We're five weeks into our year together. When we return on Monday, it's October 3rd. Slowly, ever so slowly... we're learning routines, building stamina, and setting the stage for what the rest of our year will entail. My thoughts are jumbled this morning, but I think some of them are worth sharing!
I've trained my first graders to know we're finished with a session when I shake my little "egg shaker." It's a very quiet, unobtrusive sound... to match what our room sounds like during our sessions. I would love to have chimes but haven't found an affordable set yet. Plus, after 3 years, I'm used to the sound of the egg shaker! ;)
After many conversations and lots of reading on Twitter, I'm easing up on the noise level during our Daily 5 time. As a teacher, I'm not usually a stickler for a silent classroom. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy the excited buzz of voices. However, during Daily 5 time, I've made it more or less a silent time in our room. What does this do for collaboration? Well, it more or less eliminates it. Other than Read to Someone and Listen to Reading time, my first graders work alone. How does this foster engagement and working with others? It doesn't. So I'm easing up. If children are quietly chatting about what they're writing or reading, who am I to "hush" those conversations? If children want to work with a partner while they make their focus words out of magnetic letters, why not? I'm hoping this will continue to be a calm, quiet(er) part of our day but am trying to build my stamina for allowing a bit more noise! (Truth be told, I'm sure my need for silence goes back to the days of crazy loud centers while I was trying to meet with guided reading groups!!)
We've already established Read to Self, Work on Writing, and now, Listen to Reading, as choices during our Daily 5 sessions. This coming week, we'll begin building stamina for Word Work. Because children have already pre-learned how to use many/most of the Word Work materials, I am guessing it won't take long to establish the necessary stamina to add it to our daily choices. Time will tell!
If all goes well, Read to Someone will be the last one introduced the following week. This puts us right on track for my goal of having Daily 5 up and running by the end of October. However, should my first graders start losing stamina or need to slow it down again, by all means, I will honor their needs! My ultimate goal is not to throw everything at them and have to revisit/relearn later. Ultimately, I want these behaviors to stick throughout the year. Slow and steady is what will finish our "race." :)