I am a kindergarten teacher who loves my job! I teach in a Catholic School and enjoy using religion to teach values to my students. I truly believe in hands-on learning and believe that students learn and retain knowledge best when they take an active role in their education. Drawing, writing, cutting, gluing, anything that makes learning real is what I enjoy doing more than anything!
My "Daily 5" book came yesterday, wrapped in its brown mailing wrapper, undisturbed as I went about my "To Do" cleaning activities throughout the day. This morning I woke up, put on my swim suit and went to the pool at 6:00 a.m. to participate in a water aerobics class. The air temperature was 57 degrees and the pool was 72 degrees! Needless to say, it took a lot of moving around to stay warm. When I returned home, I took a warm shower, dressed, and went out to the kitchen to eat breakfast. While eating and checking email, my sweet husband brought me my favorite chai latte! Ahh...... I love the summer! As I walked past my desk, I noticed the mailing wrapper lying there undisturbed and I thought.... "Okay, I'll open it after I have done a little gardening!" So I walked over to the school garden, inspected the plants, but it looked fine and didn't really need to be weeded and watered. So then I walked back home and checked out my own flower gardens and they didn't really need me either! So when I walked back inside, I spied the brown mailing wrapper once again and thought "What the heck, I am going to open the package, go out to the patio, and read chapter 1!
Wow, wow, and more wows! I cannot tell you how excited I am to read this book and adapt it to my own classroom! As I said previously, our third grade piloted the Daily 5 and they loved it! We in kindergarten said, "It just sounds like what we are doing now with our literacy centers. We have our students rotate from group to group. Our students are staying busy and we pull children to us for small group interaction. How is the Daily 5 different?" Well, after reading both the Introduction and Chapter 1, I think I am going to find quite a bit of differences!
Gail and Joan stress the importance of routine and structure the first week of school. I feel good saying that I start routine and structure the first week of school, too. I feel this is so important to help my students feel safe and comfortable in a new environment. I also start learning centers the first week of school. Teaching the structure of the Daily 5 encourages independence early in the school year which makes learning to read and write begin early as well.
One area of the Introduction and Chapter 1 that keeps circling around in my head is the relaxed feeling they both have at the end of the day. I know that I am guilty of spending all my time preparing for centers the next week. After my cleaning is done on the weekend, I spend the rest of my free time planning literacy center rotations. I fret over which kids should work together where, which children will feel challenged by the centers, and which ones will be bored by them.
During center time, my expectation is that each child should be working independently in their assigned center. If they have questions, they are to ask each other and not bother me as I work with small groups. But it takes MONTHS for this independence to set in and I spend much of the first of the year jumping up from my small groups to settle problems, find lost pieces, and encourage kids to keep working. The idea of allowing my students to make their own decisions and cooperatively encourage and work together sounds to me like Nirvana! :)
Some questions I have: How many kindergarten kids come to school able to look at or read books for more than 3 or 4 minutes? How many kindergarten kids come to school able to write or even draw pictures for more than 3 or 4 minutes? How many kindergarten kids come to school able to operate a CD player or headphones? (Maybe in this digital age, it is more than I think, though!) How many kindergarten kids come to school able to do Word work or know how to use the Word Wall? Mary from Sharing Kindergarten has some wonderful answers to these questions and I plan to spend time taking notes from her thoughts as to how to integrate these activities into a 5 year old's brain pattens early in the year!
I am excited to continue studying the Daily 5 and would love to hear thoughts from anyone who has used the program. Click the picture above to read Tammy, from Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten's blog post about Chapter 1. Caitlyn Clabby from Kindergarten Smiles will be hosting Chapter Two. Tammy is hosting a linky party for anyone who would like to link up with reflections!
I also am participating in a book study for "In Words and In Pictures" and when that arrives in its brown mailing wrapper, I will begin reading that as well!