Smooth Check-In—CCPensieve


When this article was written, our online conferring notebook was called CCPensieve. We've since updated the name and website. Learn more at

Checking in is a method of recording student choices for each round of Daily 5, and when explicitly taught and practiced, it can be accomplished quickly and efficiently. Once taught and practiced, it takes students a short time to complete the check-in process.

We have used a paper-pencil form of Check-in since we first developed Daily 5, knowing the power of students verbalizing their Daily 5 choice. We are now delighted to introduce you to a brand new feature on the CCPensive, ( the very first online check-in for Daily 5! 

How to use this new feature: 

Once a brief focus lesson is complete, simply click on the Check-In tab at the top of the home page of the CCPensieve and ask students to be ready with their first and second choices for that round. (We limit Read to Someone to either six or eight students, or three or four partnerships.  Other activities, such as Listen to Reading, are limited based on available supplies.) Having both choices ready helps keep things moving if their first choice is full.  

As each student name is called, they report which choice they would like to make for the round. (keep in mind, the choice they make is for the whole round, and each round they make a different Daily 5 choice.) Simply click on the _________.  When teaching students to speed up the check-in process, we begin calling student names in order from the top of the list.  Doing this allows students to learn whose name comes before their own. After getting accustomed to the order, we then begin calling students anywhere in the list, proceeding in order from that starting point.  The consistency of the order helps students be prepared, knowing they will always come after the same classmate.

In an effort to expidite the check-in process, so if a student isn’t quite ready with their choice,  we kindly say, “We will come back to you” and move to the next name on the list. This accomplishes many two things. It maintains the sense of urgency that our practice time is so important we can’t waste time getting there. Students who need more time to think get that time, yet they also quickly learn that if they aren’t ready, some of the options won’t be available when we get back to them. 

After students have mastered the basic check-in process, and after our assessments are complete, we teach students to add goals and strategies to the procedure. This sounds something like this:

Jacob: I am going to Read to Self. My goal is to expand my vocabulary, and I am going to tune in to interesting words.

Simranpreet: I am going to Work on Writing. My goal is to improve my content. My strategy is to add more details. 

Sahil: I would like to Read to Someone. My goal is fluency. My strategy is to pay attention to punctuation.

Whether merely announcing their Daily 5 choice or adding in their goal and strategy, it creates a verbal contract with themselves, the teacher and the class. This verbal contract helps students focus, get started faster, and helps to build a sense of community in which everyone is working, learning and growing.

As students are checking in, we have someone in the group keeping track of the number of children who check-in with Read to Someone. Once we reach the predetermined number (6 or 8 students) the student counting annouces, “Read to Someone is closed for this round.” This is when some students know they need to have their second choice ready to go. If we get to the end of the class list and there is an odd number of students, we merely ask if someone who has selected Read to Someone would like to   opt out, or someone else from the rest of the class would like to join in so we have an even number. Someone almost always volunteers to do one of those two.  

Choice is one of the foundational elements of Daily 5. It is because of choice that student engagement, ownership, and stamina is so high in a Daily 5 Classroom. This check-in process provides choice, maintains a high level of accountability, and enables us to easily keep track of it all.  

See the new CCPensieve check-in feature!


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