Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Your Daily 5 Questions...My Answers (Part Two)

Yesterday I posted part one of the questions fellow teachers have been e-mailing me regarding Daily 5.  Today is part two!

I'm a 4th grade reading/language arts teacher. I want to use the Daily Five/cafe format this year, but I have some questions. I'm required to take 2 grades per week for reading, grammar, and spelling. What do you take grades on? Also, do you use basals or chapter books during your comprehension lessons?

One of the hardest things I struggled with when I first started Daily 5 & CAFE was grades.  I went from a ton of grades each week (from silly busy work) to nothing!  Luckily, I am not required to take two per week, but I might have a solution for you.  I do take an effort grade.  We did Marzano training a few years ago, and one of the strategies is effort.  Together with my students, we create an effort rubric.  It is very simple 4,3,2,1 where 4=100%, 3=75%, and so forth.  At the end of each Daily 5 round, I call students' names and have them give me their effort.  For the most part, students are pretty honest about their effort.  If I suspect a student of inflating their effort, I choose to watch them closely during the next round.  I typically pick out 4-5 students each round to really watch (while I'm doing groups) to see if their effort is what it should be.  I tally the effort grades at the end of each week and average them for my grade book.  Daily 5 effort accounts for 10% of the total reading grade in my grade book.  I also do weekly reading response journals (modeled after the letters Donalyn Miller discusses in The Book Whisperer).  My district has one grade for reading, writing, and spelling, so the reading response journals account for 25% of the grade.  You could also have students turn in their weekly word work for a grade.  My students have to complete a SAW (Sort, Alphabetize, Write sentences) during their word work each week.  

How many students do you teach? 

In the past, I have taught my homeroom and my teaching partner's homeroom reading, language arts, and spelling.  There were 30 students (give or take a few) in each class.  My reading block for each class was about 2 hours and 15 minutes long.  This year, however, I have chosen to stay self-contained and see what that is like!

Does each of your students have a book box in your classroom? 

My students do not have book boxes because I do not have room for storage.  Plus, I wanted my students to be able to take their books to their other class.  I used reusable grocery bags for a few years, where students were supposed to store their books, journal, and reading binder, but I was finding it was also becoming a trash can.  I took those away, then went to gallon ziploc bags.  Eventually, I just gave everything up and expected my fourth graders to be responsible and bring everything with them that they needed to my class. This year, being self-contained, I'm going to try book boxes if my school will order them for me.  

Do you teach anther subject with reading? We will teach social studies and reading.

My district recently adopted Good Habits, Great Readers as a series.  I do not use it religiously, but I do use the guided reading books and lessons as part of my strategy groups. This series is strategy-based, so it does fit somewhat nicely with Daily 5.  I am very anti-basal.  Prior to this adoption, I did not even have basals in my classroom.  I created lessons based on the strategies/standards I was teaching.  

The first year I switched with my teaching partner, I taught reading, writing, spelling, and social studies.  She only taught math and science, though, so it was a little uneven. We eventually made it so I taught reading, writing, and spelling while she taught math, science, and social studies.  She only did science and social studies on alternating days, however.   

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