Friday, July 20, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study - Chapter 4

Another late one! I guess procrastination is something that sticks with ya!

BLOG HOP HOSTS: Head on over to Jennifer's blog: First Grade Blue Skies and Laura's blog: Tattling to the Teacher for the chapter 4 study! 

First Grade Blue Skies                     

Now we are getting into the nitty-gritty of the Daily 5. YES! (Fist pump as needed.)

Chapter 4 is all about building the foundation of the D5 by establishing expectations and setting routines by developing muscle memory through a "slow and steady" approach.

As Gail and Joan state on pg. 46, "Having children read to themselves is the first step in Daily Five and is the foundation for creating independent readers and writers."

Let's get to it! 

3 Ways:
  • Read and talk about the pictures
  • Read the words
  • Retell a previously read book
Here's the breakdown for teaching - 
  • Day 1
    • Session 1: read the pictures
    • Session 2: read the words
  • Day 2: retell
  • Day 3: practice for 3 min.
  • Day 4: practice for 4 min.
  • Day 5 and beyond: continue to increase stamina and practice as needed
The biggest thing to remember is MODEL, REFLECT, PRACTICE, REFLECT, REPEAT.

Many of us teachers have modeled, reflected, and had students practice expectations for hallway, bathroom, water fountain, etc. However, after reading this chapter, I noticed that I rarely make a chart with our class's reflections! I said to myself "Duh! That makes so much sense!"

I also like how they refer to this chart during both appropriate and inappropriate modeling of behavior. 

The other aspect of the I-Chart that makes it so special for a classroom community is to have the teacher expectations on the opposite side of the student's expectations. This helps students realize that the teacher will also be responsible for doing tasks and that s/he will be busy during this time. Also, it creates ownership with both the students' and teacher and solidifies in the students' mind that the teacher is a contributing member in "my" classroom. 

It's the same principle as putting your name on the birthday chart! I remember this past year my husband said to me, "You put your name on the birthday chart? What for? So you can get more teacher gifts?" Of course he was joking and that is NOT the reason why I put my name on the chart; it is to show students that you are a "person" too. Plus the students LOVE it when it is your birthday! Maybe because of the b-day treats I bring in. . . 

Anyway . . . 

The D5 is very routine oriented from the introduction of good-fit books to the introduction of each part of the D5. Therefore the students can predict the teacher's behaviors each day and expect consistent presentation and routines across each D5 element. This in turn allows the students' brains to focus upon the actual learning of the D5 element and the desired behaviors for that element rather than having to guess what's going to happen tomorrow. This de-stresses the learning environment to allow for cognitive thinking.  
Next up. . . Chapter 5: Read to Someone and Listen to Reading!

Thank you for reading this post!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Daily Five Book Study - Chapter 3

BLOG HOP HOSTS: Check out Mrs. Freshwater's Class blog for Melissa's chapter 3 thoughts and Reading and Thinking Out Loud for Jana's chapter 3 thoughts. 

                                    Thinking Out Loud

As I continue reading through this book, it is amazing to me how brain-friendly the Daily 5 approach is to all involved; both teachers and students. The quote at the beginning of the chapter speaks volumes to this and it is so practical! Like many others involved with this blog hop, I will go section by section through chapter 3.

I'm sure I'm not the only 1st grade teacher that has carpet time. . . but the majority of our carpet time is used for me teaching and the students listening and responding. Each day in many lessons we do a "think-pair-share" but this is sparse in comparison to the lesson time.

The Daily 5 difference to me was that it is a safe and "easy" way for students' brains to get "unstuck" and enter into a new task. When I say easy, it is meant so that it is an easy transition for the brain to make as it is non-threatening and offers a place for the possibility of new learning. 
(Although I am not as fluid with my words as Gail and Joan.)

I also like how it is student-centered, which allows for ownership of the time and place while also building a collaborative community of learners.

What can I say? The idea is very creative! I like how they continued with the "shoe" example. I agree that the "Good-Fit" books need to be year-long lessons and not just a "flash in the pan". 

After reading this section, for me the most challenging part of implementing good-fit books will be when students get to pick out their own books. I have anxiety already about them rushing through the books, covers flying through the air, and tug-o-war ensuing between who gets the "cool" shark book. However, I'm trusting the theory and am going with it at this point. I have to ask myself, "How else do you think you will be successful in implementation if you don't 'let go' of these controlling habits?" It's true. . . all teachers are "control-freaks" to some degree (and I say this with love and kindness because I am probably the top 1%!)

I am anxious in a good way about the one-on-one conferences. This seems to really help teachers get to know their students' in a more personal reading context.

I think I need to start saving cereal boxes! 

Providing students with a "start-up pack" allows you to see where students "fit" with books while also making a personal connection with the students. This seems easy to implement and since you only have to prep the boxes on the 1st day, then it's easy as pie! (I may be eating my words later. . . .)

I can't tell you how long it's been since I've updated by classroom library! I feel stuck in a rut. This is the conversation I have with myself. . . 

"Why bother buying new books? They will end up bent, ripped, not in the right book bin and at some point they will get lost. Plus I won't remember what I bought anyway and don't have time to do a read aloud with all the other stuff that I have to get done!"
I'm hoping that through the Daily 5, I will have more ways to set-up my books/classroom library to make text more accessible for the students.

OK people. . . I need to get on the ball here! When I was doing my methods placement in under-grad. I had one of the best teachers. She had anchor charts attached to a loooooooong rope that went diagonal through her classroom. It is exactly what I pictured when I read this section of the book! 

Now that I teach brain-based reading instruction which focuses on a lot of mind-mapping and visual input. . . I can see even more merit to anchor charts. They are a great tool in making neural connections while also cementing learning with visual input through the use of multiple colors, varying text size, and providing illustrations/pictures of the concept or skill. 

Also, I really liked how Gail and Joan never throw away the anchor charts! It makes so much sense! I am the teacher that changes out my posters throughout the school year in order to provide new visual material that also matches the students learning growth. However, by creating the anchor charts together and by adding more and more throughout the year, students are able to create connections across multiple skills/strategies and discuss these charts with their peers.

I know on many occasions the "stuff" that is most meaningful in my classroom are the charts/posters/etc. that the students and I made either as a group or individually. I have overheard students talking to one another saying, 

Student 1:"Remember when we did this?"
Student 2: "Yeah, I do! We were reading that story about a fox."
Student 1: "That ending was really funny. It was like that other book."

Often students then begin reading the chart and talking a bit more about it. This is something that I overlooked until now!

A question that still remains is. . . why are there so many pinterest and blog posts out there offering ideas on how to store anchor charts from year to year? If the purpose of anchor charts is to cement learning in the brain and create neural connections, doesn't this type of "storage" defeat the purpose? Don't they just become another poster on the wall? 

The key idea that spoke to me about this section was the importance of "perfect practice". Without this, your Daily 5 approach is DONE! Once students see that your expectations have slipped, it is like a free-for-all! However, if they know exactly what is expected and that they can do it, then you are one step closer to successful Daily 5 implementation.

On a side note, the kinesthetic section is so smart! I like how they created the Ten Steps to Improve Muscle Memory.  

The chimes are very non-threatening but also attention-grabbing enough to prevent the brain from entering into the "fight or flight" mode. Although I do not have chimes, I do have A chime that I plan on using. At the beginning of the year, I often teach classroom expectations by using both good and bad behavior examples. The students love being "bad"! The point that I liked was that when they made their anchor chart, they included EVERYONE'S ideas . . . . even off-topic ones. How many times have you censored a students' idea when you wrote it down? Come on. . . . admit it. . . . you've done it at least once. . . this is also important to note because in order to create ownership and acceptance, you must model accepting all student's ideas/thoughts!

CHECK-IN: Anyone else think of "THE FONZ"?
Life-long learners need to be self-reflective . . . METACOGNITIVE about their learning! The thumbs-up/thumbs-sideways is a quick positive self-assessment for students and teachers. 

This ties in with the repeated practice. Students love acting "bad"! It is also a great way for them to remember exactly what to do. It seems to echo the Frayer Model a tad bit!

I  like how they use a more challenging student to model the expected behavior. Generally speaking, these students primarily learn through kinesthetic modalities. Therefore, through this modeling process, he/she is cementing expected behaviors in his/her memory! 

I would probably like to add to the I-Charts a photo of the expected behavior.

That's all from me for Chapter 3! Thanks so much for reading this! Looking forward to Chapter 4!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Healthy Eating - Eggplant?

This is a bit of a stray from my normal posts, especially for those followers out there. . . thank you for bearing with me. . .

I've been struggling with how to eat healthy in my daily life as I'm sure so many of you can relate. . . as a teacher I have time to truly enjoy eating fresh fruits and veggies in the summer and then struggle in the other three months of the year! So my husband and I went to a new local produce stand/market today and I fell in LOVE with Italian eggplant! I am an eggplant fan but sometimes they can be so big/awkward and I seem to always prepare it and cook it the same way and then sometimes I forget about it and then in the trash it goes a week later.

When I was perusing the market today looking for my regular purchases, I stumbled upon an eggplant jr. . . real name being Italian eggplant. Since it was so cute (and fresh) I decided to go for it.

So when I got home today with my aspirations of gourmet cooking that seem to surface whenever I go shopping. . . I took out some leftover spaghetti sauce, parm. cheese, and olive oil. I cut the eggplant in half (hot-dog way) and then I scored the inside, poured the olive oil, spaghetti sauce, and parm. cheese on the top of each half. Then I cooked it on 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. I let it set out for 5 minutes and then ate my wonderful lunch!  Check out the before and after pics!!!

If my memory serves me correctly, eggplant is available all year round so I am excited to have successfully cooked an eggplant AND have it be delicious! I'm hopeful in my future of healthy eating with mr. eggplant jr.!

AFTER COOKING: Ready to eat!