Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why not Daily 5?

Yesterday, I mentioned in my post that I don't do Daily 5 in my classroom.  I also mentioned that I would explain why later on... so what better time to explain than now?!?  Two years ago I went to a Daily 5 training, got the book, & FELL IN LOVE!  It was my first year teaching as a mommy & let me just say not having to plan literacy centers was absolutely amazing!  My kids loved Daily 5, I loved Daily 5!

Today, I'm linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday to share my Daily 5 experience!

So now you're probably wondering why am I no longer doing Daily 5?!? What happened?!  Well the following summer, I went to a another training where my views on Daily 5 were completely transformed.  I realized that through the 5 components of Daily 5, my kids weren't really getting what they need.  I was not really reinforcing the strategies & skills I should have been in literacy centers by using Daily 5.

Since I took this training at the beginning of the summer, I had all summer to really let it soak in & figure out how I was going to make my centers better for my students.  How was I going to reinforce the strategies I'm teaching?  How am I going to make sure that my kids are doing a better job of retaining the information they are learning?  How am I going to do all of this and still make it fun for my kids?

Well... after collaborating with Diana, one of my best friends and teammates, my centers now look like this:

Students will still do writing, independent reading (read to self), buddy reading (read to someone), spelling (word work), and listen to reading.... SOMETIMES!  Never will they have all of these in one week.  In addition to these I have added word study, seat work, art, book study, science, and social studies.  Wait .. Let me stop for a minute... I do not have all of these centers every week either.  I rotate through different ones based on what my kids needs are.  So here is a model of the two-ish week rotation that I do.
There are 6 different centers, 3 rotations a day.  The six stations include buddy reading, word study, art, seat work, science, and work on writing.   I am realizing as I am looking at this that they are not actually properly placed like normal.  Normally, students would go to each center every two days.  We would use this rotation for about 2 weeks.  So what do I put in the centers?

Buddy Reading may be simply reading to another -- Sometimes though, I put in activities where they read a
story together & determine the main idea, infer, predict, etc.  It can be as structured or unstructured as I would like based upon the week.

Art is usually tied to another subject ... writing, social studies, science, phonics, &.... sometimes even math.  I love all the cutesy stuff shared on other blogs... my problem though is I don't have time to set aside to just do that cute little activity with the class as a whole.  So, I put it in a center & tie it to something we have been working on & voila, we have cute & productive learning going on!

Word Study is my phonics center.   This is where I place different games, sorts, & pocket chart activities for my kids to work on that reinforce our phonics strategies that I have taught. 

Seat Work may be some activity or assignment that I need the kids to do, but haven't had time for them to complete in the day.  It also becomes a time for unfinished work if they have any. 

Science ... well is science.  Depending on what we are learning about at the time, I may put in a little exploration lab, observations, science journal activity, sort, or assignment that will reinforce their learning here. Sometimes it may be two or all three of these at th same time in the center, depending on how lengthy each different activity is.

Work on Writing is another place that I can structure their writing or let them just go free!  More times than not, I let them write about whatever they want.  They can write books, in our class journals, create scripts, cartoons, letters, recipes, lists... really whatever they want!

Each day I rotate the numbers and students know where to go!  Each center rotation is between 15-20 minutes (for my 2nd grade babies) and they will end up going to each center 3-5 times (depending on holidays, assemblies, etc) before I switch out centers again.  As you can see I still have some parts of the D5 in my rotation, but it is not just D5 & my kids are still getting the reinforcement of strategies that they need!  Last year was my first year to do it this way & it went wonderfully!  Planning for centers wasn't too bad, especially because I wasn't switching them every. single. week.  I always make sure to put enough options & extensions in each center so that if they get done with the first they have other options.  Doing centers this way has also allowed for me to differentiate easier than in the past.  Last year my kids L-O-V-E-D centers, probably more than any other year. 

While the planning time to make the centers is more than D5, I can say that my kids retained & understood material a lot better than they did in the year(s) prior.  The centers are meaningful.  My kids are still learning.  My kids are having fun.  I feel like if I'm not doing these things, well then I am not doing my job as good as I really should be doing it!  So there it is.  That is why I don't do Daily 5.  Am I saying you shouldn't? No.  Am I judging you for choosing to do it with your kids?  Absolutely not.  I am just stating that for my kids, it wasn't enough.  I struggle enough to get through everything I need to each day as is, I couldn't not use that time in a better way than D5!

I hope this helps give a little insight!
You can purchase my set of literacy center signs, just posted to TPT {here}.  These signs are saved as png files, like clipart, so you can resize to accommodate your needs!  I have also included a blank template for each of the squiggly framed sign for you to use to make your own! :)

My newest set of literacy centers is also up on TPT now & on sale through tomorrow evening! :) Here is a peek at what is inside this set of centers!  There is even a freebie in the preview from TPT! :) 

Happy Tuesday! :)  P.S. Don't forget to enter the amazing 100 Followers Giveaway going on NOW! :) 


  1. Hello, friend! I follow you on Instagram and decided to venture out of that little world and visit the bloggy world :)

    I love your post. I don't do the Daily 5 fully either. I do incorporate some components of it, but I also include other stations that fit my students' needs. It's nice to get some validation by reading your post.:)

    Your Back to School packet looks amazing!

    ♡ Lori

    ♥ Owl in a Vowel Tree Blog ♥

    ✎ Owl in a Vowel Tree TPT ✎

    1. Thank you so much for coming and finding my blog, Lori! I'm glad to know I'm not alone!! As much as I've seen people posting things about Daily 5 lately, I was afraid that I was going to get strange and crazy looks! haha

  2. I just found you via Instagram as well. I've never done Daily 5, but I don't do centers either. I did for a couple of years, but found that students were completing the work incorrectly over and over, even with reinforcement. I just felt like they were being quiet and busy, but didn't see improvement or change. If an extra adult can rotate among them while you do guided reading, that helps, but not much. So, my question is, how do you monitor their work and make sure it's being correctly completed? Especially when it's not an activity they "turn in?"

    1. Hey there, thank you for venturing out and reading my post! For most of my centers I have a recording sheet. Students turn in their recording sheet to tray "c" ("c is for centers" as I tell them ;)) I usually just quickly check these to make sure they are understanding, stamp them & put them in their mailbox! When they aren't getting it and it is just a couple of kids, I pull a small group or pull them one on one and talk about what is confusing to them. I then monitor them a little more closely the next few times they head to that center. If it is a lot of kids.... Well then I just do a full on reteach, because obviously I missed something! Usually we have covered whatever it is that I put in centers for a week or two (sometimes even longer) before I throw it into a center. For the kids that continue to struggle, you can always do a mini phonics lesson (or whatever it is that they are still struggling with) prior to the guided reading lesson for their group. I hope this answered your question!!!! :)

  3. I read the D5 book at the beginning of last summer and tried to implement it in my room last year also. I didn't like the idea of them choosing and not having a set rotation where they visit each center. I, like you, still incorporate R2 self, R2 someone, word work, and work on writing!

    Oh, and I LOVE your idea about buddy reading! Crossing my fingers I can remember to do this later in the year!

    For the Love of First Grade

    1. Girl, you don't know how relieved I am to know I am NOT alone!! I was seriously praying I didn't get a bunch of you are CRAZY comments about this one!! :) haha

  4. What a great post! I have incorporated aspects of the Daily 5 but don't do Listening. I am lucky to get in two rotations each day. I provide a lot of task cards for centers based on the skills we are learning and created a checklist of "must do" activities. I really wanted meaningful activities and forced the students to complete them by making them "must do". They were just able to choose the order:) I also only let them choose Read to Someone once a week because I found that certain students would choose this everyday if I let them. I created a chart for students to keep track of that too. Whew! I could write a post on this! Thank you so much for linking up and your great ideas about how you run centers!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

    1. Thanks for checking me out, Holly! :) I usually am lucky to get in 2 rotations as well! That is why I tier the centers the way I do & they visit them so often!! It's my form of "checks & blannces" I guess you could say!! I usually have "must" do assignments too & I just monitor who has completed them & who has not through the week! One of my teaching BFFs and former co-worker were actually talking earlier & have come up with a GREAT way to manage centers... even beyond the way I do it now!! Details are coming soon, I can't wait to share!! :)

  5. Thank you for writing this post. Managing these groups have always been a struggle for me. I've been trying to find the best way to make the centers meaningful and engaging while keeping everything organized. I started reading about the Daily 5 towards the end if the summer and I don't think I'll have enough time to really figure it out so I wanted to incorporate some of the components into my group times. I'll definitely try some of your strategies.

    1. It was a HUGE struggle for me too... until this past year!! This worked like a charm for me, my groups weren't too big & I was still providing those engaging & enriching centers for my kiddos! :)

  6. How soon do you start implementing them after school starts?