Placing students around the room (step 7 in the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence) is an important part of launching Daily 5. We place students in different locations and types of seating so they can decipher where they have the greatest stamina, independence, and success. This knowledge helps them choose wisely when released to make the decision on their own.
When do we begin to let students choose their own spot?
The answer is as varied as the students themselves. The Daily 5 is not a lockstep system that launches the same in every classroom where it is put into place. Each year, individual student needs guide the length of time it takes to get Daily 5 up and running. There are a few things we look for that can indicate when students are ready to make the choice for themselves.
1. While placing students around the room, individuals will tell us that the spot we want them to try this round isn’t a good place for them. When asked, they can articulate why their independence and stamina won't be as strong as it should be in this spot.
2. Students may begin to ask when they get to choose or tell us they already know their most successful seating option.
When we see students eliciting these behaviors, we move to the next step of helping them make their own seating choices.
First we create an I-chart titled Seating Options. As a class, we generate the locations in the room they have experienced and write them on one side of the chart. On the opposite side of the chart, we list the expectations.
We call a few students at a time and as we greet each student, we ask if they are ready to choose where to sit or if they want support. If they want support, we place them. These students typically feel confident enough after a few rounds of observing others to make their own choices.
At the end of the round, we revisit the Seating Options I-chart, checking in to see how it went. Students self-assess and determine a goal for the next time they choose a spot.
After developing Daily 5, using it in our own classrooms and hearing from teachers all over the world, we know there are many things we can do to support building stamina, working independently, and staying engaged. One of the most powerful may just be to vary the seating options in our classrooms. For many students, sitting in a hard chair at a desk or table will not facilitate success. Yet teaching children to choose a place to work that is comfortable and allows them and others to be independent is a recipe for success.