Taking Daily 5 Further: A Planning Guide

A few years ago, while I was still in the classroom, my initial understanding of ‘Blended Learning’ was simply ‘doing centers.’ As a seasoned primary teacher, I shrugged my shoulders at a practice I felt I already had a firm grasp on. However, as time marches on, I find myself reflecting on what my students were doing during literacy centers and realized, in fact, I was not the 'Centers Sensei' I proclaimed to be. Although my students were compliant and probably having some fun, I’m not sure the activities I planned were actually practicing standards-based skills or furthering understanding. My students were quiet. My students were busy. But what tweaks would I make today to make it more meaningful? As I continue to deepen my understanding, I asked Jess Quandahl, a fellow Blended/Personalized Learning teammate and Literacy Consultant, to help me plan a more blended/personalized approach to something I was very familiar with--The Daily 5.

When Jess and I sat down together, we created a checklist of important points to focus on while we planned for this station rotation model. This checklist could be used not only for planning Daily 5 stations, but for the planning of any centers or rotations. This list helped us to design around the literacy standards addressed in core instruction, while also keeping in mind accountability, which can often be a pain point during a centers or station rotation model.

  • What do we want the students to know?
  • ​How will they demonstrate/practice?
  • Where will I build in voice and choice?
  • How will I know what they know?
  • What tools will I use?

​The following is an example of how we used the checklist to plan for a three day station rotation in a K-2 classroom.

​1. What do we want our students to know?

When looking at the K-2 Literacy Standards, we chose

  • Reading Standards for Literature 1 (RL.1)
  • Writing Standard 1 (W.1)
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 5 and 6 (SL.5, SL.6)

with the assumption that the core instruction is centered around these standards and that the centers/stations are to further proficiency or to demonstrate proficiency in these standards.

2. How will students practice/demonstrate understanding?

3. Where will I build in voice and choice?

For this centers approach (or station rotation), we make the general assumption that routines, procedures, and expectations have been modeled and practiced prior to the usage of these activities. Jess and I would also like to point out that when planning these activities, any text or writing prompts could be plopped into this table. When a new activity or center is created, make sure to allow for time to establish (or reestablish) expectations.
Below you will find an example of a three-day hybrid playlist that incorporates choice. You will notice that there are must-dos and may-dos on this choice board. Each section allows for students to choose an option to allow for more voice and choice. Within each section a purpose is stated for the learning activity based on a standard. This makes the choice board fairly text heavy and might not be advantageous for all learners. However, all students should be aware and understand the purpose for each learning opportunity they engage in.  Descriptions of each section are below the graphic.

You can also find this hybrid playlist here.
Read to Self: Students may reread the whole group text by reading the pictures, reading the words, or retelling the story. Students may choose to read a story from their personalized book box. Additional option: you may want to have an audio recording of the story available for students to listen to the story, if needed. By clicking on the link or scanning the QR code in this box (with mobile device), students can have immediate access.

Listen to Reading: There are hyperlinks and QR codes for students to access digital stories.
Showing students how to turn on Closed Captioning also gives them access to the text to follow along.

Work on Writing: Students are able to draw or write, depending on need. Standard W.1 requires students to state the name of the book, an opinion, supporting evidence, and a conclusion (depending on readiness). Make sure students know they will be sharing with a partner on day three. They also have the option to share to a larger audience through Seesaw.

Read to Someone: Using writing from day one and two gives the writing more purpose! Make sure students are aware they will be sharing their writing with an audience. It’s important to have modeled how to ask clarifying questions or to give prompts to get them started.

Work on Designing: Collaborating over writings from day one and day two, students can choose one character from a story read earlier in the week. Then, students design a t-shirt the character would like to wear. This could include a slogan, a picture, or maybe a t-shirt that solves a problem for the character (for example, keeps them dry in the rain).

Word Work: Students will choose one or two words to input into a Frayer Model to demonstrate understanding of the word. Students can choose to work independently or with a partner.

4. How will I know what they know?

As a classroom teacher, I always found that the management of student work was a bit overwhelming. Jess and I really wanted to hone in on one of these standards to assess. When we looked at the writing standard W.1 we came up with yet another checklist. Personally, I would only use this checklist for one of the writing samples for the week. Consider letting students choose which writing sample they share with you.

  • Introduction sentence. For example, “My favorite part is…” W.K.1, W.1.1, W.2.1
  • Shares reasoning. W.1.1, W.2.1
  • Connects opinion to reasons. For example, uses linking words like ‘because’ or ‘also’. W.2.1
  • Closing sentence W.1.1, W.2.1

5. What tools will I use?

  • This QR Code Generator in Google Sheets will help you generate QR Codes and keep them organized. Just add the link and title and you are set!
  • QR Code Scanner is built right into Chrome! Use the 3D touch on the Chrome icon to pop up the prompt, or find it at the top of the keyboard when in Chrome. You can also search on your iPad for QR Scan and it will pull it right up for you! Don't worry! Your students will get the hang of it!
  • Seesaw is a pretty amazing classroom tool (yes, I’m an ambassador) that helps students communicate to a wider audience. These Seesaw activities are ready for you to assign today:
  • timer can be helpful for students to stay on track (and even you too!). We think ClassroomScreen has lots of great built-in tools for projection that will help everyone stay on track!

So what do you think? Will this work? Let us know if you try any of these ideas or how you plan your centers/stations each week!