Reflections on Chapter 2 of the Daily 5
I have read Chapter 2 twice and skimmed it at least 2 more times - there is so much included in this chapter! Here is the link to Tammy's thoughts from Live, Love, Laugh Kindergarten and Caitlyn's thoughts from Kindergarten Smiles. They provide some cute printables for organizing your thoughts for Chapter 2.
My thoughts are included here:
Do I trust my students to make good choices? Yes! I absolutely believe that I can trust my students to make good choices. But, as with anything, we need to teach our students FIRST how to be independent and trustworthy workers. Starting structure the first week of school is key, I feel, to gaining trust between both student and teacher. The Sisters write "When students execute the skills of independence they have been taught, teachers are free to focus their time and energy on instruction." I will admit, that sometimes I feel like I am the lid on the top of a boiling pot! I spend a lot of my energy containing my STUDENT'S energy and re-directing behavior. I would love to be able to focus ALL my energy on instruction and not behavior! What teacher wouldn't?!
I totally, totally agree that choice is an important part of life. How many of us as adult enjoy being told how and what to do with our time? Not too many! Making choices helps to mold us into the people that we are. But, I admit that giving my student total choice over which centers and tasks that they will participate in each day gives me shivers! The Sisters say that we must teach our students purpose to their choice. I do understand why this is important. Last year when planning my centers, I always asked myself this question "Is this a LEARNING center or a BUSY center? In my opinion, cut and paste activities that have no meaning are just time fillers and therefore are a waste of time. In my younger days, I was a sales clerk in a retail store. The worst times for me were the slow times when I was straightening shelves or cleaning up the register. I was filling my time until my shift was over. I have to feel that when our students are told to do activities that have no purpose or meaning to them, they must feel that their time is being wasted, too. As we all know, when our students are bored, all sorts of behavior challenges occur! When our students become active participants in their learning, behavior challenges decrease and the learning increases!
Yes, yes, yes - classroom community is so, so, so important! Feeling safe in your environment, knowing the rules, and being able to share knowledge and experiences is an essential part of a classroom of learners. The Sisters say that we must hold our students accountable for their learning. Hmmmm......... this is an interesting statement and one that I want to explore further.
SENSE OF URGENCY
I agree that our students need to know why they are being asked to complete a task. Once kids understand why it is important that they do something, they take ownership of the activity and feel the sense of urgency to complete it because it is important to their learning. Again, busy work just does not give our kids a good reason to complete a task.
This answers my earlier question: Can kindergarten children sustain reading to self or others for more than 5 minutes? The answer to this question is "Yes, but it cannot be accomplished immediately." Kindergarten kids need to build their stamina for sustained reading. The Sisters say that once students build up their stamina to remain on-task, we as teachers, are free to teach small groups. So, I think what this means is to do what I have always done at the beginning of the year: Start the year teaching s-l-o-w-l-y and build on each step daily!
STAY OUT OF THE WAY or INDEPENDENCE
This section was very, very interesting to me because I am guilty of this and do not know if I can change my ways here......
The Sisters write that when they started the Daily 5 they walked around the room praising each child for how well they were doing and reinforcing the good work that they were accomplishing. Then a few days later when they stopped giving immediate reinforcement, behavior fell apart. Their students didn't know what to do without constant reinforcement. This made the teachers lose that precious time needed to teach small groups because they were reteaching independence. So now, they say, they give their students the tools to accomplish their independence and then stay out of their way. I am not sure if I can take the leap of "no praise", but I do understand what they are saying. I have students coming to me all year showing me their paper and asking me what I think about it. And they OFTEN bring me their work during small group time despite the fact that my rule is to wait until I am not teaching small group. I guess I programmed them to expect reinforcement from me......again, this is something for me to explore and think about this summer........
Unfortunately, I LOVE, LOVE to give out stickers and stars for good work and behavior! And I LOVE, LOVE to tell my kiddos what darling workers they are or to ay things like "I like what I see, Honeybee!"
So I can't wait to read Chapter 3 which is about how to develop this independence! :) And then I will decide how to continue stickers and praise without programming my kids to expect them!