Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An Upper Grade Perspective on The Daily 5 (New Edition!)

I am so excited to be linking up with Kelley at Buggy for Learning as we venture through the NEW edition of The Daily 5. What? You didn't know there was a new edition? Yep, there is! And together, Kelley and I are looking at the new book with an lower grade/upper grade perspective. Want to read along with us? Come on! Grab your book (and, in my case, your reading glasses too!) and join us!

Kelley is the faster reader, so I am sitting beside her for Chapter 2...

The Sisters begin this chapter talking about TRUST--trusting that kids can develop the stamina to stay focused and engaged during authentic reading and writing activities. By the second page of the chapter, my heart was glowing... Their passion and caring for kids is so evident! You can actually hear their voices saying to readers, " 'We believe in you. We trust that you can do it.' " (page 24).

I have seen the Sisters present at a conference. Authenticity was quickly evident. It's clear that they DO believe that kids can learn to be successful, engaged, independent readers. And you can feel that same sentiment as you read this book.

Trust comes about through a systematic building of COMMUNITY where readers and writers can find a place, without worrying about their skill level, knowing that their successes will be recognized and celebrated. The tone of this section is so buoying, I found my self wishing it could be September all over again!

The role of CHOICE is infused in many aspects of Daily 5. Whether it be what they read, where they sit or which activity they choose at a given time, student choice helps build the foundation for success. This necessitates that we, as teachers, give up a little control in the belief that students will pick up that same control and make good choices.

In any classroom, ACCOUNTABILITY is a necessity. But I got a surprise when I read, "We needed to be accountable to our students..." I loved that! This is what makes The Daily 5 so compelling. Students and teachers are partners in the development of reading and writing skills. And, yes, they do need to be accountable for using their time well and making good choices, but I have a responsibility is designing a classroom where that is possible.

The Sisters refer to BRAIN RESEARCH often throughout the book, and I found myself laughing as I read about limiting the amount of teacher talk in lessons. I, too, have seen my students "zone out" when I was teaching what I thought was an "exhilarating" lesson. Like it or not, our brains can only handle so much input at a time before they need a break from all of that well-intended "action." Citing Regie Routman's work, the authors discuss the importance of having less time spent on our teaching and talking and more time spent on kids actually practicing and using the skills we are teaching them.

Based on this consideration, the need for BRAIN AND BODY BREAKS is a logical conclusion. Work in Daily 5 classrooms is broken up into "rounds" with the length of work time determined by students' stamina. In between, students put away materials and come back together. This simple infusion of movement allows for students' brains to readjust and get ready or the next "round" of learning. They are quick to point out, however, that these "breaks" need to be taught... in fact, teaching remains at the core of so much of this work. We teach students the elements of Daily 5 so that they will have the skills to "take off" and learn more as they work. Further differentiation is possible when students can manage themselves and their learning.

Chapter two was so motivating, I found myself anxious to get to school and watch some of the elements in action. While I have implemented different components of Daily 5 in my classroom for the last four years, I found myself encouraged by the amount of trust that is possible when you you build a community of readers and writers in this way.

Although this chapter would be applicable to kids at any age or grade, Kelley is sharing some great ideas on the primary perspective. Why don't you hop on over where she is sharing about Daily 5 too!.

And, better still, grab a copy and read along with us. We'd love for you to join in on our discussion!

PS That fun frame around the book is from Paula Kim Studio on TpT!


  1. I did not know there was an updated version of The Daily 5! I'll have to check it out. I used a {modified} version of it in my second grade classroom and it worked wonderfully. Now, I'm trying to figure out how I can use The Daily 5 with my fifth graders. I'd love to hear any advice you have!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  2. Okay... so what is the difference from the first edition and the second? Considering I just bout the first one last summer I am leery about buying the second version this summer when I know I will have so much to buy for the school year. Thoughts?

    Think, Wonder, & Teach


Thanks for reading this post. Comments bring me JOY! Please share your thoughts and join the conversation...