Monday, January 2, 2012

Daily Five With A Twist

Over the wonderful winter break, Rebecca and I began to discuss just how our language arts centers block was at best frustrating. At first I (Katie) was embarrassed to say anything, after all if it worked last year what was I doing wrong this year?! Thankfully, Rebecca shared the same feelings. Our students, bless their hearts, were not as engaged in the centers and our guided reading groups felt choppy at best. So where did I turn? To the amazing online community of teacher blogs. This was the first time either of us had heard about the Daily Five. I rushed to Amazon to order the book and it is indeed as fabulous as everyone has made it out to be.

The catch. It is mid-year and now we are both facing a complete overhaul of centers. If I think too much about it, I become slightly nervous. But fingers crossed that it can be done! As with a new year and any new goal, we made a plan and discussed the varied needs of our students. Luckily, most of the centers that we have can easily be categorized into the three main language arts tasks outlined in the Daily Five. One thing that is working to our benefit is our students already have the an established foundation in center procedures. Those centers that didn't fit into any of the categories we decided to retire. How we decided which centers to keep and which to toss came down to the same questions "Is this center enhancing our students' learning? Is there something to be gained by engaging in this center?"

Using our Gifted and Talented endorsements, we decided to make a hybrid center system - part Daily Five and part Learning Licenses (more on this to come). This, my dear friends, is a new adventure for both of us and our kiddos.

Day 1

The Daily Five focuses on three language arts tasks - reading, writing, and word work. We decided to introduce each task by topic. Today we focused on reading and why reading is important. As a class, we made an anchor chart to answer this question. The kiddos are so great at offering their reasoning (my favorite - so "when you grow up, you don't mess up." Priceless!)


Afterward we did loads and loads of modeling the correct behavior at each reading center. I modeled both correct and incorrect behaviors then I had students model the correct behavior to their classmates. Afterward, the entire class  had a turn. As in the Daily Five, I had my students practice REALLY reading a book (either pictures or words) in one spot in the classroom. We were able to do it for about 4 minutes before any off task behavior arose.

It was amazing to see the different perception the students had in just one day. Throughout our blog journey we will explain each of our centers and how we conduct them - and whether or not our center hybrid will work!

~ Katie and Rebecca

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