When I first heard about the Daily 5, I have to admit I scoffed a little. Oh? Your kids just read for 20 minutes? Yeah, okay, but I know I’d have kids who wouldn’t be able to do that.
Then I kept hearing the word stamina. Over and over again.
And I realized, when I read the book, that the Sisters don’t expect kids to just be able to do it automatically. Instead, they teach it- just like we teach other skills and procedures- and then help the kids gradually build their stamina, from a couple of minutes up to many.
They describe a Daily 5 time in the classroom in this way:
”Reading is so important, they can’t and won’t let anything get in the way.”
And this is how I feel about that:
To get there, the Sisters line up 10 steps, which I tried to break down a little. (I highly encourage you to get the book and read about them in detail!)
1. Identify what is to be taught.
We do I Can statements in my school for this same reason.
2. Set a purpose and create a sense of urgency.
If kids don’t see the point, they won’t be invested… just like us.
3. Record desired behaviors on an I-chart.
We’ve all made charts with our kids, but the I-chart is especially powerful because kids see what the teacher will be doing, too.
4. Model most-desirable behaviors.
When the kids go from listening and looking at a chart to actually seeing them, and actually doing them, is powerful.
5. Model least-desirable behaviors, then most-desirable behaviors again.
Let your class clown be a class clown, and make the others laugh- and then praise them for doing such a wonderful job of doing it right. It’s also a great way to avoid the “But I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to ___…”
6. Place students around the room.
”Is this a place where I and others can be successful?” is something that is so helpful not just in Daily 5, but all day. We have to teach our students to take responsibility for their choices and reflect on them.
7. Practice and build stamina.
How do you get better at anything? You practice. And you give it time.
8. Stay out of the way.
This is so hard. The hardest part of the Daily 5, I think. You have to let the kids practice without stepping in. You can’t circulate, you can’t give reminders, because you’re letting them learn to depend on you. Instead, we have to teach them to reflect and self-manage. And isn’t that what we all want?
9. Use a quiet signal to bring students back to the gathering place.
Give them the chance to get up, move, and stretch a little- but don’t jar them out of their reading worlds. I secretly love seeing a kid trying to finish that one sentence or that one page before putting away their book box- because it’s a sign that they are into their book. Quietly, gently transitioning keeps the mood just right for focusing on a mini-lesson!
10. Conduct a group check-in.
Again, we can’t always be the one telling the students whether they did well or poorly. We have to teach them to make that call for themselves and internalize their own power.
That’s really what these steps to independence are- they’re training kids to believe their own power, and to build a growth mindset.
Kids can grow in any way they want if they believe it and work for it- and the Daily 5 helps them see that opportunity for growth in themselves.
I wrote in our chapter two post about how the steps to independence really made a difference for one of my impulsive, unusually active students.
In chapter 3, they gave us a word for those kids- “barometer kids”- the ones who run out of stamina first and give you an idea of when the rest of the class will struggle.
I am a firm believer that these steps to independence will make the difference for your kids- especially your barometer kids- for any behavior you want to teach.
They really are the reason the Daily 5 works:
“[In] the Daily 5, we let the students who are present in front of us guide our teaching, based on their experience, stamina, needs, and behaviors.”
Amen, Sisters. Amen.
This chapter’s book study is being hosted by my good friend Whitney at The CraZy Schoolteacher- pop on over to see others’ takeaways!
Thanks for reading! I am LOVING this book study with Primary Inspired!