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Daily 5 Online Course

I am currently enrolled in the Daily 5 Online Course at the Upper Iowa Universtiy.  It is the only course approved by the Two Sisters, creators of the Daily 5 literacy block management system, so it comes with a special stamp of approval.

I have been implementing the Daily 5 in my classroom for the past 6 years, primarily in a self-contained, grade 2 Spanish bilingual classroom in Canada.  Now, I am one of two ESL teachers in grades 4 through 8 in an international school in South America.  I am mostly self-taught in the Daily 5 and even though I've been "doing" the Daily 5 for a long time now, I jumped at the chance of collaborating with other teachers on a common interest.  Thankfully, my school is paying for my course which is a great advantage.

We're doing a lot of reading and responding on the online board set up by the university.  As usual, I am finding myself learning so much from the other participants.  In fact, I've started to keep careful notes on implementation ideas posted by my fellow classmates.

I am going to share just three of these simple but powerful ideas.

One of the challenges for teachers when implementing the Daily 5 is to plan and chunk several mini lessons every day.  One teacher posted a deceptively simple idea that she claims helps her plan better.  She uses a blank sheet with three columns for her daily planning, each column represents one mini lesson during the Daily 5 time.  On each column she writes out her mini lesson remembering to stick to one teaching point so that her lessons aren't longer than her students' age.  For example, a lesson for grade 2 should be approximately 8 minutes long.  That is quite a challenge for teachers who, admittedly or not, like to talk!  But, more importantly, we need to provide time for children to read and write and collaborate with their peers.  Of course, someone could design a fancy template, and I'm sure some will, but the simplicity of a piece of paper, three columns and space to think and write, is what appeals to me.

Another teacher commented that in order to set the purpose for a Daily 5 mini lesson, he uses SWBAT or students will be able an attention getter, of sorts.  Although, I shy away from behaviour objectives, I do see the value in pointing out to children what you are trying to teach them.  It grabs their attention and sets the tone for the lesson.  I would use I can statements instead of SWBAT, and I would encourage students to set their own goals using I can statements as their personal purpose for the day.

Finally, I use 3-minute pauses in the classroom; I stop every so often and have the kids tell each other what they just heard.  This way it keeps their attention on the lesson and gets them talking to each other about what they're learning.  Three-minute pauses allow children to summarize their learning which helps cement it for them later on.

That's it! Just three simple ideas, that while not new, may help focus learning and teaching in the classroom.

Feel free to post your ideas for how to focus mini lessons and set purposes for learning.

Shared on the Slice of Life.

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Today's post is short and sweet because I just got back from a night of playing Bunko with friends. 

I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!