1. Establish a gathering place for brain and body breaks.
Last year I called the space in front of the room, the meeting area. I didn’t like it then and I still don’t. I want it to seem cool and cozy, but I’m still not sure. I must check out other posts in this study to see what you all call that space. I like the idea of the "family circle", "check in space", community meeting.
2. Developing the concept of "good fit" books.
I worked so hard to do the good fit thing last year and was very frustrated. When I am beginning a new idea, I hate to have to develop new ideas that are “like” what the authors are talking about. In this case, I had to do this and I didn’t like the way it felt. This is why sometimes I wonder if this is the right fit for me (Daily 5), but I really want to talk it through this summer to see how I feel. . One of the things I realized was the setup is v-e-r-y slow. You have to be okay with this. So I didn't even talk about just right books until long after we had worked on stamina. Mostly I talked about reading the words, pictures, and retelling because they can read the pictures and retell long before they can read the words. This will lead into good fit because they can pick books they have heard before so that they can retell. Pay more attention to this so that the time is carved out in order to build the stamina.
3. Create anchor charts with students How will these be visual in the room? Where will you store them? What about small spaces?
Okay, this I really loved. We referred to the charts a thousand times during the year. My kids LOVED resources in the room and would often point them out to a child who was not doing them. I don’t store them because they should be out all year. You don’t need millions, but they need to be short, clear, and effective.
4. Short, repeated intervals of independent practice and setting up book boxes (How are you going to keep track of stamina? What will you use for book boxes? What are you going to put in those book boxes on the 1st day of school?)
I hated doing this, I have to admit. I love building stamina, but I hated having the whole group stop when one child is off task. I understand why, but I have kids who really can’t sit still for very long and we can work on that, but it’s not fair to the other kids who can. This doesn’t seem like differentiation to me at all regardless of muscle memory.
I want to get the Really Good Stuff book boxes, but I have to figure out how to pay for them! I used plastic ziplock bags last year and hated them. They rip and they are hard to store.
5. Calm Signals and check in procedures. Do you already have a signal? How will you handle check ins?
I use the whole brain stuff. I need to do some more learning on this over the summer. I say “Class?”, they say, “yes!” and all look at me. I like it, but I like the idea of a sound that stops them and not using my voice. I have a tendency to yell. I don’t mean to, but it’s in my nature (said the scorpion). So I am working hard at using other cues. Checking in is tough for Kindergarteners and First Graders. They don’t like to admit they weren’t doing it perfectly, the love telling on others, and the ones who say they weren’t on task probably were.
6. Using the correct model/incorrect model approach for demonstrating appropriate behaviors. (Will you keep track of inappropriate behaviors? If they are not doing what is expected, then they are calling out for attention...what other ways can you give them some extra attention so that they can be more independent during D5?)
I really hated this last year. I just couldn’t get my kids to demonstrate things inappropriately. They just acted ridiculous which would get everyone laughing and there would be no learning at that point. I like to stick to the I-Charts and talk about what things should LOOK like at this time.
I am so on the fence about this right now. I feel like I want to do more of a Reading Workshop approach with read to self and read to buddy as centers. Then a Writing Workshop with write to self and word work as centers. I must persevere before I can make final decisions.