For years, teachers have used the strategies outlined in The Daily 5 to develop strong independent routines during their literacy blocks. Read to Self, Work on Writing, Word Work, Listen to Reading and Read to Someone, have become staples in many classes across North America. The foundation created by building these strong independent routines, enable teachers to create rich literacy programs that provide students with authentic opportunities for applying and consolidating the learning that takes place through small group or guided instruction.
In the last week, I have had the opportunity to read through the New Daily 5. While the core elements of literacy remain the same, the authors have added more flexibility and depth to the familiar five tasks.
When I first started working with the Daily 5, I wondered how I could intentionally connect these strong independent routines to the learning that was happening during Guided Reading and Writing Conference sessions. That was when I built AWARD Time (Applying Reading And Writing Time). Through AWARD Time, teachers are able to purposefully and intentionally connect the work that students are doing independently through the Daily 5 activities, to the learning that is taking place in small group guided sessions. With this model, the Daily 5 tasks become a part of a learning cycle that allows teachers to assess student’s learning, and respond immediately to the needs of their learners. With AWARD Time, students transition seamlessly from independent learning tasks, to guided learning times and back again. AWARD Time, builds in opportunities for students to apply and consolidate their learning, as well as providing purpose and accountability through their independent learning tasks.
AWARD Time is based on two cycles of learning; the first, a Reading Cycle. This cycle provides opportunities for teachers to intentionally connect independent tasks such as Independent Reading and Reading Response to Guided Reading. This allows students to immediately apply and extend the skills that they are learning through Guided Reading to their Reading Responses and Independent Reading. The “Reading Cycle” is complete, when the students return to Guided Reading, and the teacher is able to assess the student’s Independent Reading and the learning that has taken place. Teachers can then use this in order to drive the next cycle of learning through through Guided Reading.
The second cycle is a Writing Cycle. Through this cycle of learning, teachers are able to use Writing Conferences as a way of monitoring students writing, and provide timely descriptive feedback that students can use to set individual writing goals. This cycle intentionally connects Independent Writing to Writing Conference times as well as Peer Sharing and Word Work. This way, students can share their work and receive timely feedback from their peers, as well as always having an authentic audience and purpose for their writing. Building Word Work into this cycle enables students to build word skills based on the words they are actually using in their daily writing.
Finally, through 100 MINUTES, teachers are able to see ways that these independent tasks could fit into an complete balance literacy block; finding times for whole group instruction in reading and writing as well as authentic applications of technology in the classroom. Add in higher order thinking, accountable talk and opportunities for student choice and inspiration, and students are certain to be engaged with rich learning throughout the entire literacy block.
As I read through the “New” Daily 5, it became abundantly clear that these strong independent routines provide the solid foundation for 100 Minutes. 100 MINUTES is the next logical step in order to connect all learning activities together in the most effective and meaningful way possible.