Thursday, June 14, 2012

D5: Chapter One

As I mentioned before I am switching from 4th to 1st grade. I am coming from a team that did EVERYTHING together and we were all willing to be flexible (even if we didn't get our way). Now I am headed to a team that is all over the place. Very few things are done the same, and that leaves me making a HUGE jump in grade levels and no where to start! So I jumped on a bunch of first grade blogs and have fell in love. The Daily 5 is something as a district and building we have discussed implementing, however we just adopted Storytown and for many teachers in my building starting something new sounds exhausting!
I was so excited that there was a book study because I was having a really hard time getting away from the Hunger Games :) Just finished the first book (I know I am so behind, most people are probably done with the series). 

1. On pages 4-6, the authors present two different pictures of their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on your own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block? Does it look more like the first or second scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it?

In my 4th grade room I would say this last year I began to fall more in the middle. My first 2 years I just jumped on the bandwagon of my colleagues, but it was A LOT of work. All the grading! I am actually guilty of hiding some of the papers at the bottom of the recycle bin because I knew it did not accurately show me what they were capable of. The busy work was adding up and the kids did not enjoy it. So this last year I began allowing more independent read time and reading with partners. It saved a lot of trees and my time!
On the other hand I hadn't established what reading independently or with partners truly looked like so I often found students off task still. I made the rule you can't interrupt my groups unless your dying and so very rarely did I get interrupted, but it was if that meant I didn't exist. Often they would just carry on a conversation with a friend because they knew I didn't want to interrupt my group of readers.

2. The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers? 

Right now my students still have a lot of busy work. As I mentioned earlier I began working towards having more reading time, but often if I needed to meet with students it was back to the practice books or spelling books. Most of the time I didn't even have time to grade it all! With writing I have always made a point to conference with my students. I don't get to do it as often as I would like but I always felt that was key to helping them be successful writers. Once I figured out who were some of my strong writers/helpers I started teaming them up with struggling writers. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it was a flop, but it is also important that writers learn to critique others.

3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?

The Daily 5 has structure to their independent activities, it doesn't assume students already know how to behave. It requires more community building in the beginning, something I have made longer and longer each year I have taught. I have found the more time spent community building the better the year goes. The Daily 5 also allows for a LOT more reading time!

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