1. Do you trust your students? How do you build this trust? Are you able to trust them and allow them to be independent throughout all aspects of your day?
I do trust my students, but in many ways my wariness comes from other teachers, parents, and my principal who all feel that children don’t have an inner sense of responsibility. I started out doing this really well in January last year, but by May I was monitoring their behavior all the time. It was not the Daily 5 model for sure.
2. How much choice do you give your students throughout the day? Do you go over your daily schedule with your students or is it just 'posted' in the room?
I did not give my students choice because I wasn’t fully invested in the concept yet. I said, “it’s time for read to self!” Then they would come up to me at different intervals and ask if they could move to read to buddy (their favorite) and I would grant permission. It didn’t work and now that I am re-reading this I can see why. You must allow for the choice. I saw how important that was last year. I wonder though how that will work with Kindergarteners who need so much structure. I am going to be blog stalking to see who has done this successfully and how.
3. How are you going to create that sense of community where students will hold each other accountable?
This is one area that I am really good at (in my humble opinion). We create a code of cooperation, put it on a chart, and all sign it. I refer to it constantly throughout the day. The kids all monitor themselves and each other; it’s great.
4. Student ownership in learning? How do you instill this in every child?
I used the mantra, how do you read better? They would all say, “by reading”. They really believed this. I also talk to them about wanting to know what’s in their brains, not just one child’s. I need to push this further, but I think my passion for learning rubs off on them because they would say to each other, “please don’t bother me when I’m reading (or writing).”
5. Stamina! How are you going to build stamina with reading? independent work? Will you use a timer? Will you set goals?
I did a good job of this. The kids were up to 20-25 minutes by the end of the year in first grade! I taught them a lot about stamina using the two sisters’ exact words and used a timer. The one area I need to work on professionally was to stop the process if even one person isn’t getting it. It didn’t seem fair to me if that one kid who never focuses on anything was holding everyone back. How do you manage that?