Saturday, September 22, 2012

How Daily5 Is Shaping Up

Skeptical.

Totally and utterly unbelieving, skeptical and completely lacking in conviction.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I felt about Daily5 only a short few months ago. I had heard about it, followed a few #daily5 chats on Twitter, read a few blogposts, spoken to a few educators who were running with it in their rooms and I was still doubtful and skeptical.

My major issue was that my reading programme has run smoothly for years - in fact, it is and always has been, my favourite time of the day in my classroom. My classes have always enjoyed our reading tumble and since the eLearning skills and tools have been embedded in the tumble, the class have enjoyed it even more.

So I had a BIG problem. If I was going to give this whole 'Daily5' malarky a go, then I was going to try to fix something that wasn't broken. Was that just crazy or what???

But then I took a wee leap of faith and decided to buy the book. The talk on Twitter seemed to be around the whole philosophy of Daily5 teaching and really intentional skills teaching, so I reckoned that the worst that could happen would be that I read a new book and ended up staying with the usual tumble and teaching.

I bought the book, devoured it in a day and was inspired. This confirmed everything that I have always known about literacy but more than that, it gave me a step-by-step guide to how to explicitly teach the skills needed for a truly successful LITERACY programme - no more separation of writing, vocab, word skills and reading - oh no! This encompasses everything 'literacy' and wraps it neatly up in a self-managing, manageable daily programme! Yeeha! I was sold!

So I have spent this past term building slowly towards the ultimate outcome - the whole Daily5 in the middle block of each day. Each activity lasts (for us) for 20 minutes and the class have embraced it and run with it! The most hilarious thing has been the cheer at morning tea time every day as the Daily5 appears on the ActivBoard for the next thing on the timetable! My class bounce out and bounce in gleefully - each one of them loving the responsibility for their learning and the feeling of controlling their own literacy choices within a firm boundary of expectations. We have learnt words such as 'stamina' (perfect when the term's focus was the Olympic Games!) EEKK, CAFE, and much more. The explicit teaching of each component and building of stamina has meant that the Daily5 are securely embedded in their minds. The co-constructed anchor charts bring subtle reminders to them of what they decided each activity looks like and sounds like, what is expected of them, and what they are capable of.

In a nut-shell, I am now a firm, confident, Daily5 believer. The powerful programme has added to the passion I have always had for literacy teaching and learning. I am now able to (seriously!) teach 2 focus reading groups a day, 1 writing group per day, conference 2-3 writers and 2-3 readers without missing a beat. It feels like I have been doing it forever but every session ends with a smile on 27 faces (especially mine!) and a wail of, "Ohhhhh..." when the bell rings for lunch. I think the kids would do the Daily5 all day if I let them! Doesn't that say it all???

2 comments:

  1. That's a great post regarding Daily 5/CAFE. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I too was consumed with passion once I read the books.

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  2. It is a wonderful journey of discovery for me at the moment and the kids are so excited by Daily5! Glad to hear that you were also consumed with passion around the Daily 5 after reading the books too.

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