Sunday, August 28, 2011

The First Week

The weather the past few days has been beautiful here in Chicago. In fact, it is so breezy right now I just fell asleep on my back deck! While I am exhausted after the first week of school, I am also excited for week two.

On the first day of school we launched Read to Self and began practicing our stamina. The Hefty two and a half gallon bags are doing well (the zipper has broken on one, but I bought three bags so this is no problem!).

This week I have realized that my students really struggle to get started right away. Between getting their bags, finding a spot and conversations with classmates some where not even getting started before I called them back to the carpet. Now, before we leave for lunch and recess, we've been placing our reading bags around the classroom. This has helped us (for the most part) get started right away.

Half way through the week I realized that I was using the "stink eye" to help a few kids continue reading, even when they had stopped following the behaviors on our chart. After doing research on I knew I needed to stop my students as soon as they displayed behaviors that didn't match our expectations. Our stamina is only about a 1 minute and a half right now, as I have several students who are struggling to get started right away and read the whole time.

When we gather back on the carpet between practice sessions we have been discussing what behaviors we've been doing well and which behaviors we need to work on. I've given my student who struggled the most with read the whole time a small hourglass timer, which has really helped give him focus to read.

How do you help your students build their stamina? What strategies do you use for your students to get started right away? How do you decide if a student is readjusting or if they are no longer displaying the correct Read to Self behaviors?


  1. I started introducing R2S on the first day of school last week. The students really enjoy it, but of course, there is always one or two who don't seem to get what we are doing. I have a little girl who likes to announce where she will be sitting and another who spends most of the time getting situated. I also found it hard to ignore them. This week I plan to start conferring individually with students during R2S which will help me be less of a watchdog. Good luck!

  2. Your struggles are everyone's struggles Karen. Mine are the same way. Are you placing your kids in spots or are you letting them choice? This makes a difference. Once they know their spot and are good at making better choices, I then dismiss only about 4 kids at a time to get book boxes and find a spot. Perhaps having those that are struggling a bit model the incorrect and correct way would help them. I had kids last year who talked and visited at times so I took out my camera and videotaped them, then called them back to the meeting area and we watched. We talked about what is appropriate behaviours and what are not. It sure helped curb a lot of visiting and they then started taking it serious.
    For those who you are not quite sure if they are adjusting I would watch, if after a minute they don't take a book. I would call them back. You can always re-practice 6 minutes over again or for a 2 or 3 day cycle.
    I will be starting on Wednesday. So we'll see how it goes with my new little grade 2ers. Good luck this week.
    Ms. Brown's Grade 2 Class

  3. I use stamina charts! Whenever I add more minutes on our graph, they get SO excited and are so proud of themselves!!!!!

  4. Just found your blog and am a new follower! I also teach 2nd grade in CPS :) so excited to start school and launch daily 5 and cafe again this year!

  5. Hi I am trying the Daily 5 and CAFE for the first time this year. We just started this week, I teach a multiage 1-2. We can barely make it through 3 minutes. Do you let you kids trade their books each day? Thanks so much!

  6. Thanks for stopping by JPS! I think my students had 3 minutes a week our first week too. We don't trade our books each day. My students keep their books in a Hefty 2 and a half gallon ziploc style bag. When it's time to read, they grab their bag and go.

    Keep with it. It is shocking to me that today my students made 12 minutes of stamina... the first week I thought we'd NEVER get there :)

  7. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas. It's my second year of Daily 5 (14th year in First Grade) and I just now found the extra blog support! lol I'm looking forward to implementing CAFE this year, so I'll be visiting often for ideas. Thanks!