But if I'm eventually wanting the students to be able to behave and be independent as I'm working with others, then as they practice that behavior I need to stay away from them. No walking around, no whispering positive things in their ears. Nothing - except for my 'invisible' watchful eye looking for those behaviors to know when its time to move on!
Step 9: Use a quiet signal to bring students back to the gathering place
Just like it sounds... (pun intended!) No need to talk to the students or get them all riled up with a loud noise or even your voice. A simple 'call to order' by using a soft chime, rain stick, or soft music. Using something louder can throw off the stamina that the students have going on.
Step 10: Conduct a group check-in; Ask, "How did it go?"
Making sure that the students get a chance to reflect on how their session of daily 5 or practice session went, can be a very important moment in the day/lesson. Calling the students back to the gathering location and simply asking them to give you a silent signal on how they did on the specific desired behaviors allows them to think back on their behaviors and efforts and also to set goals for next time. Using a 1-4 scale, a thumbs up/down/sideways, smiley faces - whatever you want to use. Being able to have those discussions and setting goals, whether in journals, verbal, or intrinsically, can be a powerful tool.
You made it all the way through!! Please let me know what you think and make sure to check out all of the other amazing bloggers and their takes on Chapter 3! :)