Disclaimer... and credit where credit is due!

This blog is simply my thoughts, ideas, and suggestions related to the Daily Five and Cafe. I give full credit to the creators of both Daily 5 and Cafe, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, also known as The Sisters. I have attended their workshops, read their books, and subscribe to their website. Everything else, I've interpreted on my own! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh, the Pensieve...

My Pensieves from years past...
*Big sigh* I absolutely love the idea of the Pensieve. I have two beautiful ones that I made to go along with my "Camp Read-A-Lot" theme in my classroom. I've used them once or twice...

As much as I love the concept and was thrilled to hear the Gail and Joan talk about the Pensieve, it hasn't worked for me. There are plenty of people who use it faithfully and are able to plan their instruction around notes they've taken in their Pensieve. I want to be one of those people. I just need to find my medium.

This year, my plan is to use a combo approach. I'll be using my iPad to record conferences and type notes on Evernote. I'll be using the Confer app to help me put together my strategy or guided reading groups. And I'll probably carry a notebook at times, too.

I love the fact that I can access Evernote from just about anywhere... my phone, my iPad, my work computer, my home computer... If I forget to bring home my notebook, I'm still able to access information that I need.

I know there is a large group of people who already are or who are planning to use Evernote much in the same way. There is also the news of The Sisters coming out with their own app to help with note-taking. Can't wait to catch a glimpse of that!

I'd love to hear how others are recording notes as they confer with readers!
~Komos :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

We've started "Read to Self!"

So far (in our four days of school,) we've learned the 3 ways to read a book and have just begun learning about Read to Self!

On Friday, I read aloud a leveled reader (Chick's Walk from Wright Group) and demonstrated how to read the pictures. I chose this particular book because the words very closely follow what is happening in the pictures. First, I walked through the book, talking about each picture as I looked at it. I wondered about where the chick was going and commented on where he lives. After I finished the book, I asked my first graders to tell me about how I was reading the book. They talked about how I was looking at the pictures and talking about what was happening. Next, I actually read the very simple story to them, and we talked about how reading the words is a little bit different. We're actually paying attention to the print and reading the author's message. For the retelling part of the lesson, I used The Monster at the End of This Book. We had read this book already, so I walked through the book talking about what had happened on each page. We talked about how many of us can retell our favorite books since we've read them so many times!

Today (Monday,) we did a brief overview of the Daily Five before introducing Read to Self. We brainstormed why this is an important activity for us to do each and every day. Then we came up with ideas for what Miss Komos will do while everyone is reading. Finally, I guided them towards coming up with their "jobs" during Read to Self.

After we made our anchor chart, I showed them their book tubs (which I'd already filled since I haven't taught them about good fit books yet!) I placed children all around the room with their book tubs. Once everyone had a spot, I let them know I'd leave them alone so they can work on the "BIG I" of being independent workers. During the first session, they were fantastic! They lasted two minutes! So as not to let them lose momentum, I stopped them and gathered everyone back together. We briefly talked about how we did, then repeated the same process again. I let them make it to three minutes this time and celebrated their success by reading aloud the Elephant and Piggy book We Are in A Book. We were bananas over this book! :)

Tomorrow, we'll continue to review our anchor chart for Read to Self and have several practice sessions for opportunities to build our stamina!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scheduling Rounds of D5

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?
~Komos :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CAFE start-up

Well, it's about time I started sharing some Cafe ideas! Here's a lesson I've used to introduce the concept of the Cafe menu with my first graders. (Before teaching the lesson, I've collected a bunch of paper menus from various restaurants.)

After reading aloud A Crazy Day at the Critter Cafe by Barbara Odanaka, I hand out the restaurant menus and have children "read" through them. I ask them to find words they know, foods they'd like to eat, and things they'd never want to try! After they've explored for a bit, I ask them to pick something from the menu that they would order if we went to that restaurant. Naturally, items come from all parts of the menu (appetizers, main dishes, beverages, and desserts.) Children share their choices out loud, and I write them into columns on chart paper under appetizers, main dishes, beverages, and desserts. I draw attention to how everyone chose different things depending on what they wanted, needed, and/or liked.

I then reference our Cafe board (or my CAMP board, as the case may be.) We talk about how this is also a "menu" that is going to help us with our reading. I explain comprehension as a "main dish" in making sense our of what we read. It's the biggest part of our menu. Accuracy is like an appetizer, because accuracy is what we need before we can understand what we read. Making reading fluent is like the beverages many of us have chosen; it helps our reading go down smoothly (just like a big glass of water helps our dinner go down smoothly!) Lastly, Practicing Vocabulary is like dessert. It's very important in making reading more exciting!

In the next lesson, I've reviewed the concept of our menu. Then, we've talked about the restaurant menus and how everyone needed/wanted different things. We talk about how this is just like our CAMP menu; everyone needs to work on different parts of their reading.

This seemed to help my first graders grasp the concept of how we'd be using the menu throughout the year! What's your favorite way to introduce the Cafe menu?

~Komos :)

Checking In

It's almost time to get started with the Daily Five! I'm super excited to begin my 4th year of using the Daily Five with my first graders. One thing I've been thinking about lately is my method of having students check in when we begin doing rounds of D5. I've stuck with the method the Sisters originally suggested, which is a clipboard roster check-in.
I have found that this method works well for me (and my kids!) It gives me a quick glimpse of what each child is doing and also is a great visual for what they've been choosing. I do ask my kids to do Read to Self and Work on Writing every day, but they have free choice as to which order they complete them in as well as a choice of activity for the third round. When I notice that a child hasn't chosen one of the Dailies in a while (or is only choosing a certain one,) I can easily guide him/her towards making a different choice. For example, I've said something like, "JP, how about if you choose Word Work or Read to Someone for this session?" It still gives the child a choice but gives me a little piece of mind knowing he is choosing something different!

Checking in generally takes us less than 3 minutes using this method! That clean up/check in time also gives my first graders a chance to move around, chat about what they've been working on, and get their wiggles out! Once we've checked in, my first graders are ready to get back to the next session!

My sister teaches 3rd grade in another district and uses a popsicle stick method of checking in. Each child is given 5 colored popsicle sticks (one to represent each component of D5.) The students place a stick in a cup before each session to mark their choice. Her 3rd graders have been successful using this check-in method! This helps to ensure children are doing each component before repeating the activities.

I'm sure there are many, many ideas for check-ins out there! Which one do you use?

~Komos :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting the Teacher Started with Read to Someone

Through the three years I've used Daily Five in my first grade classroom, I've come to realize that it is easiest for my students to build their stamina and be able to do partner reading successfully if I wait until last to introduce it!  By this point, we've practiced and built our stamina for the other four components (Read to Self, Work on Writing, Listen to Reading, Word Work.) Children have already started choosing their Dailies during our sessions and understand why/how they need to work in a certain way. By saving Read to Someone for last, they have a much easier time of using the EEKK technique and cues for using their quietest voices. Besides deciding when to introduce Read to Someone, you'll also want to think about the what and where of it!

In my district, we have the Harcourt basal series available to us. The expectation is that we will use Harcourt in our classrooms. So... the leveled readers have become a part of our leveled tubs, the anthologies help us with Read to Someone, and the workbooks... well, let's not even get into where those ended up.
At the beginning of the year, my students all use the Harcourt anthologies as their Read to Someone text. Keeping with choice and encouraging them to learn to pick good fit books, they can use any of the five anthologies. I have 12 copies of each anthology available. Because I have moved toward a more nonfiction approach to teaching science concepts, I also encourage students to choose our hardcover Science book for Read to Someone time. Later in the year, we revisit Read To Somoeone and introduce how to read from their Book Tubs during this Daily. 

My students are free to choose where they sit with their partner. Of course, there is a lot of modeling that takes place before they are given the free choice. However, you will want to think about setting those areas where students can sit together. A favorite place in my classroom is underneath my built-in teacher desk! 

Read to Someone can be a powerful time when students can model for each other, put their strategies to authentic use, and share their thinking with friends. How do you use Read to Someone in your classroom? Tips and ideas?

~Komos :)