1. Trusting Students
2. Providing Choice
3. Nurturing Community
4. Creating a sense of urgency
5. Building Stamina
6. Staying out of the students way once routines are established.
I'll speak to each of these and how I think they did/did not work in my classroom and the changes I look forward to with the Daily 5.
Trusting Students- this has been a concept I have been working on for years. Most students are easily trusted...they are your 'people pleasers'. The students who are so eager to make you happy they end up in tears if they feel they have disappointed you. The hard part of trust comes with those students who will do ANYTHING to seek negative attention. We all have them...or sometimes a few of them. These babies have hard lives outside of school and many other factors that play into their behaviors. I've found that if I pull them aside, have a private talk with them about how proud I am of their choices (when I find the appropriate moment) and how I am counting on them to continue making good choices, it usually gives them a sense of trust no one else has ever put in them. Yes, they will test the boundaries. Yes, they will try your patience.
Providing Choice- I have never had a problem with this. Maybe its because I have a slightly different view of this principle. Some people equate providing choice with less structure. Not true. Not true at all. You can still have a VERY structured classroom while giving students choices. Some people have a problem letting go and letting kids make choices. Kids LIVE to be able to get to an age where they can make their own choices. Besides, if you have anything out you are worried about them doing or not doing, then you REALLY need to question why its out in the first place!!
Nurturing community- I have to admit, that since splitting our kids up by need, I am seeing a stronger sense of community among my kids. I believe it is because of the mix of kids. The 'higher' kids (ones that have fluency, phonics, comprehension and are working on advanced questioning and expanding vocabulary) tend to get very competitive....they are the people pleasers by nature and when they are in a classroom together, they tend to want to 'outdo' each other. We have watched this group have HUGE gains off the pure competitive nature in their learning. Meanwhile, my sweet 'n' lows finally feel safe. They come out of their shell and are not afraid to answer questions, participate in class, have a wrong answer, celebrate a right answer because little Tommy Edison is no longer in competition with them and they are all in the same boat to speak! Their growth also amazed us last year. I look forward to even more when implementing the Daily 5!
Creating a sense of urgency- I totally agree with the sisters on this one. When students know the WHY of what they are learning, they will take ownership of that learning. Not only do I make sure my students know why they are learning something, but I try to use occasion where I show them where in life they will use this skill or concept. Why would ANYONE want to learn something if the only reason behind it is " It may be on the STAAR test next year??" Real world learning and application is the key! DON'T even get me started on the testing!! Ugh!
Building Stamina- This is the most practical approach I have ever seen! I had a professor in college who's favorite saying was " You teach them where you find them!".....taking them from where they are in their stamina and workng daily on building it up is just common sense!!!
Staying out of their way when routines are in place-- again, DUH! The whole point of this management system is to foster independent learning (not playing, not busy work) so you are freed up to conference, small group or assess students. It makes you useful.....as something other than referee!!!
Here's my CAFE menu incase anyone is interested: