Daily 5 Organizing and Management

Hi friends! It's time to return to our Daily 5 book study. Chapter 2 is a pretty significant part of the Daily 5 program because Daily 5 cannot operate as intended if certain key elements are not found in our classrooms.

These key elements are:
*Sense of Urgency (importance)
*Stamina (getting stronger)

The thing that keeps popping up for me as MEGA important is the idea of providing direction. Our job is to lay the path and let them go down it. - not alone but with us AND their classmates by their side…. We have to trust that the kids are capable of doing what we teach, and then we have to let them do it!
Kids must have an opportunity to do exactly what we want them to do… If we say be independent yet we monitor over them the whole time – well actions speak louder than words. They will operate as though they need that monitoring……If we want them to be truly independent, we have to give them the opportunity to be independent.

Relationships are important – this is the vehicle through which teachers “tell” our kids whether we trust them to be independent or not. What am I  “saying” to my kids about my confidence in their ability to be independent learners?

Well, right now I currently use Debbie Diller-style literacy stations and I have a pocket chart in which kids rotate through the stations.  

I will tell you this system works great! I rotate the kids and they have opportunities to work with different kids. They learn quickly how to figure what station to go to and it's pretty regimented. However, how does doing this show the kids I trust them? I'm not sure it does..... A part of me wants to try having them choose their activity but a part of me is afraid of giving up that control - that "safety net". 

I've heard other teachers say, "I use Daily 5 but I choose which Daily 5 they go to and when." My thinking is.....Ok, but how do you reconcile that with what we learn by reading Chapter 2? How are you showing kids you trust them to independently operate during Daily 5 if you choose for them? I'm not criticizing by any means.....I'm asking some real questions I have.... 
Although my current system is "safe" and "routine", I worry that my unspoken statement to the kids is, "You can't do this yourself so I will choose for you."

Here's another question: What if a kid doesn't make wise choices? I've heard teachers say, "I choose for them. They have to go to Read to Self." Here is my problem with this solution... First of all, isn't that making Read to Self a "punishment"? It's like when we used to have to write sentences in grade school for not doing homework or something. It caused us to hate to write. I know that isn't what we want children to think. My other problem with this is -- "How are we guiding that child to make wise choices?" That is the end goal -- to help them make choices, not just solve it ourselves.
Just some things to think about......:0)

What am I doing right now that I could TRUST the kids to do?

For me I know this revolves around choosing their learning activities and the order they do them in. This is still a scary proposition for me to wrap my head around. I mean the thought of doing things another way when your current way works is difficult. What if I can't get my 5 year olds to do it??....or what if it doesn't work as well?? I cringe at the thought.

Kids  love structure and routine. Boy do they ever! Providing a schedule for them to refer to helps give them some control over their day. Using a schedule has always been a weak area for me.  I know I need to post a schedule and USE it. Now don't get me wrong - I do follow a schedule...but I'm talking about looking to a class schedule with the kids and moving on to the next thing. This seems hard for me because it seems like one more thing to do in an already tight schedule. I know it's important and I intend to make use of one this year. THERE! I've committed! :0)

Sense of Urgency – Why do I have to or why should I? We've all asked this at one time or another. Heck, I still ask this....Kids are no different. Kids need to know the answer to these questions – not because I say so…

Kids need to know AND deserve to know WHY we...
*Read to self
*Read to someone
*Listen to reading
*Work on writing
*Do word work?

They need to know WHY in order to be motivated. Let the kids know why we are learning these things. This helps them understand the true purpose for these activities and shows that you respect their need to know.

Whew! This chapter made me tired.... so many things to contemplate -- so many logistics.... I look forward to reading your ideas and thoughts.

In the comments below, please leave your thoughts and ideas about how you trust your students. :0)

Oh, and before you leave I want to let you know that I did a guest blog post over at Kleinspiration today about Little Bird Tales. Ever hear of Little Bird Tales? 

It's a fabulous website that allows you and your kiddos to make ditigal storybooks... It's super easy and quick - 5 year olds can do it! Please hop over and check it out and you can see the one I did with my kiddos this year......I'm so nervous about posting on the GREAT KLEINSPIRATION!! hehehehehe (fingers crossed for me :0) CLICK HERE TO GO!


  1. I've heard so much about Daily 5 this summer. Thank you for sharing what you're learning through this book study. I use Debbie Diller style stations as well and am a little scared of just allowing students to roam the room and choose their own station. In a time when class sizes seem to be out of control, its a little beyond my ability to imagine 21 students freely choosing their station rather than following a distinct rotation. My kids are GREAT at working in stations while I pull small group b/c we spend a great deal of time at the beginning of the year practicing our routines. I'm looking forward to hearing more... (and possibly deciding if this will be a good adaptation for me to make in my classroom).

    Mrs. Dwyer’s A+ Firsties

  2. Good Morning! I totally agree about sending kids to "read to self" as a punishment is NOT okay! I have that very same thought every time I hear someone say it. What a fast way to make kids hate that activity. How sad. I am thinking too, who are are the ones that need us to pick for them? I would argue it is mostly boys, who already don't love to read.... so then we make them dislike it even more? There has to be a better way! I hope reading everyone's responses today helps us come closer to figuring that out.
    Kickin' it in Kinder

  3. I love giving students choices! As an EBD teacher who uses Non-Violent Crisis Prevention Intervention, the key strategy was giving students two choices (both of which the teacher can live with - put your toy in your locker or on my desk, etc.). In my resource room I wanted to implement Daily 5, but it was hard with kids coming and going. I had daily lists (including the Daily 5 reading and writing activities) for each student and they got to pick what they did, in what order, but in a regular classroom or when trying to have students work with a partner/small group, I'm just not sure how you implement that, while still giving students a choice. I'd love to hear if you have any ideas on ensuring that students are working on developmentally appropriate word work and still giving them choices. This is one of my biggest struggles.

    We are ALL Special!

  4. I am asking myself all the same questions you are! I love how I do my morning literacy centers/reading groups right now. I haven't had a problem with it and my students enjoy this time! I want to switch over, but I am extremely nervous to give up my routine/control/whatever you want to call it!! We can do it!! haha

    Kindergarten Smiles

  5. I am having issues with being aboe to trust those kids to do what I expect them to get done without me specifically telling them. I keep thinking about this one kid that I had last year. I would tell the whole class how to do something, what color to use, what to cut, etc. as soon as I was done and told them to get started, he would raise his hand and ask, "What color do we use? Can we cut now?" It drove me crazy! How in the world would I be able to trust a kid like that to make bigger decisions? It's so frustrating.

  6. this was the first year that I tried the rotation through the centers and I HATED it. I hate the time I lost having them clean, and then rotate. You (and the kids) gain so much more time by having them go where they need to go. I use a poster board with the stations at the top that they MUST do by the end of the center time (you can make it by the end of the week if that works better for you). When they complete a center they go to the chart and put a dot (with a dry erase marker) under that center. You can easily look at the chart and remind any students that they may want to think about moving to another center if they have not gotten to all of them. It's just like training them for rotations-it's all in the training. You put a limit on how many can be in a certain center and then they pick-if they get all their centers done-they can go to a "fun" center or go back to one of their favorites (providing that it's not full). If they do not finish then you can pick your consequences...I have mine do them (if possible) as homework. You will have one or two that don't get done on time but, I found that was typical for rotations as well. It's all in the training. I wish I had a picture of my center chart-sorry, I don't. Just picture your kids names are down the left side with pictures of the centers across the top. Hope this makes sense! By the way, I teach Kindergarten. I think my kids learn early on that I trust them to make good decisions about their learning...I've already been to college and know these things-they are the ones that need to learn it.


  7. I've heard several teachers who say that it works, I know I just need to try it, but I'm so scared of doing it wrong! I don't want to give up and go back to the same old way of doing things!

    The Daily Alphabet

  8. I love your questions! I totally do the "you must go to Read to Self." I don't feel that those students who disrupt others should be allowed to do so. If they don't want to work the right well with others, then they don't get to. This way they only hinder themselves. I know other teachers who remove those students from the room which I think is worse.
    No perfect system works for everyone!!
    Again, great questions... I know LOTS of people are thinking the same thing.
    Sharing Kindergarten

  9. Mary... I am just as perplexed about what to do with the kids who don't make wise choices. I'm not sure there is a perfect answer and I certainly don't have it.....

    One thing I have done with kiddos that need more guidance/not keep others from learning is to implement learning boxes. These are just tubs with a few different learning activities they can choose from. I feel like then they are getting very controlled choice and they are not near other kids for that time.... It does seem to work well and has them practice "choosing" under controlled circumstances.... But again.....it's something I still toil with :0)

  10. I feel alot of the same concern that you do Jeannie which is why I think choicing centers (if it actually comes to that) is something that is going to take time to work into . . . I think we need to start out assigning those centers and gradually give away that control. They can still have choices within the centers, who to read to, what to read, which word work activity to choose, but in kindergarten, we are really still trying to teach them HOW to make good choices for a good part of the year. I love my Debbie Dillar stations too which is why I'm keeping my Math Stations as is. . . You asked GREAT questions. So glad you're part of this book study.
    A Differentiated Kindergarten

  11. OK you are SO right about us not making the choices for them! This is going to be so hard for me next year but I need to keep what you said in the back of my mind. They need to learn to make wise choices. Thank you for that!

  12. I am a teacher who took away the choice. Not because I wanted to, but because student behavior was awful and nothing was being accomplished. I had 4 extreme behavior kids (as in throw tantrums, injure others, destroy the room, my class had to exit our room to the neighboring classroom...) as well as 3 other students that acted out almost daily. I started Daily 5 in the 4th quarter of the school year. Only about 2 weeks of that quarter was pure Daily 5. Read to Self was SUPER easy to implement. All of my kids (especially the behavior kids) LOVED Read to Self. That was done faithfully for the entire quarter. They begged to do it during free time and thought it was a reward when I allowed them to do it outside of reading block. There were a lot of rules to Read to Self. Not at first, but as they abused the trust, there were individuals that I had conversations with and made agreements with that they weren't able to do all of the requirements (from the I-chart)if they were sitting in a particular spot or within a certain distance of a specific person, etc. During the 2 weeks that I actually switched ALL of my stations over to D5 stations, I started off by allowing the students to choose, but unfortunately those extreme behavior kiddos tended to end up in stations with someone that caused a conflict and I was right back to that scene from Chapter 1 where I spent all of my time putting out fires. Will EVERY class be like this? I sure hope not. I WANT them to have that choice. I want to not have to figure out how to make it all fit together. I will certainly start off the year allowing students to choose (with a lot of modeling and coaching). However, I will remove the choice if behaviors deem it necessary.

    As for using Read to Self as a "punishment"- when I had behavior kiddos struggling to get along in their groups at their stations, I allowed them to choose to take the materials to their seat or to do Read to Self. Most of the time, they chose Read to Self. Remember, they LOVED Read to Self. My other option would be to have them out of the room, which would mean they weren't reading at all. That only happened if they continued to prevent OTHERS from being readers.

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