Sunday, June 24, 2012

Daily 5 Chapter 2 & Memories of My Beloved Nephew

I'd first like to share a photo of my beloved nephew, Jordan Robert, who we buried yesterday. The days seemed to have rolled together this week being put through such a tragedy. I am finding comfort in knowing that Jordan is now in my brother's (his father) arms on Father's Day. Jordan was a kind & gentle soul who taught me so many things in his time on Earth. I want to be more "Jordan-like" and be strong for those around me. Being a strong person emotionally is not my thing, but I am really trying. Last Father's Day my grandfather went into a coma. The anniversary of his death was June 20th, 11 years to the DAY of my grammie's death. He started to have her come to him in his dreams & he took it upon himself to make his own arrangements a week before he died. He had 5 daughters who he didn't want to have to deal with all of that as well as the grief of losing him, he just knew it was his time. 
Unfortunately, none of us were prepared for Jordan's death & are all still in shock, to say the least. I have never in my life been to a wake & funeral & have witnessed so much love for someone. I knew what I felt for him as my nephew & how proud I was of him but I NEVER realized how many he affected in his short life. I will always cherish my memories of him & will always be thankful to his mother for the "gift from God" that she gave us. As I type, I am still in shock & it's just NOT REAL. I still feel my nephew with me. I had big plans for my little blog this summer so I will try my hardest friends to post as much as I can. As I write, tears are flowing about my nephew but it's bringing me comfort to write about the kind of person he was.

                                                 This is Jordan & his girlfriend of 9 years!
                                     My ring bearer & flower girl.

As much as I would love to continue to write about my beloved Jordie I promised I would write about Daily 5.....................................

I originally set up questions to ponder & I changed my mind about discussing each of them. I am just going to discuss the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina). 

In order for your students to do something or want to do something you assign they must trust you. In order for them to trust you, you have to instill a trust in you and what you want them to learn and practice. In order to create a positive and trusting relationship with each student trust must be established. Taking the time to build that trust in literacy is key. Our job is to provide our students with a foundation that we will build on as a community. In order to be successful it all takes time my friends, it certainly doesn't happen in a day or even a week. Without the trust of a teacher as well as the mastery of each skill we've taught, mastery of a new skill is not likely to be successful. The shift from me constantly monitoring individual group behavior to my student's monitoring their own & each other's really seemed unrealistic. As we go along in this D5 book study you will see the progression of this in action.

When I first read the part about "choice" I got goosebumps & shivers down my spine. I can be a bit of control freak OCD structured and how in the world would I let this change??? When I taught kindergarten & did my own spin on literacy centers I CHOSE what they did daily. You are going HERE and you little trouble maker will be HERE right next to me
In college, waaaaaaay back in the day, STRUCTURE....STRUCTURE....STRUCTURE...ROUTINE...ROUTINE...ROUTINE were ingrained in my educational philosophy. 
The one thing that really stood out to me in this section was PURPOSE+CHOICE=MOTIVATION....pure genius! As an adult I battle with having a choice in things. When I was young I struggled with choice. Would you rather clean your room or fill the dishwasher??? Well, neither but I was happy to have a choice. 
My students would grunt & groan this year when I had them read the boring basal reader that we had to teach. BUT, when they had the choice to read from their own book boxes they were grunts & groans. Giving our children choice is highly motivating even with our most challenging unmotivated students. 


 I think it goes without saying that belonging to a community you learn more than alone. When students are accountable for their learning in a supportive and positive community, they learn and want to learn. I have always prided myself on building a community with my students, it's not MY classroom it's OUR classroom and they believe in themselves & they believe in me. A positive community is built on trust, and when they have trust the students take ownership by having a choice in this positive community we have built TOGETHER. The experiences we share together form a community bond. Building a classroom community together provides them with a sense of ownership and accomplishment which in turn instills a sense of pride in themselves and awareness of their behaviors. We all know we have certain students that unfortunately set the example of behaviors that are not tolerated. When we rejoin as a group and discuss what exactly what went wrong, everyone learns from the experience and knows what NOT to do. When the child that breaks "stamina" is called out we all learn as a group and encourage and celebrate when we reach our next goal. 
One of the lessons I teach my students when we are discussing our community is bucket filling.  

Sense of Urgency

I have always had a sense of urgency. Maybe not for reading but for a new pair of Converse, Vans or Pumas. I always wondered how will I create a sense of urgency for learning with my students. I'll be honest, it has taken me years to create a love of reading with my students. I believe I did before D5 but I did see a difference this year, I saw the difference with my struggling readers. They wanted to read like the others, so bad it hurt. The only difference this year was that I implemented D5. As teachers we are always in such a hurry to teach the skills from week-to-week.....I admit, I'm guilty. After reading the book I thought, do I give my students a sense of urgency to learn a concept? The answer was no. After giving my student the proper mini-lesson on a concept or task that we were learning I noticed a difference in me & in them. They were finally understanding why they had to learn what I was teaching & why. They would get excited & would ask "Mrs. Dillard, are you done yet so we can practice this during D5?". Not kidding. With the choices that I provided, they were eager to go into D5, I had created a sense of urgency for them to WANT to learn, read & write. I created a daily habit for them which also provided them with the structure they so desire.