When thinking about the curriculum for kindergarten, learning through play is at the forefront. Then why would a classroom teacher at this level want to use the structure of The Daily 5 with her students? With most of the students being non-readers and very few of them having developed any kind of independent skills, it seems like a recipe for disaster. Well, Ellen Lague and her students in French Immersion Kindergarten at École Connaught on 4th have incorporated this structure into their daily routine with much success.
The goal of implementing the Super 5 is to allow Ellen to work indidually or with a small group of students for a five minute period. Granted five minutes is not much time but, for a group of five year olds, their capacity to sustain one activity is about equal to their age plus or minus 1 minute. Therefore, Mme Lague stuck to this time frame for each round of her Super 5. While she is working with her small group on various curricular activities such as patterning with blocks, MIMI (PWIM in French), EYE data gathering, the other students are reading to self, working on writing and using technology to explore the French language.
Super 5 typically takes places right after recess with the snack being done prior to them going outside. Students meet as a large group on the carpet with Madame to discuss the activities for the day and to review their responsibilities at each component. Visuals are used to identify where each student starts their rotation, with Madame Lague going over the student's name on the white board. Students can now easily recognize their own names and those of their classmates. Names of students who are absent are left on the board but are sideways in case they show up later. We chose not to make anchor charts but rather are reviewing expectations using gestures, symbols and the French language.
A large number of books, including big books, are available in French for students to read. All of the students are non readers in French but seem to enjoy the role-play phase of reading, looking at pictures, turning pages and reconstructing stories for themselves. The writing component has students using modelling clay to trace their names, using magnets to write colours, matching symbols with words, etc. The French iPad apps used by the students are on the main screen on the iPad and a screenshot of the icon is placed directly onto the white board for the students to access.
Between each round, the students return to the carpet for a very quick self-evaluation and at this time Mme Lague will deal with any questions or problems. The groups are changed to another activity and the names are reviewed once more so everyone knows where to go. Mme Lague counts the number of minutes with the students in French for the round, sets the timer and uses a play xylophone to begin the round. Students go to their assigned activity and return to the carpet once the five minute timer has sounded to signify the end of the round.
Students are actively engaged in the activity and can easily achieve the five minute stamina for each rotation. Mme Lague has four rounds daily allowing each student to experience the three stations, in addition to the small group instruction with their teacher. The use of The Daily 5 structure for this classroom has allowed students to feel a sense of accomplishment, gain independence, cooperate with their classmates all while learning base literacy and numeracy skills in a fun and play-based manner.
Another great positive for the use of this structure in kindergarten happens when the students move onward to higher grades. Once in grade 1, students are familiar with the idea of independence and the importance of allowing others to have their uninterrupted learning time with their teacher while they focus on their assigned task. The implementation of The Daily 5 for literacy or even Explore + 4 for numeracy in grade 1 then becomes much easier for teachers to introduce, manage and also easier for students to increase their stamina.
A new student joined the class after a full two weeks of using the Super 5 structure. The student easily understood the expectations and seemlessly joined the class during the literacy/numeracy portion of the day thanks to the great modelling of the teacher and his classmates. Thank you to Madame Lague and her wonderful students for allowing me to work alongside them to introduce the Super 5 in kindergarten.
Bravo mes amis!
Team Awesome (Lerminiaux)