One major concept I gained from learning more about the Daily Five is the importance of consistency. If you are going to use the Daily Five in your classroom, you'll want to consider what exactly your students will be doing for each of the dailies before you introduce it to students. Yes, I realize that seems like common sense... so let me explain.
For years, I thought I had to come up with new activities, recording sheets, centers, and games to "change things up" for my stations. Every week or so, I'd spend hours making new "things" for kids to do. Here's where the Daily Five is different. By keeping the same 5 dailies all year and by keeping the activites within those dailies the same, children are able to focus on the actual reading and writing that is taking place. Instead of tuning in to the new file folder game for contractions (which will take me at least 10 minutes to explain and practice,) students can grab their post-its and find contractions in the book they're reading. Daily Five is a time for children to practice the skills in the context of real reading and writing, using the tools they've been using all year. One of my favorite things the Sisters said at their conference was that, too often, centers become "Reading Arts and Crafts!" Focusing on the reading and writing, not the novelty of the tools, is the goal.
Does this mean you can never, ever add something new? No. It just means you don't want children to focus on the novelty of the "shiny new toy" instead of their reading and writing. For example, last year in January, I introduced blogging to my first graders. By March, they were begging me to add it as a choice for Work on Writing time. How could I say no? :)
What I intend to do with this series of posts is to walk through each component of the Daily Five and what exactly my first graders do within those components. It might be helpful if you start thinking about what you want to include as options for each component.
In the meantime, if you have specific questions, please add them to the comments! Stay tuned!