Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Daily 5, Second Edition, Some Seriously Surprising Discoveries

I was so excited to see a new edition of the book, The Daily 5, released earlier this year.  I've been using The Daily 5 with my first graders for a while now and I love the way it focuses on teaching independence, but I've had to leave some aspects of it by the wayside (depending on the group of students). 
 I was interested to read if the authors, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, address any of the issues that I've personally had with The Daily 5.  But mostly, I couldn't wait to read the brand new chapter about The Math Daily 3.  
The Daily 5 Second Edition touches on many of the questions I've had over the years.  It also addresses questions I didn't even know I had.  As I read this book, I came across some new and surprising ideas that I'm interested to try in class and some that I may save for another day.

The Daily 5 No Longer Means Five Rounds Everyday.
Instead of trying to fit in five rounds of Daily 5 activities (Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, and Word Work) everyday, the authors now suggest two or three rounds each day.  Two rounds for older students with more stamina.  Three rounds for younger students.
I was so happy when I read about this shift.  Last year, I actually changed to three rounds in my class, but was feeling a tad bit guilty for deviating from the five rounds each day.  Now . . . one less thing to feel guilty about.

 If You're Doing The Daily 5, You'll Want to Learn About the CAFE System.
The CAFE System is what the authors of The Daily 5 use to shape their instructional content, to monitor their students, and to drive their assessments.
CAFE stands for (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary).
When the first edition of The Daily 5 was released, The CAFE Book had not been published.  In the second edition of The Daily 5, the authors spend a good deal of time explaining how to integrate The CAFE Stem into The Daily 5.  Very helpful.

With The Daily 5, If You Do Not Have a Gathering Space, 
Now Is the Time to Create One.
The authors recommend all whole group instruction take place at a gathering spot on the floor to help with behavior management through proximity.  It also allows students more opportunities to share with each other and for the teacher to more easily listen in and join conversations.
I agree with this setup and already do a good deal of instruction at my gathering area.  After reading all the benefits, I'll probably do even more of my instruction at our gathering spot.  

Picture from thedailycafe.com.

The Daily 5 Could Mean an Unconventional Classroom Setup.
The authors suggest having only half as many tables/desks and chairs as you have students.  They also recommend having low tables, counters for standing, a couch, area rugs, a loft, and a few single seats around the room.  This setup allows for a great deal of flexibility for students as they choose their spots in which to work.
I had to do a double take when I read only half as many tables/desks and chairs as students.  I tried to imagine how I could possibly make this setup work in my class, everyday, all day.  I just can't quite wrap my head around this idea.  I guess I need to see it in action before making the leap.  I'll start with baby steps and check if there is any furniture in my classroom that can be removed to create a more open space.

Picture from thedailycafe.com

Maybe, Just Maybe, Not All Students 
"Work the Whole Time."
The second edition of The Daily 5 devotes a considerable amount of time to barometer children (those kids who consistently break stamina first).
In the first edition, teachers had to stop the whole group if a student breaks stamina (stops doing what he/she is supposed to be doing).  This is still the case in the second edition up until a point.
After teaching the students how to be independent and doing plenty of practice, some students still may not follow procedures (I know . . . SHOCKING!).  The authors realize stopping the whole group would not be in the best interest of the class, so they offer levels of support.
Some of the levels of support include short bursts of alternative activities and movement, self timers, thoughtful work spaces, recess practice, and increased frequency of teacher check in.
The authors write about giving the barometer children tools such as manipulatives (ex. small bag of legos), alternative reading materials, and a timer.  Students can work and then give themselves a break using these tools, so that they do not disrupt the rest of the students.
I'm interested in trying some of these supports with my students this year.  I have my fingers crossed that these supports will take care of my barometers.

A Good Fit Book Remains a Major Hurdle
As the authors discuss teaching students how to pick a good fit book, they stay true to their IPICK acronym from the first edition of The Daily 5:
I: select a book and look it over, inside and out.
Purpose:  Why might I read it?
Interest:  Does it interest me?
Comprehend:  Do I understand what I am reading?
Know:  Do I know most of the words?
However the bar set for the C and the K (comprehend and know) is very high at 99% accuracy. 
With my young readers, finding books that they can read at a 99% accuracy rate and are appealing to their interests is a huge challenge.  To address this challenge the authors recommend revisiting how to pick good fit books frequently throughout the year with the whole group and with individuals. 
They do not encourage teachers to level their libraries because they think that students grow too dependent on the leveling system in your class and will not be able to pick an appropriate book out in the real world.  (hmmm . . . interesting)

The Daily 5 Mini Lessons Should Be Just What They Sound Like, MINI.
Despite the crazy evaluation rubrics most of us have to deal with, the authors of The Daily 5 emphasize the importance of keeping direct instruction brief, no more than 10 minutes at a time.  In the book they present brain research to support what teachers of young learners already know, students' attention spans have limits.  The book does a great job outlining how these mini lessons work in the context of The Daily 5.

During the Launch, Foundation Lessons Can Be Integrated. 
The launch period is extremely important for how your class runs for the rest of the year.  An ounce of prevention is a worth a pound of cure.  If you spend plenty of time teaching desired behaviors and practicing them during the first few weeks of school, The Daily 5 should run smoothly (on most days).  
The authors recommend starting the launch with Read to Self and next Work on Writing.  After that it doesn't matter what order you introduce the remaining choices.
In the past I followed this sequence.  I started with Read to Self and then two or three days later, I introduced Work on Writing.  After a couple of more days, I would bring in Read to Someone.  Next would be Word Work.  Listen to Reading was the last choice I presented.  I waited until I was ready to launch a choice before I would do any foundation lessons about that choice.
However, in the second edition, the authors recommend integrating foundation lessons from all Daily 5 choices as a way to preteach desired behaviors during the early days of the launch.  Since students are still building stamina during the first few weeks, there should be some extra time to present these foundation lessons.  That way, when you are ready to launch each choice, you can jump right into the practice sessions.

I'm sure if I read this book again tomorrow, a whole new set of discoveries would get my attention.  The Daily 5 Second Edition did not let me down.  It stays consistent to the first edition in many ways, while bringing some new and updated practices to the table.  
I know I didn't fill you in on The Math Daily 3.  That will be for another time.  I'm still thinking about how I want to implement it when we start back to school.  When I do figure out what I'm doing, I'll be sure to let you know.
Thanks for stopping by.  If you would like to read any my other Daily 5 posts, click here.


  1. Amber, your overview of Daily 5 are SO great! This is making us realize we need to read the new edition! Thanks for sharing the important key details you found!

    :) Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  2. I love love love when you post about daily 5... you honestly make it so much more digestable.... PLEASE explain the math daily 3!!! I do common core math and have been tutored by Angela Andrews... I don't know if you've heard of her.. shes brilliant... but I have the challenge/gifted math and I am always looking for ways to challenge them... thanks!!!!