Friday, August 31, 2012

Launching the Daily 5

My professional goal for this year is to coach and support our 4th/5th grade language arts teacher, Stephanie,  in her goal, which is to implement a modified version of the Daily 5 (the Daily 3) with her 4th/5th grade students. 
The MJGDS teachers who read The Daily 5 this summer were enthusiastic and positive about this research-based method of structuring literacy instruction to support students in becoming independent readers and writers. 
We are off to an exciting start. Working together, we have begun identifying potential obstacles, brainstorming ways to meet those obstacles head on, and strategizing on how we will collaboratively collect data that will help us assess the impact of the Daily 3.

One thing that we have committed to doing is to document and share the process and reflections along the way. We started the "launch" this week, following the detailed process in the book.

This is also an opportunity for me to document and reflect on what it means to be a coach- how I am supporting both the teacher's process as well as being the "meta" for potential school wide implementation in the future.

This week, as Stephanie introduced the program to her students I took photos and video. I hope to be able to do this often. It is a time-consuming process, but I think it will prove worthwhile for a number of reasons. First of all, we are creating a resource for other teachers (inside and outside of our school) as well as interested parents. It also gives us the opportunity to reflect using something more concrete than our memories.

Read to Self from MJGDS Classrooms on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Reading: The Daily 5

For summer PD, teachers at our school were given a choice of books to read. Each teacher was required to read at least one of the four books, as well as to create a "project" of their choosing to show "evidence of learning." Projects will be shared during pre-planning week as part of book discussion groups. To see all of the book choices as well as more details and rationale of the summer assignment, read head of school, Jon Mitzmacher's post, "Summer Bloggin'."

My book choice was The Daily 5 by Gail Boushy and Joan Moser. I learned about The Daily 5 through my participation in the #educoach chat on Twitter. The following is my reflective blog post for the school ning, as well as my project. 

After reading the Daily 5, I decided to create a Daily 5 Pinterest Board to highlight components of the Daily 5 and how they are being implemented in classrooms. Creating the board was a good opportunity to dig deeper by reading blogs and websites of teachers who are using the Daily 5. I felt inspired as I put together a collection of ideas and resources that I felt were uniquely appealing to my sense of how I would want to implement the Daily 5. It also gave me the chance to play around with Pinterest, which was something I wanted to practice :-)
I also created this graphic showcasing the foundations of this approach to literacy. 

I think that what I most appreciate about the Daily 5 is summarized in this image. I look at those children, so engaged and content to be sharing a book. This is what I most hope to create and encourage for and in each of our students- a deep, personal love of all that is literacy- reading, writing, learning, sharing ideas, enjoying words and languages.
To my way of thinking, this also embodies the best of what we have been calling "21st century learning." We repeat the phrase "it's not about the tool, it's about the learning" in some form or another, again and again. But I think the Daily 5 provides a great breaking-off point. You could easily do the Daily 5 without using any tech tools or you could use lots of tech tools to provide great enhancements. The foundations of the Daily 5, are the same as the best examples of tech-infused learning: simply "purpose + choice = motivation."
I also loved the lesson using the different types and sizes of shoes to demonstrate "that we must pick books for our interest and purpose and ones that fit for us to be successful." I envision the ultimate classroom as an environment that nurtures each learner to reach his or her potential, inspires motivated, independent learning and allows for personalities to flourish. I believe that the overriding message of "21c learning" is that foundational literacies are more important than covering quantities of information or making sure that every student "knows" certain facts. I think that a system such as The Daily 5 holds a lot of potential for upgrading and differentiating the "literacy block" (reading, writing, spelling, vocab, etc).