When should I do sessions of the Daily Five? How many sessions should we do each day? What if I only have a 30 minute block of time?
I ask myself these questions often. Three years ago when I first started using the Daily Five in my classroom, I fumbled my way through it. I knew it would be a year of trial and error, but I jumped in anyway! Things actually went much better than I anticipated! That year, I had my language arts block in the afternoon (specials in the morning.) My thought was... if this Daily Five thing can work in the afternoon with my first graders, I will be sold. And here I am. :)
One way I've scheduled sessions is to do them back-to-back-to-back during my Language Arts block. Typically, sessions last from 20-30 minutes in my classroom. On a given day, we average 3 sessions.
Did I mention this? In my room, kids MUST do Read to Self daily. I strongly encourage Work on Writing daily as well. The other one is their choice, and of course, they can do the dailies in any order.
Back to the topic! Between sessions, we all clean up and meet back in our Book Nook. We take about 2-3 minutes to check in, and we're back to work. We repeat this process before each session.
My second year with the Daily Five, I had a very choppy schedule. The longest block I had at any point in the day was 45 minutes. Yes, I panicked! The good news, however, is that I LOVED that schedule! Because of the set-up of the Daily Five, you can plug sessions into these smaller blocks of time. During that 45 minutes, we would do two sessions. Then during one of the smaller blocks, we'd fit in 1 or 2 more sessions.
This past year, my schedule was more like the first year. I had a large chunk of time and was able to put in back-to-back-to-back sessions. I almost like the choppy schedule better! It gave everyone a break and was especially helpful in the early days when our stamina was still growing at a snail's pace! It remains to be seen what I'll do this year. I do have an hour long block to work with, but a few 30 minute blocks that I can use too. I'll keep you posted! :)
Another thing I tried (and really liked) was having everyone do Read to Self at the same time, outside of the Daily Five block. It was still a choice during D5 time, but this gave them even more time to read independently. It also gave me more time for reading, meeting with small groups, and conferring with individuals. I plan to do that again! This will create more of a Reader's Workshop atmosphere and will be a time when I confer with individuals about their reading.
What do YOU prefer?