Thursday, June 30, 2011

Checking In

Sometimes my thoughts on the Daily 5 jump around and today I was thinking about how students will check in.

On the 27th, Gail and Joan (The 2 Sisters) held a workshop on the Daily 5 in Washington. Lori Sabo (@lorilovesbooks) sent out this tweet that really struck me: "It takes time to check in. It just does. But it's time well spent and an important part of accountability."

Accountability and choice are two of the main reasons why the Daily 5 appeals to me.

I found this Choice Sheet. Students' names are put in the blank space next to the days of the week and check marks (or Xs or stars!) are made after students have made their choice. I cannot find where I originally got this sheet, so if you know, please let me know--I'd like to give credit where credit is due!!

I would like to use the SMART Board to have my students check in between each round and so I created a notebook file for the 4 choices we will have each round. In the middle column would be each student's name or initials. Students will slide their name or initials to the box for the choice they'll make. Given that my board only allows 1 student to touch it at a time and I do not have a mounted projector, I am not sure this will be the most feasible option, but I am going to give it a try!

Other Accountability Resources:
Mrs. Bainbridge's Student checklist--> this seems like a great sheet & the kid icons are cute, but no brown faces :(
Mrs. Grochocki's Stamina Graphs

How do your students check in?
How do you keep track of the choices your students make?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Using Computers for Daily 5

Last night's #ellchat on twitter was focused on using technology to teach English Language Learners, which encouraged me to write a blogpost on how we can use technology in the Daily 5.

Thanks to I will have SEVEN netbooks in my classroom next year. When I introduce a new website in class I tend to use the computer lab or the computer on wheels to make sure everyone understands how to use the different sites.

My plan is to have the computers be a different Daily 5 choice each week. When I first started to gather resources I thought that I would list them all here, however there a bunch of teachers who have already gathered resources together. There was no reason for me to try and recreate their hard work! You will find their sites at the bottom of this post.

I am going to have my students use this website I created to easily navigate computer choices: I think that I will have this page be on our bookmark bar, or maybe even change the homepage to the choice for that week.

It is my suggestion that if you have a site for the kids, you keep a list of ALL the amazing resources somewhere else. At the beginning of the year kids need fewer choices and it'd be great to keep the choices rotating throughout the year.

There are two sites I would like to highlight. The first is (subscription is about $80 a year, I got a 3 year subscription through Donorschoose: Raz-Kids project). This site can be used for read to self, read to someone (students can record themselves reading) or listen to reading! My students really enjoyed Raz-Kids and it kept them engaged in reading in a different way.

The second is (we journaled about our caterpillars: This upcoming year we are going to keep a wiki to document what we learn in each unit. Laura (@komos72) has spiral notebooks in her room that students use for work on writing. They have different topics like sports or getting hurt--all students contribute to the same notebook. I love this idea and think it could be easily translated to the wiki.

Crista Anderson (@cristama)'s awesome Livebinder
Jill Fisch (@jillfisch)'s resources
Susie Goneau (@suser1)'s wiki page
Barbara Day (@BarbaraDay) suggested Spelling City
Laura (@komos72) has used kidblog for blogging as a work on writing option

And just about everyone suggested Tumblebooks (check to see if your local library has a subscription)

How do your students use the computer during Daily 5?
What is your number one resource on the internet for students?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Starting To Think About Organization and Activities

One of my colleagues is sadly moving to a different school, but she gave me this great wooden organizer/bookshelf from her room. I haven't figured out exactly where I want it to be in my classroom, but I do have several ideas for what I'd like to use it for!

The white containers above hold Leap Frog Tag Readers and books. I need to purchase headphones that will fit inside these cases, but I love the idea of students grabbing a case (they look like little briefcases when the kids hold them!) and quickly finding a spot to begin listening to reading. I have 5 Tag Readers and currently have 3 working headphones for my listening center. Developing accountability and exploring more ideas for listening to reading will be another post!

The organizer with the three drawers is where I am hoping to put several options for work on writing. A friend on twitter (I wish I could remember who!) gave me the idea of having the kids write comics as an option for work on writing. I'd like to keep comic strip templates in one of these drawers. I haven't found a template I love yet, as many are pretty boring. In another drawer I would like to keep mini-books (inspired by the book Library Mouse).

For the rest of this great organizer/bookshelf I am going to purchase small containers that can be placed into each opening. I'd love for the activities to be ones where students can pull the drawer out and go and get to work. For writing I am thinking of adding words to wordless stories (thank you @nsharoff), cutting words/pictures out of magazines for sentences and story inspiration, and story starter cards.

I'd also like to include Word Study options in this bookshelf, but I think that might be another post!

What activities do you have for work on writing?
Do you think colored or clear bins are best for this type of bookshelf?
Any thoughts on what should go on top of this bookcase?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Where Do I Start?

So, I have decided to do the Daily 5 for next year. Over the past 3 years I have tried different formats of centers. Mostly, students have rotated in groups among centers at appointed times. This past semester I gave students 15 activities they needed to complete for the week and they were allowed to pick the order of activities they did and where they completed their work. And my students liked the choice. Maybe they wanted to read at their desk or on the carpet or over in the library. As long as they are doing their work I really can't care where they work!

I am hoping that the entire primary team at my school adopts the Daily 5.

To begin my work on the Daily 5 I have created a LiveBinder that collects many of the great ideas of Daily 5:

Right now my schedule has been to have centers from 10-11 and independent reading (Read to Self) from 11-11:25. I think that I will keep this schedule as I really enjoy the environment created by the whole classroom reading at once. This also allows me to pull Guided Reading Groups from 10-11 and conference from 11-11:25.

I also joined The Sisters' website: They have tons of downloads, videos and photos to support teachers who are doing the daily 5 in their classrooms. I know it will be worth the $70 to join for the year!!