Saturday, September 8, 2012

Daily 5 Bonanza!

CHUNKING lessons during Daily 5 and Critter Cafe

The two Sisters' stressed one very important topic at the July conference in Ann Arbor.  The art of CHUNKING mini-lessons.  With the gift of the Daily 5, even the two sisters struggle to make their introductions and mini-lessons short enough to fit that 10 minute time-frame that resides in brain-based research.  The ability to chunk the MEAT of your lesson into a 10 minute block is simply, TOUGH!  I struggle SO much with that especially with the Critter Cafe launching lessons.  There is SO much to teach!!!  I was using the Daily 5 & CAFE for Dummies the past 2 years to scaffold my instruction over the first 25 days of the launch.  What I noticed was that my lessons were WAY to LONG.  Of course I thought it was great at the time, but now, I can see how long the lessons were going.  
This year, I am all about the CHUNKING.  I am shortening the Daily 5 introduction lessons and the CAFE lessons.  It will add more days to the calendar of the launch but I truly think this year is the BEST by far!  For example, my Day 1 of Read to Self was chunked into 2 days this year.  My day 1 of Work on Writing, was chunked into 3 days this year.  Instead of a 5 day time frame for each Daily 5 launch, I am chunking into 7-9 days each.  AND it WORKS so much better!  I am thinking LONG TERM and how the goal and URGENCY of this framework is to create INDEPENDENT readers and writers.  As teachers, we all know that cannot be accomplished in a few short lessons!  I feel as though I am investing the time NOW so that the rest of my year will be thoroughly on task and engaging for students!

This was Day 3 (in chunking time) for Work on Writing!  Take a look at the amazing STAMINA building!  

After launching TURTLE TUNES at the Critter Cafe, we were eager to create a word wall of interesting words we were hearing during daily read alouds!

Here is our class WORD COLLECTOR, a precursor to work on writing

That same day, students were introduced to their Word Collector Notebooks!  They get to decorate it themselves!

Students then create a front and back page for EACH letter of the alphabet, using a different color crayon for each letter. This was a ton of fun and I got to assess very quickly which students were on target with their letter order and who needed assistance!

The chunking lessons of UNDERLINING your "interesting words" was well-worth  it!
3 days of shorter intervals and less "teaching" by me!    

I am so excited with the progress of our first "work on writing" activity!  

I used the RATE your WRITING rubric as another mini-lesson and WOW!  The kids really did a fantastic job assessing their work.  They figured out quickly that they are IN CHARGE of their writing quality and I saw little heads turning up the entire writing ROUND checking their work to the rubric!  LOVED THAT!

I have a new edition to my work on writing this year!  I am extending the launch of Work on Writing to include the "Work on Writing Choice menu board."   Each day I will introduce, model, and add a new CHOICE to our menu wall.  There are 8 choices so students will have wonderful opportunities to work on writing in a variety of ways!  
This is our Work on Writing CHOICES menu.  I used black 12 x 18 laminated sheets of construction paper and some simple headers I created in powerpoint.  You can hop on over to my TPT store and grab them for free!  Just leave some love and feedback!  

I am working on little labels for each drawer in our Work on Writing cart.  Each of the 8 above mentioned choices will have a coordinating template in each drawer.  For example, making LISTS will be in drawer 1.  Making postcards will be in drawer 2.  Students will use the cart to pick up their choice writing of the day!
There will be a laminated piece of template paper in the bottom of each drawer so when a student takes the last piece of paper in that particular drawer, they will set the laminated piece on my desk and I will know I need to refill it!  EASY PEASY! 

Daily 5 extras...

To better explain the idea of ROUNDS during Daily 5 I have a graphic organizer I use to explain it my little firsties!  We have a full-model working ROUNDS board in our classroom this year.

 As we add a new component of Daily 5 we link (with animal print duct tape) the rounds together!  It is a quick and easy visual for students to pick which ROUND they are going to next.  I plan on adding a hook in the center for my rounds CHECK IN clipboard.  I usually sit in the chair and students line up, check out for their round, I record it, and then hang it back up on the wall!
Both the graphic organizer and Check in form are FREE on TPT so hop on over and grab them!


  1. Great info.... My team and I are struggling with getting our mini-lessons down to the 10 minute timeframe also.... I'm going to try your chunking idea! Thanks for sharing!

    Jenn Oyler
    Seriously Primary

    1. Hi Jenn!
      Thanks for stopping by! Chunking is fabulous and working wonders already for my class! Less pressure to get everything done in one sitting and I really feel the management piece is working stronger because of it! I'll keep you posted and you do the same!
      Have a wonderful week!
      Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

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  3. Would you email me a rough copy of your first few weeks of D5, or point me in the direction of who' you used? Thanks!


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