So my former across-the-hall-neighbor, Mrs. R, has most of my class from last year (9 or 10) plus students I had either in student teaching or during our enrichment block last year so it was super special for me to be able to see them today! I pretty much got tackled upon entry! You'd never know it by how engaged they are in this picture though...
A little background on Mrs. R's room... She is a whole-brainer (she's who introduced it to me!), she is all about a student centered classroom where the students are the teachers and are in charge of their learning. She MODELS MODELS MODELS as any good teacher should so that everything runs ultra-smooth. It was clear the kiddos know EXACTLY what is expected of them at all times. Due to the district Mrs. R works in, she is required to do guided reading, so she does not use the true CAFE conferencing model, however she uses a CAFE board and each of her reading groups is aware of exactly what strategy they are working on when they are reading. Oh, and she clearly knows kiddos need to move... check out her exercise ball chairs! My grade level partners LOVED the exercise balls!
Mrs. R runs Daily 5 with a mini-lesson to start followed by student-led rotations. They do 3-5 rotations depending on how much time they have, but Mrs. R told us that most days it's 3 rotations. Mrs. R's other reading lesson(s) happens in the morning.
This leads me to take-away #1... make Daily 5 YOURS. Although the book gives a wonderful model of how to run Daily 5, when it comes down to it, you need to run it how it works for you. After talking with Mrs. R. and reflecting, I think it's so easy, when trying something new in the classroom, to get caught up in trying to do SO much that you end up overwhelmed, untrue to yourself and it stops being fun. This leads me to...
Take-away #2... I don't need to have my kiddos check in with me for the rest of eternity when they go to Daily 5 rotations, especially if I'm not doing a mini-lesson between rotations. Mrs. R started the year having the kiddos tell her where they were going and checking in to ask how it went between each rotation, but now since they are so well "trained," a timer goes off and the kiddos know they have one minute to clean up, make their next choice and get started. As they finish cleaning up, they walk over to this AMAZING rotation board, that Mr. R made for Mrs. R (what a great hubby), and select their next rotation.
Okay, so onto the rotations... during each rotation Mrs. R meets with a color coded reading group. They were working on taking notes from non-fiction texts for their animal reports. Mrs. R modeled for each of these groups, and then let them work on their own while she checked in with other students and during one rotation met with students who needed a writing conference. Her kiddos are also working on summarizing non-fiction text (also to help with those animal reports) so each group's colored star is next to summarizing. At other points in the year, each star could be on a different skill as each group might be working on something different
Onto what the other kiddos are doing during rotations... Read to Self seems simple enough, but, sometimes you need a way to hold kiddos accountable.
Onto the Daily 5 I'm terrified to open up for my kiddos... Read to Someone. I was so impressed by these kiddos reading to each other. The pairs I chatted with had chosen to read Charlotte's Web together, which is a book the whole class is reading and responding to. They knew exactly what chapters they needed to be working on and made sure to tell me they could work together on their response journal but they couldn't copy each other's answers. Take-away #4 With enough modeling and practice, Read to Someone isn't so scary!
Take-away #5 Read to Someone has way more potential once you see http://www.storylineonline.net/ in action. I also really liked the response sheet Mrs. R has the kiddos fill out when their story is done.
Take-away #6 I'm putting tags like these on my kiddos writer's notebooks next year! So helpful to organize topics, points from writing lessons and their writing.
Word Work was so much fun in Mrs. R's class that I wished I could take part!
She also has a great organizational system for all these supplies, take-away #7 the grade level partners and I are thinking we need some drawers like these in our rooms!
In case you can't tell, we learned A LOT in Mrs. R's room today! The kiddos did a great job teaching us exactly what they should be doing during each rotation and of course Mrs. R was super helpful! I have a bunch of other pictures and ideas that I took from Mrs. R's room today, and I promise to share them in a post in the near future, but for now I figured I'd just stick to the Daily 5 rotations in her room.
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