Implementing Daily 5

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog! I haven’t forgotten about it… I’ve just been crazy busy and kind of overwhelmed by the new school year.

The good news is that my class is great! I have 25 kids and they’re really sweet.

Our first writing assignment was supposed to be a book review, which somehow transformed itself into a movie review. I’ll post about that later with some pictures. They’re looking really cute!

For reading, 6 of my kids go to GT so I only have 19 kids in reading class. It’s wonderful! Daily 5 implementation is supposed to take a long time, but my kids have been total rock stars! Here’s how it went down:

Read to Self

We started with read to self. The kids rocked it. They could read for a good chunk of time with ZERO distractions right from the get-go. It wasn’t difficult to implement at all.

Read to Someone

This one took a little more work. We talked about sitting EEKK (Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee), and how to sit when there are 3 kids in a group. They did I Read You Read, where they read a picture book and one kid reads one page and then the other kid reads that same page, then move on to the next page. It’s supposed to help kids who are working on fluency. I don’t think we’ll do that one very often. They also took turns where they read the same book and took turns reading each page.

We spent a lot of time on coaching, where students read a page from their own book while their partner silently reads along. When they get to a word they don’t know, the coach asks, “Help or time?” The student either chooses to get help with the word or more time to sound it out. If the student chooses help, the coach has a variety of strategies to use to help (recommend that the student chunk the word or look at picture cues or go back and re-read etc). It worked pretty well! One group got to a word that neither of them could figure out so I helped them out, but it only happened once. We’ll probably do that one most of the time.

The cutest thing was when two boys decided to read the same book (the sequel to Fablehaven, which I’ve been reading to the class). The book was above both of their reading levels, but they did such a great job working together! They were laughing at the funny parts and they really helped each other with comprehension and vocabulary.

Word Work

I kind of cheated on this one. I have some folder games that have word work activities (like matching prefixes with root words and stuff like that). I let them work with a partner and they liked that. Now that we’ve started spelling, there will be activities relating to their spelling words (such as rainbow words, stamping their words, and typing their words) and once in a while I’ll put out the folder games to do instead.

Work on Writing

We haven’t done this one yet. I’m going to make it a little more guided than just letting kids write in journals, and I’m going to have mini lessons to go with activities when necessary. I have some writing folder activities and will also make my own (such as writing letters that we will actually mail out, writing emails etc). I’ll post about this once I get it going.

Listen to Reading

Honestly, we aren’t going to do this very often. I did find a few websites that are free that have stories that will probably be good for 4th graders, but most of what I found is for younger kids. Our access to computers is also a little spotty. We’ll do Listen to Reading occasionally.

I’ve also been tweaking how Daily 5 is organized in our classroom. Here’s what our Daily 5 board looks like:

Each of the clips has numbers 1-5 on them in different orders. The idea was that students would know what order to do Daily 5 by looking at their clip, and would put their clip on the station they are at, then switch it to the next station when it was time to switch. There is also an area for “Other” (anything else I want the kids to work on that day, like finishing work etc), and Teacher’s Table for kids who are meeting with me for a reading conference or reading group.

I quickly realized we had a problem: we have 1 hour for reading every day, and that isn’t enough time to do all 5 activities each day. I also didn’t want to deal with doing 3 activities one day and 2 the next. So I changed it to Daily 3.

I flipped the clips over, added kids’ names to clips, put the kids in 3 groups, and the numbers on the clips now say “1 2 3” “2 3 1” or “3 1 2”. That’s the order that they do the activities in, and I only have 3 activities per week. Last week, we did Read to Self, Word Work, and Read to Someone. I like the idea of mixing it up so they’re doing different things each week.

So far, it’s working pretty well! 20 minutes at each activity seems to be a good amount of time, or we can do 15 minutes with mini lessons spread throughout the hour.

We aren’t doing Daily 5 this week because of a genre project, but I’ll write another update when we start Work on Writing.

I’m still really nervous about implementing CAFE. The thought of starting Cafe next week makes my heart palpitate. I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you read all that, you’re amazing. ūüėĬ† I’ll post again SOON!

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Teacher Letter

I’m going to quickly post and run. Just wanted to post my teacher letter. It’s simple but kinda cute!

My goal is just to share a little about me and get the kids excited. I don’t want to overwhelm families with 1001 rules and procedures. There is plenty of time for that later.

The second page covers class information. It still doesn’t have rules and policies, but gives parents some information they will need for the first week of school (like snacks, how I will communicate, etc). It also gives the url to the class website so they can check it out.

I also did a little attention-whoring by including some quotes from former students. Again, I just want to get the kids and parents excited for the first day of school and ease some of the worries that they may have since I’m new to the school.

Categories: Summer Work, Uncategorized

Behavior Bay

I’d like to start sharing some of my beach classroom theme. I’m really happy with it so far! I think the classroom is going to be really cute when I’m done.

Today I’ll share Behavior Bay. The job chart isn’t done yet but I love the beach-themed clip chart!

Probably anyone who knows me knows about the clip chart, and I wrote a long post about it a couple weeks ago. The only things different about this one are that it has a beach theme and the consequence is a passport signature rather than losing minutes of recess or whatever consequence the teacher chooses. My 4th grade team uses a passport system, so I wanted the clip chart to tie in with that.

Here’s the picture (FYI, please excuse my horrible photography skills! I’ll try to improve, I promise!):

The tree has all of the different clips the kids can earn. Last year, the kids loved looking at all the clips to see what they could earn. The tree was made by tracing a projected image onto colored butcher paper, then scrunching up strips of paper and stapling them to the edges to outline it. BTW the diamond clip is missing because I haven’t made them yet.

The surfboard is where the kids will attach their clips. All the clips will start in the middle on the green “Ready to Learn” and will then clip up and down throughout the day. Anyone on Outstanding at the end of the year gets a sticker on their clip. Students get the next color clip once they get 5 stickers.

The words on the clip chart from the bottom to the top say:

Wipeout: Contact Home
Bummer: Consequence (mine says Passport Signature)
Rough Waters: Think About It
Surf’s Up: Ready to Learn
Cowabunga: Showing Pride
Off the Hook: Role Model
Epic: Outstanding

The metal sheet is just a sheet of galvanized metal that was under $10 at Lowes. I attached it to the wall with velcro strips. I got this idea from a co-worker, and I love it! It’s such a cheap and easy way to add magnet boards to your classroom. I’m going to put my job chart on this board. I’ll take another picture once it’s done.

If anyone wants to make a surfboard clip chart, you can print out the attached document with the words in cute fonts. Enjoy!


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Class, Yes

You might have seen some Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) videos on the Internet. I will say that some of those WBT videos out there kind of make the kids look like robots. That is not the intention, and it is not what my classroom looked like last year or what it will look like this year. However, I am a huge fan of some of the techniques and thought I’d share them on my blog over the next week. If nothing else, it’ll be a good reminder to me of how to use these techniques.

One basic thing teachers need to be able to do is get the attention of the class. There are all kinds of things teachers say, like “123 eyes on me” etc. My school had a school-wide attention getter called Paws Up. The teacher said, “Paws Up!”, and students were *supposed to* put their hands in the air, stop talking, and look at the teacher.

I’m going to be blunt. I hated paws up. Teachers had to say it over and over before anyone listened. It was marginally effective when I had a perfect class. It was 1000000% ineffective for the class I had last year. I would say, “Paws up!” I had only one child who would do paws up every time. The other kids were COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS. They would just keep working and talking.

I searched the Internet and found out about Class Yes. It is ridiculously simple. You say, “Class!” They say, “Yes!” Then they stop talking and look at you. You can make it fun by saying variations of “Class” and they repeat the same variation for “Yes”. So if you say, “Classity Class!” then they say “Yessity Yes!”. You can say it in a deep voice, high pitched voice, etc.

The best part is that it WORKS!

Here’s why it works. Let’s say that I when I say “Class,”¬† only some of the kids hear me. The kids who don’t hear me still have a second opportunity to figure out what’s going on because they’ll hear a bunch of kids yell, “Yes!”¬† With paws up, they didn’t hear me say “Paws up” and they didn’t notice the few kids (er, one kid) who did paws up. The second reason it works is because it’s fun! The kids love to reply, especially when it’s a fun variation in a silly voice. Paws up was not fun. It was more like being arrested.

I was worried that the kids still wouldn’t hear me, but it worked perfectly for my class!¬† They loved yelling “YES!” so they were extremely enthusiastic about it. It worked from the moment I introduced it through the end of the¬† year. It is the perfect technique for kids who love to talk!

According to the Whole Brain Teaching website, this is why it works:

“Why is the Class-Yes, in terms of brain structure, so effective? ¬†The neo-cortex, the part of your brain behind your forehead, controls, among other things, decision making. ¬†Think of the neo-cortex as an executive, organizing other brain areas for complex tasks. ¬†When the teacher says, “Class!” and students respond “Yes!,” you have, in effect focused your students’ neo-cortices on what you’re going to say next. ¬†In other words, their brain’s executives are ready to take directions from your brain’s executive. ¬†That’s wonderful! ¬†Your neo-cortex is the CEO of all your kids’ neo-cortices. ¬†We call that, Teaching Heaven”

Give “Class Yes” a try! You’ll probably love it!

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Brain Breaks

If you’re like me, you might have pinned several links to brain breaks on Pinterest. I’ll be honest…. my opinion is that the best brain break is a second recess.¬† Last year, my teammate and I both had very active classes. We also had 3 hours of uninterrupted learning time in the afternoons.¬† At the beginning of the year, we took the kids out to recess between writing and math, and it was great.¬† However, after a couple months, we were asked to eliminate second recess.¬† We tried, and by the time math came around, the kiddos were Losing. It.

We tried every brain break we could think of…. dance parties, exercise, yoga, quiet meditation, you name it. Nothing worked! We saw drops of over 15% in math scores. We plead our case, brought recess back, the scores went back up, and the kids were happier, more focused, and able to learn. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to go out for a 2nd recess.¬† I won’t have a 2nd recess this year, but the school day is split up much better.¬† Math and language arts are both in the morning with specials in between. We have a late lunch, followed by read-aloud and science or social studies.¬† It sounds like a great schedule!

However, I’m sure those moments will come when the kids need a quick brain break so I want to be prepared. I looked through some of the brain break links from Pinterest and chose some that I liked. They are all simple,¬† quick, and fun. I printed them out, glued them to bright colored tagboard, and will laminate the cards. The student helpers of the week will choose a brain break and lead it.

Here’s a picture of what they look like on the tagboard:

I just printed them and cut them out, but you could also use Avery 5371 business cards. The artwork is from http://www.scrappindoodles.com.

I hope someone out there can use these! Here’s the download:

Brain Breaks


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