Directly after check-in comes the process of releasing students to their Daily 5 choices. We want this transition to happen as smoothly and efficiently as our check-in procedure. Our tone of voice and our movements really set the tone for the round, so I include here what I look and sound like in the two methods I rely on most often.
Say “One.” This is the cue to look over our I-chart with students and remind them what it will look like and sound like when they are being independent. Look at the chart and point to each item as everyone reads silently and nods in agreement. Because we look at the chart as well, students focus on it, not us, as each expectation is reviewed quickly and silently.
- Choose a successful spot.
- Get started right away.
- Read quietly.
- Read the whole time.
- Stay in one spot.
- Ignore distractions.
After reviewing expectations, stand and hold up two fingers. We do not need to say two out loud because of the two visual cues (the move to a standing position and two fingers being raised). This establishes a quiet work environment. On two, students stand silently and think of two or three spots where they can work successfully. This is valuable because if their first choice is unavailable, they don’t dissolve; they just calmly move to their second or third choice. As they think of their potential spots, they are watching our fingers (and so are we). Holding up a third finger is the signal that they may calmly move to their Daily 5 choice and get to work. We stay completely still for about 10 seconds. If we are meeting with a group, those students move to where we are and we sit down together.
This is my favorite method because it is so quick, calm, and quiet. We do this if no one has picked Read to Someone or if children got settled but broke stamina really fast. If the latter happens, we ring the chimes, ask them to leave everything where it is, and call them over so we can begin again, successfully.
In a quiet tone of voice, excuse students in groups based on choice.
“If you are Listening to Reading, you may go.” Give those students a few seconds to head off in a quiet, orderly fashion and begin to get settled.
“If you are working on writing, you may go.” Give them a few seconds to head off and begin to settle.
“If you are doing Word Work, you may go.”
“If you are Reading to Self, you may go.” Excuse this group second to last so they can make wise seating choices based on where other students are working. It is easier for them to find a spot where they won’t be too close to others and can be successful.
Finally, ask the Read-to-Someone students to choose a partner. Because of how we have checked in, this will already be an even number of two, four, or six of them. Invite someone to choose a partner by quietly saying something like, “Taylor, will you please choose a partner?” Taylor gets up, walks over to a classmate, and in a friendly tone of voice says, “Sydney, will you please be my partner?” Sydney says, “Yes, thank you.”
Then invite another child to choose. When there are only two students left, we still ask one of them to choose. This helps avoid the “We are the last ones and we are stuck with each other” attitude. One of those partners gets up and says, “_____, will you please be my partner?” to which the response is “Yes, thank you.” Each partnership, once made, goes off right away, selecting a spot that is not too close to other workers and they can be successful.
Some teachers prefer to let the Read-to-Someone students find partners all at the same time. Do what works best for your age group and your students.
Choice is one of the foundational elements of Daily 5. It is because of choice that the level of student engagement, ownership, and stamina is so high in our classrooms.