If you haven't picked up your copy of The Daily 5 yet, I highly recommend you pick it up! I promise, it is money well-spent! You can grab your copy here, or by clicking on the picture below (which will lead you directly to Amazon.)
You've made the decision, and now you probably have several questions...namely, "What do I need to get started?" Fortunately for you, The 2 Sisters have an entire chapter dedicated to answering that very question!
In a few words...not much. It doesn't require lots of money, or materials, which is a beautiful thing! The 2 Sisters really get it!
The Quiet Signal
Transitions are one of the most important elements of D5. And, really any part of your day. Quick and quiet transitions minimize off-task behavior, and maximize your instructional time. We practice 7 second transitions throughout the entire day, and in every subject. I'm not sure why 7 seconds, but somehow that's what one of my classes and I decided was feasible, and it's stuck with me. My kiddos love it. The challenge I suppose.
As I mentioned here, I've never had an officially signal. Not because I didn't want one, mostly just because I never actually got one. I've always just used my own voice. Suffice it to say, you can or can not choose to use chimes, as The 2 Sisters do. One of my goals for summer is to find inexpensive chimes so that I can have an "official" signal.
The 2 Sisters do recommend a strategy called "Above, Pause, Whisper," and you're probably already doing something similar. The premise is simply: make a sound (chimes would be good) above the sound of the background noise, pause and wait for everyone's attention, then speak the directions very quietly so that everyone has to really tune in to what you're saying.
I like to use the phrase, "If you can hear me..." and I follow up with a variety of different prompts like, "clap 3 times," "put your hands on your head," and so on. I've used this with my fourth and second graders and it yields great results.
Chart Rack or Interactive Whiteboard
I have both in my classroom, however, for D5 I exclusively rely on chart paper and an easel. Honestly, this is just personal preference. Use what you feel comfortable with. If you've always made anchor charts on your I.W., then by all means, continue to do so. Like paper and marker? Great, use your chart paper and easel.
Tools, Not Toys
I love this addition to the book (or maybe I just don't remember it from the first)! Either way, I have several timers in my classroom. I picked them up at the grocery store for a few dollars. They're magnetic, which I highly recommend! There's something about being able to just throw it on the board, and it being there whenever you need it.
I honestly don't have a "tool bin" for D5. With the addition of Barometer Student Support, I plan on creating a tool bin for D5 as I launch this year. I'm not planning on buying anything ahead of time. As I realize I need something, I'll either be able to repurpose something that's already in my classroom, or I'll borrow it from someone to see how it works.
One thing I already have are individual carpet squares. I found some last summer at Ikea for just a few dollars a piece. They're brightly colored, and perfect for one person. I've never used them specifically for Barometer students as "office spaces", however, it certain is a great option should I need it.
There are so many options for book boxes! It really comes down to how much money do you want spend? How much room do you have available for storage of book boxes? And, do you want something you can reuse for several years, or are you ok with purchasing new book boxes each year?
I've always used these from Ikea. They're inexpensive ($1.49/5 pack), and my kids love being able to decorate them at the beginning of the year. They're fairly durable, although this year, they took a beating from my kiddos. The only cons are that you have to repurchase every year, and they do take up a bit of room.
Other options include ziploc bags (2.5 gallon sized, with a gallon sized inside), plastic book boxes, and/or craft bags. Again it really just depends on your preference, and the answers to the questions above.
It is very important that you take the time to fill the book boxes prior to the first day of school. I usually include 1 chapter book, and 2-3 picture books, ranging across a couple of reading levels. I let me students choose a book box on the first day, and they're always excited to see what books are already inside.
The 2 Sisters do discuss having a large classroom library, and I agree that this is important. I started my classroom library when I was in college and continue to add to it each year. Ask family and friends to books they're no longer using or don't want, attend garage sales, library sales, Scholastic Warehouse Sales, Goodwill, or 2nd hand stores (I have an AH-MAZING one 2nd and Charles that offers a 15% teacher discount. Their selection is HUGE, they're good quality, and inexpensive).
A Gathering Place and Focus Lessons
My gathering place is the rug area. I try to arrange furniture so that it frames the area in which we gather. Rugs are expensive, especially those specifically designed for educational settings. One day, I'd love to have one because they're typically very sturdy, and a great quality, however, at around $300 a pop, my budget won't allow for it.
I got the above rug at Home Depot or Lowes. It was on clearance, and I asked if they could cut me a deal since I was a teacher. I ended up getting it for something like $40! I've used it for the past 4 years, and although it shows signs of wear and tear, overall it's still in great condition! Unfortunately, it's really not big enough for my entire class, however, it does the job.
Even if you teach intermediate students, I recommend having them come to the carpet. My fourth graders came to the carpet just as often as my second graders do. They need more space, however, I like the proximity and comfy learning environment it creates.
I love all things anchor charts, which is what an I-Chart is. I enjoy making them with my students (as opposed to making them ahead of time, and then "presenting" them to my students). This doesn't always mean that I don't know what I'm going to write, it just means, I'm writing directly in front of my students.
The 2 Sisters write, "Making the charts constructs memories, schema, background knowledge, and experiences that become the multidimensional layers each student uses to create meaning and understanding in his or her educational life." They even suggest that students can often remember exactly where they were sitting when a specific chart was made, what was said, and so on. They're very powerful.
You can read more about anchor charts here, or by clicking on the picture below.
As your arranging your room, you'll want to think about what areas you want your students to be able to use, especially as it relates to D5, and what I like to call "book nooks." The 2 Sisters say that they only have traditional seating for about half of their students! I must admit, I'm not this brave. Each of my students has their own desk, however, there are many, many options for workplaces throughout the room.
I have a variety of individual carpets, kid-sized chairs (check the summer clearance at Target - I picked up colorful chairs for $4 each last year), bean bags, stools, and so on. My theory on this is that I've got to be able to get them free or for very cheap. I recently acquired a baseball beanbag for $8 at Bed, Bath, & Beyond because of the "packaging" --- there was NOTHING wrong with it, and my kids went ape!
I try to keep in mind that we all learn and are comfortable in different ways and places. Some people like to lay down when they read, others prefer to be curled up in a secluded place...there are almost no limits on where students can work and learn in my classroom, as long as it's a good learning place for that student, and it's safe.
Well, it's that simple. You probably have much of what you need in your classroom or around your house. Don't hesitate to ask family and friends for things they might not be using. Also, you can include items on a "Wish List" for parents.
Next up are Chapters 5 & 6! In the meantime, check out the other bloggers participating in the book study here!