Daily 5 in Upper Elementary & Middle Schools

28 June 2016
Find some great tips, strategies, and resources for implementing Daily 5 into an upper elementary or middle school classroom!
About 5 years ago, I was working for a district that required teachers to begin using Daily 5 for language arts. Initially, I struggled to make Daily 5 work for me. As a 4th grade teacher, at the time, I felt like some of the stations and activities were too easy for my students and not beneficial to them. Then, I had the opportunity to attend a Daily 5 conference with the authors of Daily 5, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. At the conference, I learned several strategies for implementing Daily 5 in any classroom and have since found great success using Daily 5 with my upper elementary students. Today, I would like to share some of the strategies and resources I have developed over the past 5 years for making Daily 5 work in any upper elementary or middle school classroom.



Find some great tips, strategies, and resources for implementing Daily 5 into an upper elementary or middle school classroom!
Often, when a new curriculum or resource is rolled out in education there is a set way to implement it and little room to deviate. One of the first things I learned at the Daily 5 conference is there is no set way to implement Daily 5. The authors of Daily 5, also known as ‘the sisters,’ are not researchers, politicians, or child psychologists as is the case with so many educational trends. ‘The sisters’ are teachers too and they truly intend for other teachers to take their ideas and adapt them to meet the needs of individual students.

One of the biggest ways I have adapted Daily 5 for my classroom is by changing it to the Daily 3. ‘Read to Someone’ and ‘Listen to Reading’ were created with the intention of helping students develop their fluency, a skill many of my 4th and 5th grade students have already mastered. I prefer my older students to spend time on activities that build their comprehension and writing skills. So, in my classroom we only use the rotations ‘Read to Self,’ ‘Word Work,’ and ‘Work on Writing.’ By cutting it down to only 3 rotations each day, it gives my students more time to focus on the skills most important to their age and development.
Find some great tips, strategies, and resources for implementing Daily 5 into an upper elementary or middle school classroom!
 I have been asked to help other teachers start Daily 5 in their classrooms and one of the biggest mistakes I see Daily 5 newbies make is trying to roll out all of their stations and activities at one time. Daily 5 enables students to have a lot of freedom. But, if we do not spend time making sure they know how everything operates and what is expected, it will quickly turn to chaos.
    
The Daily 5 book does a great job of explaining how to train your students. In chapter 2, entitled ‘From Management to Principled Habits,’ ‘the sisters’ explain the process of slowly introducing new stations and station activities, modeling what everything should look like, and giving students time to practice. Teachers are given so much to do and teach, it can be difficult to move slow and give students time to practice basic skills such as quietly reading a book to themselves. But, spending a few weeks at the beginning of the school year to practice each station and activity is vital to the success of Daily 5.

I begin, by introducing each of my 3 main stations; ‘Read to Self,’ ‘Word Work,’ and ‘Work on Writing.’ It usually takes about 2 weeks of just practicing each station. Then, for stations that have activities to choose from, such as ‘Word Work,’ I only give students 2 activities to choose from at the start of the year. Once I feel they have mastered those activities, I add a third activity. I continue this process throughout the year until the ‘Word Work’ station has all 20 activities that I use. These activities can be found in the link to my Word Work & Work on Writing for Upper Elementary & Middle School Bundle.’
Find some great tips, strategies, and resources for implementing Daily 5 into an upper elementary or middle school classroom!
One of reasons students tend to enjoy Daily 5 is that they are given so much freedom. They love being able to decide what book they will read, what activities they will complete, and being able to determine what skill they need to work on. But, I think it is important for there to be some degree of organization so that students can be held accountable and I know they are staying on task.

A system I have developed for managing my classroom and still giving students the freedom they desire involves having students create their schedule for the day as soon as they come into my classroom. Each student has 3 name cards that I attach to the board with magnets. Each card has their name and the number 1, 2, or 3.

Next to the magnets, the board is divided into 3 sections using colorful tape; ‘Read to Self,’ ‘Work on Writing,’ and ‘Word Work.’ When students enter the room they know to immediately move each of their name tags to each of the station columns. Each student should have one name tag in each column and the numbers on their name tags correspond with the order they will complete their rotations that day. This gives the students some accountability and allows me to quickly know what each student is working on. It also makes taking attendance easy.

Find some great tips, strategies, and resources for implementing Daily 5 into an upper elementary or middle school classroom!
In this example, Jenna will do 'Read to Self' first. During the second rotation she will do 'Working on Writing.' Finally, she will do 'Word Work.'
Find some great tips, strategies, and resources for implementing Daily 5 into an upper elementary or middle school classroom!
A huge mistake teachers make when using Daily 5 is giving the same station activities to primary, upper elementary, and middle school students. All students cannot have the same ‘Word Work’ and ‘Work on Writing’ activities because primary, upper elementary, and middle school students are all learning different skills. When developing activities for upper elementary and middle school, it is important to develop activities that provide a challenge. If the activities are too simple or primary, older students will not learn and you will begin seeing behavior issues arise. I have complied all of my ‘Word Work’ and ‘Work on Writing’ activities, posters, and suggestions for set up in the following bundle.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Work-Work-on-Writing-for-Upper-Elementary-Middle-School-2070320
When I was first introduced to Daily 5, I thought it was best suited for primary grades. But, I have learned that Daily 5 can be tremendously fun and successful for upper elementary and middle school students as well. If you are not already using Daily 5 in your upper elementary or middle school classroom, I highly recommend you give it a try this year! I have provided links to two FREE Daily 5 P.I.C.K. resources from my store to help you get started!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Daily-5-Good-Fit-Book-PICK-Poster-FREEBIE-1345094

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Daily-5-Good-Fit-Book-PICK-Bookmarks-FREEBIE-1344860
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Vestals-21st-Century-Classroom

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Find some great tips, strategies, and resources for implementing Daily 5 into an upper elementary or middle school classroom!

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