“I have a shirt just like that, only mine is green and doesn’t have buttons.”
“I have those same shoes, only they aren’t sandals.”
“I ordered the exact same thing for dinner, only I ordered mine with beef, left off the lettuce and tomato, and had them add black olives and sour cream.”
A friend of mine is famous for quotes like these, and they make me laugh every time. Her connections are a stretch and usually point out what is the “same, but different.”
Recently, I was working with a teacher on her Daily 5 implementation plan. As she shared her schedule, I commented on how similar it was to my former schedule, only I had three recesses and she had one, I taught first grade and she taught third, and I had 90 minutes for reading and she had 75. As soon as I said it, I paused and thought of my friend and her far-fetched connections. Was I doing the same thing?
In this case, things really are the same but a bit different. Daily 5 has non-negotiables that are identified in the Essential Elements. These elements remain consistent in every classroom. How teachers apply them varies, depending on their specific situations. In the case of scheduling, it is non-negotiable that focus lessons are brain-compatible in length and the work sessions last as long as students have stamina. The differences come with schedule constraints (literacy instruction may be in one solid block or dispersed throughout the day), students’ age and their stamina, and curriculum requirements.
The Daily 5 structure is built on a solid, research-based foundation, and because of this, other non-negotiables exist. Choice, classroom design, the launch process, stamina building, tasks, and materials must be in place. And, because no classroom, schedule, or group of students are exactly the same, we exercise our professional thought in knowing how to best apply these to our setting.
So, when comparing my Daily 5 classroom with yours, can we say they are the same, but different? With a smile, and a nod, absolutely.
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