Thursday, February 21, 2013

Daily Five mid-year check in

I am off for a few weeks recovering from surgery.  I thought I would describe how Daily Five is working in our Kindergarten class right now.

I have a class of 19 this year, three of whom are identified as special needs kids.  I have 13 boys and 6 girls.  The kids all went to preschool before Kindergarten.  Some came to me already reading, some didn't know all of their letters or sounds.

At this point in the year, all of my kids know their letters and sounds (except one child with special needs and he knows most of them).  They are all reading enough sight words to read leveled books.

At Daily Five time, I first call a reading group to my reading table (about 6 kids per group).  Then I ask the other 13 kids to choose where they want to work.  My kids will have two reading groups with me and all five choices before we start again.  Asking 13 kids where they want to work is very easy and doesn't take more than a few minutes.  I saw an excellent video online of a teacher who had trained her children to say what goals they had for read to self (I will work on making connections.  for example).  Something for me to work towards, I guess.  :)

My kids have their own book boxes, stored around the room. (I bought mine at Target a few years ago and they have held up great!)  If they choose read to self or buddy reading, they go get their book box.  Each book box has five books that the child chose from the books shelves and several books from their reading group time.  I have found this to be highly beneficial: the kids are very successful re-reading their reading group books.  They are practicing in just right text and can read to a buddy.  I think it helps them stay focused during the reading time.  Every couple of weeks, I have to collect all the books and return them.  Fun.  But well worth it.  The other teachers who come into my room to assist students (ESOL, Special Ed, Speech) know that the child they are helping has familiar books at their level in their book box.

For listening, my kids can choose a container of books and an MP3 player or they can listen to Tumblebooks on the computer.  I do not require any follow up.  They can listen to as many books as they have time for.  Once I got this set up, I haven't had to change anything.  Right now I am going to use old ipods and iphones that have been donated to the school when I need new players.  The stories are stored on my computer so I can just make a playlist.  My main goal for listening is that the children hear high quality literature read well.

Our writing component is pretty simple, too. The kids get a big sheet of paper, draw a quick picture and write about it.  They get to share their stories when we get back together and this is a big draw.  They love to share.  If they goof off and don't get anything done, they are sad.  I let them finish it later. (Aren't I kind?)  I actually get the most awesome writing from my kids at this time.  I love it.

And last but not least, we have word work.  As I said earlier, my kids all have some sight words (between 3-375!!!).  By they end of the year, they would need 25 to be on grade level (but we have eliminated that on our report card Yay!!!!).  I know I have posted about my word work activities before.  Write the room is always a favorite.  I have stamping activities, word family activities, spinners, dice (just write words you want them to practice on the dice and they can roll and write), bingo games, Zap! (write words on tongue depressors, they pull it out, read it , write it, keep it.  If they get a Zap! stick, they put all their sticks back). I set out one activity for word work so the kids can help each other.

So, I call the reading group, the other kids choose, we all get to work.  When my reading group is finished (15-20 minutes), I play music.  Everyone sings and comes to the carpet.  The kids who did read to self can share a sticky note (for a connection or idea from their book), the kids who went to writing share their writing, the kids who went to word work share five of their words.  Then we choose again.  Sharing is a great part of Daily Five for me.  I get to see what they have done, extend and reinforce their thinking, and motivate the next session.  I use it for my mini-lesson.  I never skip it.  I love it.

Hope you found a new idea!


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