Thursday, June 25, 2015

Daily 5 - Chapter 2

I was asked by Brenda from Primary Inspired if I would like to participate in a book study on The Daily 5  - 2nd Edition. I was stoked and of course said yes.  I am recuperating from major back surgery in April and let's just say this is not the summer I had envisioned - but I will make the most of what I have. Life got the best of me last week and I missed out on Chapter 1, but I am raring to go with Chapter 2.

I teach full-day Kindergarten. This coming year will only be my district's second year having full-day Kindergarten. For my first six years with the district I wore a few different hats. I taught half-day Kindergarten, Kindergarten Extended Day - an at-risk literacy program, and reading. When I began with the district in 2007, Daily 5 was just just coming on to the scene. I read the 1st Edition in Jan. Of 2008 and attempted to implement some of the ideas, but I was really just getting my feet wet. Eventually, I implemented Daily 5 in half-day Kindergarten. I am excited to read this 2nd Edition to see how the Sisters' thinking has evolved. 

Chapter 2 is all about our core beliefs. The first topic is trust and respect. We work hard at the beginning of the year to learn routines, rules, and how to show respect. My students learn how to trust me to guide them on this journey we call school. This past year I had the privilege of teaching a little girl who had never been in school before nor had she been around large groups of children. Her excitement and wonder showed me what school looks like when it is completely fresh. 

In Kindergarten, we work on routines and rules for a lonnnnnngggg time. We discuss, practice, and repeat things daily so that the students understand the expectations I have for them. No two years are ever the same. I tweak things every year as the chemistry, make-up, and learning curve changes each school year. We also get to know each other and create our class community - the second topic in Chapter 2. I make an effort each year to learn the names of my students' siblings, pets, and interests. This year I had to up my football knowledge as one of my boys looked forward to discussing the game with me each Monday. It's little things like this that say a lot to your students. It shows them you care and that they matter. 

Choice, the third topic, is one that I will admit to struggling with in Kindergarten. This past year I had 25 Kinders with a wide range of abilities. I know that I had students who were capable of choosing their literacy center each day, however, I also had a large group of students who struggled with this daily. I do like how the authors speak now of only giving the choice between two things in the beginning. I realize I could differentiate choice as I do other things in my class. For those capable, they could choose from the 5, but for those who need more guidance, only two or three choices could be given.

Accountability is another tough one in Kinder. Not all Kinders are created equal - just as in any other grade - and even in May, I have students who struggle to work, choose a spot, or work cooperatively during our Literacy Centers. They don't always have the maturity or understanding that is needed. You can't force flowers to bloom, you can just tend to them carefully until they are ready. Sometimes, they aren't ready until first grade and that is okay.  My district does not have transitional kindergarten. The span between my youngest and oldest kinder was 14 months. There is a HUGE difference in those 14 months. So it's important to meet your students where they are at and grow from there.

I was fascinated by the 20/80 concept spoken about in Chapter 2. It made me reflect on my own teaching this past year. I know I do not reach 20/80- where I was teaching 20 percent of the time and my students were practicing it 80%. It takes a while to build up the stamina to do this. When we begin learning the rotations, they each last for about 5-10 min. and we make it through 2 at most. By the end of this past year of full-day kinder we made it through 3 rotations of 15-20 min. There was a break between 1 and 2, and then 2 and 3 were back-to-back.

Finally, transitions. In Kinder we are moving and grooving much of our day. I try to keep a balance between active and quiet, love using songs as breaks, and change the venue between floor, tables, centers, etc. throughout the day.

Ha! I didn't think I had  a lot to say about Chapter 2 - but as I wrote this post and reflected, I actually did. Just like my students, I am constantly growing and learning. I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Also, be sure to check out Ciera Harris' Chapter host post. You can find her at:

Adventures of Room 129

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