Are you using the Daily 5 framework for middle school ELA? The Daily 5 was a huge undertaking in my 6th grade classroom, so I want to share some tips and tools that might work with your middle school students. I have created several inexpensive tools and lesson plans that helped me successfully implement the Daily 5 into my teaching.
My focus for my 110 minutes of instructional time was word work, writing, read to someone, and read to self. Before you get the idea that all of these tasks were happening each and every day and in seamless fashion, don’t fret, they weren’t! I realized that each had a place and I needed to find that spot in the day/week in order to make the schedule work for my students, the demands of testing, and the expectation of administration.
How it worked best for my students and me:
Word Work was the easiest component to incorporate because I begin every day/class with a morning starter/bell ringer. Three different tools for this are: Word of the Day, Boggle, and the spelling component from Reading Street. A huge weakness for my students is vocabulary, therefore having it in three different resources proved invaluable.
My BOGGLE Board was an enrichment activity that students could work on any time they finished classroom work. I changed the letters on the board weekly, they could grab a new sheet from the board, and turn in on Friday. Some of my students AMAZED me with the words they found. For those that love puzzles and word searches, this is a classroom must-have.
My Word of the Day resource was something I created to meet the needs of my students. I was unable to find a vocabulary resource that I could utilize in only minutes per day. In addition, my students STRUGGLE with identifying synonyms, antonyms, prefixes, suffixes, and roots, so this was created to enhance their understanding.
Twice a week the word would be posted on the MIMIO or Smart board, and my students would record the definition, identify any synonyms, antonyms, affixes, create a picture of the word, and use it in a sentence.
I later added these Context Clue Task Cards as a companion tool to Word of the Day. These can be used as a center tool or as a whole class “scoot” for independent work, small group, or team word work fun.
There are 84 task cards in the pack, 7-sets of 12 cards with a student answer document and answer key for quick implementation.
The spelling component of Reading Street was my other word work source. On Monday we would go over the rule of the list, define the words using context clues as a whole class, and my students would write the words 5X each. That may sound a bit dated, but the only practice my students get with these words is in the classroom.
Studying at home is a challenge for the majority, so I need to make sure their understanding and grasping of words truly takes place in the classroom. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we do different word games and activities with the spelling list words, so that by Friday, spelling test day, they are prepared, and can not only spell the words correctly, but incorporate them into their writing pieces and written responses.
Writing is done in multiple ways in my upper elementary classroom through written responses to reading, Photo of the Day writing, end of novel projects, and general writing instruction. I just completed this Writing Rules! resource that incorporates lessons, prompts, and rubrics for every CCSS for grades 4-6.
Here is a tool is an example of how I teach essay writing. Click the image to download this FREEBIE…
Read to Someone is done daily in my classroom. One method is through partner reading novels or mentor texts, but another tool I utilize is a modified version of 6-Minute Solutions, which is a fluency tool that is a necessity for 90% of my 6th graders. Because students at the 6th grade level should be reading grade level text at a rate of 120-150 per correct per minute, and many of my students are not quite there, I have to incorporate
fluency practice into my instructional time.
Here is how it works…I pair up students based on their fluency rates, each student is given a reading passage at their current reading level that is marked with the number of words. Before the first person reads, the students exchange texts, the student on the left (the stronger reader) always reads first for one minute, which I time, data is recorded (number of words read in the minute minus any miscues), and then repeat with the reader on the right.
The passage is read Monday-Friday with a fluency partner, and then on Friday, I progress monitor each student for the 6th read. I keep this data in order to keep students, parents, and administrators aware of student progress.
Read to Self is another daily component. We are always reading a novel or navigating a reading selection to enhance our knowledge of reading literature or informational text. While I will instruct or work with reading groups for a period of time each day, students will also be given designated time for read to self. I can’t say it is a period that we build stamina for, instead it is a time students are allotted daily. When they have completed reading that is assigned during class, my students have the opportunity to read their library books or magazines, books, or other texts from around the classroom.
I hope these examples and resources help you manage these components in your upper elementary classroom!