Building a Foundation with Daily 5


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The beauty of Daily 5 is its flexibility. The flexibility in the structure makes it possible to meet the needs of the students we have in front of us year after year. Though there is a large degree of flexibility, there are foundational elements that remain constant. 

What are the Foundational Elements of The Daily 5?

  • Trust students - It is imperative that we believe our students CAN do what we teach them and we set high expectations. Children will rise to the expectations we set and we must trust that they can do so.  
  • Provide choice - Choice leads to a higher degree of engagement. Students who are given the ability to choose which activity to participate in, where to sit, and what to read and write become empowered, self-motivated learners. 
  • Nurturing community - A positive classroom environment enhances student ownership, confidence, and pride. We are committed to creating a nurturing classroom environment where all learners are valued, respected, and honored.
  • Create a sense of urgency - We are clear about the purpose of every Daily 5 activity and lesson taught. When students understand the why behind something, they view the task as important and worthy of their time and effort.
  • The 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence - In a Daily 5 classroom, teachers use the 10 Steps to Independence to train and prepare students to responsibly choose what to participate in, where to sit, what to read, and what to write. 
  • Build stamina - Regardless of their age, students must gradually build their stamina before being released to full independence. We build stamina gradually and intentionally, knowing that if we go slowly in the beginning, it will pay off later and our success will be long term. Visit our article on the gradual release of responsibility. 
  • Stay out of the way while routines are being established - When students go out to practice the behaviors on the I-chart, we initially stay out of the way. If we walk around supporting or encouraging students with "good job" or "I like how you are reading so quietly", their behavior is anchored to us and will fall apart as soon as we begin meeting one-on-one and with small groups. By trusting them, giving them space, and letting them build stamina without our praise and reminders they become independent readers and writers who can function without extrinsic motivation. If, after two or three days, we notice the same student or students are the first to break stamina and bring the round to a close, we begin to have behavior goal-setting conferences with them so they can build independence and experience success with the I-chart expectations. 

You may want to revisit chapter two of your Daily 5 book (Boushey & Moser, 2014) for a more in-depth look at the core foundations of Daily 5.

View Gradual Release of Responsibility


Boushey, G., & Moser, J. (2014). The daily 5. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

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