Tuesday, June 26, 2012

D5 Chapter 3

This week we are back over at Live, Love, Laugh discussing Chapter 3!

1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks. 
     I have always left a large carpeted area in my room to be used as our gathering place. I have now been in 4 different classrooms since starting Daily 5, so my space seems to rarely stay the same from year to year. However, it is typically at the front of the room where the SmartBoard/Promethean is. I also have an easel with makers and chart paper. I think that even if I taught intermediate grades, I would still have them gather together on the rug. I don't have a fun name for our gathering space, I always call it the rug or the carpet! Maybe I should think of something clever!

2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books. 
     I do the shoe lesson like the Sisters describe in their book. I think it works well and helps the kids see how different shoes/books are good for some people, and not for others. However, the concept of 'good fit' books is so difficult for young kids to grasp. I find I am constantly coming back to reteach it throughout the year. I absolutely LOVE the video by Mrs. Saccoccio's class singing the IPICK song! I always show this to my kids and they love singing along! It helps them to learn the IPICK acronym and I can refer to it when helping them pick 'good fit' books!
There are also a few picture books that I've seen on Pinterest that I would love to get to help! Here are just a couple I've seen:

3. Create anchor charts with students. 
     Creating anchor charts is so important! We create one for each of the dailies! I make them pretty much the way the Sisters make them, in a sort of 'I-chart' form. We have a discussion and I guide them in deciding what should go on each one. I will keep the current anchor chart on the easel for easy reference, and eventually hang them up in the room for reference. I know I have seen cutsie pre-made anchor charts out there in blogland, however my opinion is that is is super important to make them WITH the kids!
     If wall space is short, then one thing I have done is to take a picture of each anchor chart and then print them off for each child to keep in their book box for easy reference. Sometimes this is better anyway because then they can pull it out rather than having to look around the room, or get up if they can't see from their spot. One year I even made them on the SmartBoard. This way they could be up large for everyone to see when we were building stamina, but I could print smaller ones off when we were finished!

4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes. 
     We keep track of our stamina using a graph. In the picture above, I used a graph for each of the dailies (this was the year I looped with my class, so stamina was built really fast, don't expect your graphs to look like these lol!). However, in the past couple years I have moved to just using one graph. 
     I have used several different options for book boxes over the years. I started out using shoe boxes, but those turned out not to be big enough. The white Ikea magazine boxes came next. 

These were cheap, and the kids liked decorating them, but they barely held up all year. I had to tape them back together many times in the second half of the year. I did like that they could take them home at the end of the year and (hopefully) use them over the summer! Two years ago I purchased baskets from the Dollar Tree that I have been using ever since. 
On the first day of school, I usually do not have anything in the book boxes. It is important to me that the kids understand what goes in there, and that they are involved in putting things in there in order to create a sense of ownership. I start out by having them pick just a few books of their own choosing to keep in the book box, but usually do not do this until several days into the D5 launching process. 

5. Calm Signals and check in procedures. 
     I have an apple bell that I use for my signal. I love the fact that I do not have to say a word, just simply ring the bell and the kids (eventually) learn to automatically begin cleaning up and rejoining me on the rug. In fact, they get so attuned to the sound of the bell, that if I ever accidentally bump it or knock it over at another part of the day, they all immediately look up as to see if they should clean up! :-)
     I use a check in form, similar to the one the Sisters use. I keep track of the students' choices each day. This allows me to see if someone is choosing the same thing over and over, or avoiding one of the choices all together. 

6. Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors. 
     Modeling the correct and incorrect ways of doing something is super powerful! I had never though of doing such a thing before reading the Daily 5. However, it truly does help! Plus the kids love being the model! I love how it gives those special little lovelies (you know who I mean!) the chance to be the center of attention, but also has them practicing the correct way as well!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

D5 Chapter 2

1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day? Are you going to be able to stay out of their way?
Trust is definitely built at the beginning of the year in my room. It is not an automatic thing, but rather a two way street. It is my job to guide my students' actions and teach them the basic expectations, and it is also my students' responsibility to take this trust seriously and show me that I can continue to release more and more to them. Daily 5 has really allowed me to work on releasing responsibility and trust to my students, even in kindergarten!

2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room?
I do have the schedule posted in my room, and the kids often refer to it. In fact, if I ever forget to change it, one of the first kids in the door will be sure to remind me! I do often go over the schedule in the morning, but can't say that I always do. The schedule usually is fairly set, however I do try to give the students choice within the schedule when possible and appropriate. Daily 5 is the part of the day where they have the most choice.

3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?
As I mentioned in my previous post, we make a class set of promises to each other rather than a list of rules to be followed. I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year building community and helping the students learn how important it is that we all work together. I have very high expectations for my students, and do everything I can to foster an environment where they can meet those expectations. The students are able to completely internalize this community feeling, and it helps them to hold each other accountable because it is truly important to them all.
4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?
I feel this is a little bit easier in kindergarten than in older grades because the majority of kindergartners inherently want to please their teacher! However, instilling ownership in their learning is still important! I really make a big deal about how important school is, and how much FUN learning is! In my experience, most kinder kids are so excited about learning how to read and write that they do not usually need a ton of motivation! Granted, this is not always the case with every kid! One thing I try to always do is to explain why we are doing something. I want the kids to know that we are doing something in order to learn, or become better readers, etc. and not simply doing it 'because my teacher told me to'!

5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals?
Since I have done Daily 5 for five years now, I will give a little advice here. I build the stamina pretty much exactly how they say to in the book. In kindergarten, they may only make it 30 seconds the first day, but with continued practice, they can have just as much stamina as 1st or 2nd graders! I do time them, but not usually with a timer because I don't want it to feel stressful and I want them focusing on the reading and not the timer. Plus, I don't want the timer beeping when I start and stop it! I just look at the clock and keep track that way. I also use a graph and we keep track of our stamina each day. This is a big motivator for the kids, and a great visual reminder as well! I know there are lots of graphs out there (just Google 'Daily 5 Stamina graphs'). I personally only use one graph, rather than one for each of the Dailies.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

D5 Chapter 1

I am so excited about participating in a Kindergarten Daily 5 book study! I love Daily 5!!

While I have done Daily 5 in kindergarten for 3 years, and kindergarten is where I first started Daily 5, it has been several years since I have taught K. This year I will be moving back to kindergarten after teaching 1st and 2nd for the past few years and I am so excited. This study will be a great refresher! I will actually be teaching part time kindergarten. Instead of the traditional half day K, my school does part time. So I will be teaching 2 full days and a half day. I have only ever taught full day, so I'm not 100% sure how half time will be, but I am so super excited about the opportunity because it will allow me to stay home part time with my new baby girl!

  • How do I teach new behaviors and expectations?

     We all know how important teaching new behaviors is, especially in kindergarten! While kids in other grades typically come to us knowing at least a few basic school behaviors, my kindergartners often have little to no prior school experience, and at a minimum are new to our school. Therefore I really limit my expectations and start from scratch. Even something as basic as lining up to go somewhere can be a production! I like to think that I've always been pretty good at the whole model, practice, repeat thing and I feel I'm pretty explicit when teaching new routines. The Daily 5 has definitely changed how I introduce any new behavior though! 

  • How do I monitor student behavior?

     The main tangible element of my classroom management is a Clip Chart. I have used it for a couple years now and just love it! In addition to this, instead of coming up with a set of class rules at the beginning of the year, we make a list of promises to each other. I read a story about someone who made a promise and then didn't keep it. I usually read one of these books:

Then we have a discussion about how it feels when someone makes a promise and then doesn't keep it. We then make a list of promises... for example instead of making a rule that says 'Do not hit', we will write 'We promise to be kind.'

  • What do I do when a student is not exhibiting a desired behavior? 
     The beauty of the clip chart and promises, is that it really gives the kids ownership over their own behaviors. With the clip chart they can really see how the actions they choose impact where their clip is on the chart. The promises are also powerful, because we discuss how we are making promises to each other and to ourselves. The kids will even get upset when someone breaks a promise!

  • Whose classroom is it?
     I really do try to instill in the kids that this is "our" classroom. However, I do have to have some control over the space. I have to teach the kids where things are kept, and try to instill in them pride in ownership for the different spaces so that they will keep things organized because they want them that way, not simply because the teacher says to. I remember reading somewhere that whoever has the stapler and tape dispenser, has the control! I now have several staplers and a tape dispenser that the kids have free access to!

  • Locus of control?
     I do discuss this with my students quite a bit. I really have gotten away from giving prizes, stickers, treats etc. I really strive to give intrinsic awards, and think in the younger grades that is a little easier to do. Little kids (for the most part) are thrilled just to please their teacher, and are devastated to disappoint them and I try to play into that as much as possible and help them learn that they are in control of themselves and no one else!

  • Where are supplies stored?
     I feel that my classroom is very organized. One of those 'a place for everything...' spaces. I spend a lot of time organizing materials so that my students have access to what they need. They know where things are kept, and the expectations for using those things. This frees me up from getting out supplies, sharpening pencils, getting more paper, etc. If I can give control of something to the students, then by all means I'm there!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh my goodness... well apparently I wasn't very good about keeping up with my blog this year! I really, truly had every intention of making regular blog posts! But to sum up the year, I moved to a new grade, at a new school, in a new district. My new school is working towards our IB authorization, so that was a whole lot of new stuff to learn! On top of all that, shortly after getting my new job I found out I was expecting and we bought a house and moved! So, I spent the school year getting more and more pregnant, and then went on maternity leave for the last 7 weeks of the school year. Phew! Makes me tired just typing it all! In fact I'm currently typing with my beautiful little on sound asleep on my shoulder! *LOVE*

Well, next year is bringing even more changes! I will be going back part time, and will be teaching part time kindergarten! I am so super excited! Instead of the traditional half day kinder, my school does half time. So, I will be teaching 2 1/2 days a week. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity! I'm not sure I could have gone back full time right away and put my precious baby in daycare all week long. :-( Definitely counting my blessings! 

So, I really do have every intention to keep up on this blog now! Starting with participating in the kindergarten Daily 5 book study!
Live Love Laugh