Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

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Daily 5

Daily 5 Book Bins

It is so important that students are reading “Just Right ” books everyday. Not only do we, as teachers, have to provide our students with interesting books at their level, but we must teach them how to choose books that they can read. I find it so frustrating when students tell me what level they are , rather than being able to tell me what they are looking for ” I know most of  the words, I understand what it’s about…”is far more important. Children who perceive themselves as a “level” will not be able to choose books at home, at the library or at a bookstore.We must give them the confidence and skills to see themselves as readers not as a “level”.

In the classroom, storing a variety of “Just Right ” material is essential. The Two Sisters suggest magazine boxes. While some people really like them, I have not had a great deal of success with those. They always seem to fall over and all the books fall out. I prefer to see each child with a personal bag-cloth or the enormous durable, ziplock bags. I have also seen some great re-usable tubs from Target or the Dollar Store. Here are some photos  of Daily 5 storage for students that I have seen in classrooms I have visited recently. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, as long as they are easily accessible, easy to store and hold a variety of  just right texts.

photo 2photo 3

photo 1

Building Community With the Daily 5

Many teachers in our system are using the Daily Five structure to help them set up their classroom communities.

The foundational principles of the Daily Five structure are found in Chapter two of the Daily 5 book : trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina.

Without the community building, Daily Five is nothing more than center time. Building a strong community is essential so that the teacher is able to teach explicitly, work with mini groups, conference and assess for the rest of the year. Creating community starts on the first day of school .It is such an important task to create community in any classroom setting. It can make or break a class at the beginning of the year. Beginning of the school year activities, get to know you activities, sharing writing, and choosing great read alouds are all ways to build community in your classroom. When students are working together towards a common goal ( building reading or writing stamina for Daily Five) they are building community. The 2 Sisters suggest you take 20 minutes to build community in your classroom each day. The Daily Five encourages all students to take responsibility for their role in the classroom!

In their book The Daily Five, the authors state the following about community. “We spend a great deal of effort creating and maintaining a healthy classroom culture. Each new group of children will fashion their own unique community based on the schema they bring to the classroom and the experiences they have… A sense of community provides members with ownership to hold others accountable for behaviours of effort, learning, order and kindness. During the Daily Five, students may come one step closer to achieving goals they have set for themselves….the “how-tos” for building community are an integral part of each and every lesson

(Daily Five pg 21,22)


Great video link to chapter 2,with teacher comments below

PWIM environment

This is one photograph of what a classroom following the PWIM model might look like. This classroom was on its 6th cycle. All the pictures are posted in the classroom so that children have access to them. In Comprehension Going Forward  Nancy Commins gives us great rationale on page 202 ” The key in a linguistically diverse environment is that teachers always mediate understanding by building the conceptual understandings in the text through visual imagery and oral discussion ,not just the written word.” The vocabulary of each cycle is used through inquiry as well as helping with sentence and  paragraph writing during the cycle but also all year. She goes on to say on page 211-“Unfortunately, too often I see what I think of as “word wallpaperThe standards are up, the steps in the writing process are on the wall next to a list of potential story starters, and a description of strategies good readers use are nearby. …no exemplars, no student work and no visual rubrics to help bring the print to life. ” Those comments really made me think of PWIM, as the teacher is constantly referring to the pictures for word study, writing and building vocabulary. It is a living, growing tool.

Obviously then, the pictures should be posted where students can use them.Extra words added, after the shake out can be on chart paper beside the cycle,added to the word wall or recorded in personal dictionaries. I am so disappointed by teachers who pull  down a cycle when they are” done” with it. Their understanding of PWIM is obviously in need of a boost!!

 Consideration needs to be made for storage of word and sentence cards. Many teachers keep current cycles in a ziplock baggie or an envelope.Each student has their own-their name or initials are written on the back in case of loss. A shoe box is very helpful to hold old cycles in for on-going word work. I really like to colour code each cycle. I might do my first cycle on pale pink, print all word cards and sentence strips on pale pink and class booklets from that cycle will have a pale pink colour. My next cycle might be white, then pale yellow, then pale blue…never bright colours like red as they are too distracting. In the photo above the teacher had the students store their word cards in the red pocket chart. It kept the words easy to store and access.

Another important element of the PWIM classroom, is a good classroom library-containing books that are all levels and topics, a balance of non-fiction and fiction,presented in an attractive, easy to access manner. Covers facing out versus spines is important. Daily Read alouds, think alouds and talk alouds are essntial. To Read more about classroom libraries, read regie Routman Reading Essentils and aslo Daily 5

The most important thing to remember is that the classrrom is co construted with the students based on their learning. It is not the teacher’s classroom-it belongs to the students. It will not look the same very year. Anne Davies says: We do not want to teach the same year twenty five times-we want to teach for twenty five years.

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