Friday, July 17, 2015

Daily 5 Foundation Lessons- Chapter 6 Book Study

When friends have asked me about the differences between the first Daily 5 book and the second edition of Daily 5, one of the big ones for me is the detail to the foundation lessons and the lesson plans of the first few days. I feel like this edition is much easier to implement!

Chapter 6 was all about the foundation lessons you teach to prepare your students for each Daily 5 task. By teaching these foundation lessons, you set your students up to be independent and successful… because it’s all about setting the expectations for your kids.

When I read them this time, it hit me.

These aren’t just foundations for Daily 5!
These are foundations for a productive, independent classroom.

Think about it- choosing a “successful spot” or choosing a good working partner lessons are really perfect for any time of day. I always try to empower my students with the responsibility of choosing a good spot when they come to sit at the carpet, or choose a partner in groups- because it asks my students to know themselves as learners and be aware of what works for them.

This is important to me because we are NOT all the same. My mom is a get-it-done-early, sit-at-a-desk, focus-on-one-thing type person. When I work, I prefer to be on the couch with a favorite show (currently Gilmore Girls) on in the background, and usually, I’ve procrastinated- but then I keep tweaking it until it’s perfect! It’s just a different style.

Some of my kids prefer to sit at a desk, where they can have their book on one side of the desk, their notebook on the other, and an easy surface on which to write.

Other kids want to be curled up on a beanbag in the weirdest positions, with a book in the air and their fingers tapping and toes wiggling the whole time.


(This was a picture of my not-quite-finished library at my old school- plenty of different areas for kids, with a few rugs and other areas around the room!)

In any case- it’s important for our kids to figure out what works for them so they can be independent readers and learners even when an adult is not telling them what to do. It also builds a culture of responsibility for our choices.

I always talk with the kids about my own friends. I have some friends I just love, but I know I could not sit next to during an important staff meeting- because we’d be distracted, talking and giggling to each other the whole time. They seem a little shocked that I might ever “misbehave”- but I want them to understand that we are ALL human, and we ALL have to make choices that help us be successful.

Ultimately, these foundation lessons are teaching our students decision-making strategies. I’ve always looked for ways to do this (one of my very first blog posts was about teaching students to use Rock, Paper, Scissors in the classroom!)- but Daily 5 does it in such a structured way.

The foundation lessons also support my very first science lesson of the year- all about our brain, and how we should constantly be working to make our brain stronger.

Teaching our students about growing in stamina and about how to work with a partner are so powerful because they give ownership over students’ own learning. I think my favorite is the “Coaching or Time?” lesson for Read to Someone. In it, students learn that they should give someone a few seconds to try a word before chiming in (or, as I tell them, “give your partner a chance to make their brain stronger”) and then offering two kinds of help. The student can choose if they would like coaching or more time to help them decode the word.

These foundation lessons support my class through every subject, but they’re also vital to making sure my students are independently focused during Daily 5 so that I don’t have to stop my small group and individual instruction!

These foundation lessons are especially important for Listen to Reading and Word Work because of the materials. The materials for Listen to Reading may be tricky to navigate at first- but teaching students how to use them but also how to get them out and put them away is huge.


(Our Listen to Reading station!)

And in Word Work? These were what my students considered to be “fun” materials- so it was especially important to teach the expectations and practice them repeatedly.

Of course, the specific, reading-based lessons are important… but my big takeaway from this chapter was just how much Daily 5 contributes to student success all day. If you want details on the foundation lessons taught, I’d definitely suggest getting the Daily 5 book!

You can also read more from my friends in the book study, starting with our host from Sarah’s First Grade Snippets! She has a great primer on all of the Daily 5 foundation lessons : )

Sarah's First Grade Snippets!

[Note: This post contains affiliate links.]


  1. I had no idea there was a second edition! I'm taking the CAFE professional development workshop, but now want to revisit Daily 5 beforehand. Great post:) Thanks!

  2. I teach 3rd grade, and the Daily Five foundation lessons have been such a huge help when taught at the beginning of the year. I feel that I need to do a better job with Read to Someone expectations. Perhaps I need to reread those lessons.
    Laughter and Consistency


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