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The Daily 5 Second Edition Book Study: Chapters 1 and 2

So I’ve just finished up my second year of my revised, made-to-fit-for-me version of Daily 5, and, honestly, it just gets better and better.  I feel like I’ve made it my own, and my kinder friends have found great success with it.  So when the Freebie girls threw around the idea of doing a second ‘The Daily 5’ book study on the new 2ndEdition, I knew that I wanted in.  I needed to know what ‘the sisters’ had in store for us now.  So if you’re interested too, just make sure you stop by Freebielicious over the next several weeks to join along.  It doesn’t matter if you’re new to D5 or returning as a veteran.  

(Haven’t gotten your copy yet?  Click on the picture above and it will take you right to the link on Amazon.)

If you didn’t join us for our original The Daily 5 book study two years ago, I’m including the links to each of my chapters at the end of this post, and you can also find all my Freebie girls links there as well.  It might be a helpful reference and there are TONS of freebies for you to grab from those posts as well.

In the meantime, “the sisters” have done it again.  I like this new addition.  I think they’ve learned a lot about how other teachers are using Daily 5, and they’ve incorporated the realities of ‘early elementary’ into some of their structure.  So grab your book and lets look over Chapters 1:  That Was Then and This Is Now and Chapter 2:  Our Core Beliefs To Get You Started.


Chapter 1:  That Was Then and This Is Now
So what’s new with this 2nd Edition compared to the 1st?  Well there are a couple of things actually.  Things that have me pretty excited about diving into another Daily 5 book.   In this edition, the sisters recognize that there are differences in using Daily 5 for younger kids versus older grades.  Hey, guess what?  You don’t have to do all 5 rounds of Daily 5 in one day!  (Wait!  I never did.  I have always only ever done 3 each day.)


(You can click on the picture above to see how I set up my rotations and how they work.)

They also have identified a new order of introduction of D5 choices.  Read to Someone is no longer second behind Read to Self.  Work on Writing has now taken that position.  They suggest we introduce the remaining elements in whichever order is most appropriate for the group.  I personally always find Listen To Reading to be an easy one to introduce.  I model it a ton, but they pick it up very quickly.

The sisters are also giving us a look at Math Daily 3 in this book’s later chapters, as well as paying close attention to several other new and important topics:  brain research, barometer children and the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence.

In this chapter, the sisters also talk quite a bit about what literacy instruction used to look like in their classroom and what it looks like now after Daily 5.  There are several graphs and tables to show you how the basic structure of Daily 5 appears in a classroom, and what sets Daily 5 apart.  One of the most important things of course is ‘choice.’  Students need to be able to choose where they sit, what they read and what they write about.  Choice is a key motivator in learning, but hey, we already know that from what we know about differentiating processes don’t we? (Perhaps this is why I love Daily 5 so much). 

Chapter 2:  Our Core Beliefs To Get You Started
So there are some core principles and beliefs that are fundamental to the basics of Daily 5.  In this chapter, the sisters touch on all but one (10 Steps to Independence–covered later in the book.)  Here they are and my take on them.

Trust and Respect  In order for your students to work independently, they need to feel that you trust them to do their best work.  That doesn’t mean we just let them go and have at it.  No! Trust and respect goes both ways.  We trust our students to do good work, because they respect and trust us for giving them the skills and the ability to work independently.  We’ve given them the time to build up their stamina and be successful, and for those that still struggle with stamina or who have a bad day, they trust that we will give them the added support and instruction needed to try and be successful the next time.

Community  Building community starts when we get to know each other during those first few weeks of activities:  establishing rules together, sharing stories, sharing writing and getting to know you activities.  Building community also happens when you build your I-charts.  When you develop your I-charts together, suddenly your students become accountable to each other instead of you having to police them.  In the same way, they police each other and make each other accountable, but they also celebrate each other’s successes.  I definitely see this with my own students and ball words.  Students help each other to pass their sight word lists (Ball Words

and they are the best cheerleaders.

There is a constant huddle during any down time as they get together to quiz each other on their sight word phrases and words.

Choice There it is again!  Choice!  With Daily 5 students get choices (and this is a great strategy for differentiating as well). In my own class, they choose the books they read, often what they write, where they work, and activities within their word work area.  Choice is a great motivator.  It gives them control over their own learning and makes it more meaningful.

Accountability  When we talk about accountability, it isn’t about teachers managing students to make sure they are working and staying on task.  Accountability is about instructors giving students the instruction, the practice and the time to learn to participate in meaningful and productive tasks.  We model it, we practice it until we know that they have it mastered and they know we trust them to work meaningfully and independently without disturbing their fellow classmates.  It’s not about students working to complete busy tasks, but students working on productive and engaging activities.

Brain Research  Brain research tells us that the average minutes of direct instruction should correlate directly with the learner’s age.  In my classroom, that means that I could start losing them anywhere after 4-6 minutes at the beginning of the school year.  After that time, the brain needs to make a ‘slight shift’ in order to get it back in focus.  I don’t think this is much of a surprise to any kindergarten teacher, and yet, many many many teachers still think that their little guys can sit through 15, 20 or even 25 minutes of direct instruction.  I don’t know about you guys, but after about 7 minutes, fingers start going in noses and the other fingers are probably poking a neighbor.  We need to rethink instruction so that 20% of our time is spent on direct instruction and 80% is practice.  I think this is definitely true in kindergarten, but it doesn’t end just because they move on to first grade.  Our students need small doses of instruction followed by tons and tons and tons of opportunity for practice.  

Transitions as Brain and Body Breaks  So many of us have been mandated to have 90 minutes of extended and uninterrupted ELA instruction, but we know as early elementary instructors and from brain research that our bodies and brains need periodic breaks.  By breaking long instructional times in to smaller work times we are allowing for that need to move.  In Daily 5, each ’round’ is broken up by a short gathering back together.  This transition time gives our students that physical, kinesthetic break they need before they can get back to the business of learning.  

Teachers often cringe at the thought of transitions, but with practice, a routine and clear expectations, even young students can handle and thrive on those regular transitions between learning activities that give their brains and bodies a break.  Take advantage of these 5-8 minute breaks to play a song, a quick game, practice a poem or provide a short focus lesson.  

Ok so that’s Chapter 1 and 2, but rest up, because the next chapter tells you how to get it done with The 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence.  Stop by next Friday to get your head wrapped around how it is going to look. Until then, don’t forget to take some time and look back on some older D5 posts.  I’ve listed them for you below.

The Daily 5:  1st Edition Book Study Links
Chapter 1:  Introduction
Chapter 2:  From Management to Principled Habits  
Chapter 3:  What’s the Difference: Key Materials, Concepts, and Routines for Launching Daily 5
Chapter 4:  Read To Self
Chapter 5:  Listen to Reading
Chapter 6:  Work on Writing and Word Work
Go ahead and make sure you check them out  and THIS ONE on Getting Started With D5, 

because as I said, there were some great freebies included in posts from many of my freebie friends and from me as well.

You guys can totally do this, and you’re gonna love it.  Make sure you stop by all these other great posts, and make sure you stop by next week for Chapter 3.


Marsha Moffit McGuire

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