Tweaking Daily 5 to Make it Work for Me... Teacher's Week - Organizing for Instruction

Hello Friends,

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and thought that I would link it to Organizing for Instruction this week on Blog Hoppin!  Also, I added an idea for how I organize my crayons. I just added this, so if you would like to read it, click HERE


 Before I begin, I want to preface this by saying that I LOVE Daily 5 and admire every teacher who can make it work just as the book explains. One of my co-teachers followed Daily 5 to the letter last year and she absolutely loved it and plans to follow it exactly again this year. I, though, love creating centers for my students and didn't want to completely eliminate them from my literacy time. And I truly love Debbie Diller's Literacy Work Stations method, so I wanted to keep parts of that, too.

So, this is how I do it.......

I begin the year by teaching the elements of Daily 5  just as the book explains. All the words of wisdom for implementation are contained within the book.  So if you haven't read it, get a copy and read it! It is excellent! We practice READ TO SELF, READ TO A PARTNER, WORD WORK, and LISTEN TO A STORY. One element that I delay is WORK ON WRITING because I feel it is important to teach this skill correctly before adding it into a rotation. I add WORK ON WRITING as a rotation later in the year.

When introducing WORD WORK, all my kiddos do the same center. We discuss center rules such as how to clean up, how to share, how to use quiet voices, what to do if you don't understand the directions, etc. After the initial rules have been explained, I set the timer for 10 minutes and my kiddos practice the center. That is all we do the first
day. The next day, they all do a different center for 10 minutes. This continues for 4 days with my kiddos doing a different center each day. The next week, I use the same centers, but introduce rotation. I set the timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, they move to a different center. We do this until every group has rotated through all 4 centers.

After my kiddos have a good idea how to rotate, it is time to introduce the Daily 5 rotation chart. My kiddos are always confused that the chart is called Daily FIVE because on my rotation chart, there are only 4 numbers.  I tell them it is because there are FIVE choices to choose from, but they only do 4 of them a day. I was confused by that myself when I was learning Daily 5! Kids have 5 choices, but do not do all them in one day!

The yellow boxes are covering up the names of my kiddos, but you can still get the idea of how it looks! I teach my kiddos that they look for the strip that is ABOVE their name. I used to just number the rotations from the top, but my kinders had trouble understanding how to drag their finger from the top down, so I added numbers in every row which seemed to help their understanding.The kid's names are attached to a black strip with Velcro. Attaching them with Velcro makes it easy for me to change names around.  My kiddos stay with the same group all week; if I make group changes, it is on Monday and they stay with this group until Thursday. Because the names are attached to the black strip, it makes it easy to move them from one rotation to another. I move the entire group from row to row every morning until they have completed every rotation. There are pros and cons to keeping kids together for every rotation. I have tried many ways to group my kids and this way works the best for me. The beauty of our profession is the fact that we are allowed to create structure that works for our group of kiddos as well as something that works for the teacher. Trial and error is a part of what we do!

When I begin rotations, I do NOT add TEACHER TIME. My kiddos must learn how to rotate correctly before I start pulling them back to me. Once I feel they are ready for TEACHER TIME, I make sure that they are working confidently and independently before I bring them back to me. The picture above shows how rotations look after every element has been introduced and practiced.

Okay...... this is how I vary the Daily 5 routine.......

My kids do FOUR Word Work centers a week. Each center is color coded; red, blue, yellow, green. When my kiddos look at their rotations for the day, they look for the apple color on their WORD WORK card. This apple shows them which Word Work tub, they are to do that day. My kiddos rotate with the same group each day. True Daily Five teachers allow their children to make their own choices, but as I said, this is where I varied the structure. When they are not doing WORD WORK, they are doing another Daily 5 element. Within each WORD WORK rotation, there are choices that the kids can do if they are an early finisher OR sometimes I just put in Word Work choices that they choose from during this rotation such as magnet letters, play dough sight words, and sight word "Boom". Regardless of what is put into each WORD WORK center, my kiddos do ONE Word Work center a day which means that they do four Word Work center weekly.  I use many of Debbie Diller's Literacy Work Station ideas in my Word Work centers.

Here are some close up views of how the strips look. You can see that each WORD WORK rotation has a different colored apple on it. If you would like a copy of these rotation strips, click HERE. Please note that I am not including the Daily 5 images by themselves. You can find the small choice cards here at KinderTastic.

The structure of this type of literacy center rotation has cut my planning time in half; maybe even more! I plan 4 centers weekly. I prepare them on Monday morning and they do not change the whole week. Sometimes I will keep one WORD WORK rotation the same from week to week. Some WORD WORK rotations match our theme and some are just fun. The beauty of this type of rotation besides freeing me up from planning so many centers is that my kiddos are still benefiting from the Daily 5 elements and developing a joy of reading in many different ways while still practicing critical kindergarten Word Work skills on a daily basis.

The WORD WORK centers might look like this:

RED - beginning sound match
BLUE - search the room/uppercase and lowercase letter match
YELLOW - roll an apple letter match
GREEN - find the letters; font search and match

 I always make sure that there is a generic activity or two within each WORD WORK tub so that early finishers have something to do before the time to rotate is up!

And just in case you are wondering what we do on Fridays........ I do whole group literacy instruction on Fridays. I may introduce new a skill, a new letter, a new reading game, a shared reading/writing experience...... I like doing this on Friday rather than on Monday because my kiddos are ready for a change on Friday and the skill that they learned on Friday can usually be found in a WORD WORK center the following week.

So.... that is how I tweaked Daily 5 to make it work for me! I am very aware that this is not the pure version of Daily 5, but I feel that my students are able to glean the benefits of this beautiful program while allowing me to feel comfortable in the process!

Click the button below to take you to Blog Hoppin to read about some amazing ideas from teachers sharing their organizational tips!

Until next time!