This is Melissa from Dilly Dabbles and I’m excited to participate in the Blog Swap and Hop.  This week, I had the opportunity to attend a week long class our state sponsors called “Core Academy.”  The focus is on supporting teachers in knowing and teaching the core successfully.  In the past, these summer sessions that are presented throughout the state in various locations all summer have been focused on lesson plans and activities that are shared and discussed.  This year, the focus was on deeply understanding the Mathematics Common Core and teaching concepts through the use of math tasks.  I have learned a lot through the instruction of the class and through my own research due to the desire to know more. 

What are Math Tasks? Math Tasks are open ended scenarios that give minimal information so students can focus on the thinking and reasoning of the task.  Three parts are included in the full circle of a task including Launching, Exploring and Discussing. 
Dan Meyer is a secondary math educator, but has a lot of useful information that can be applied to elementary educators as well.  Here’s a link to his 10 design principles for Math Tasks.  Here’s a great video of a presentation by Dan as well that helps give perspective on the concept.
As Dan mentions, use your current resources to help you create math tasks for your class.  Simply adjust problems in your current materials so they are more thought provoking and less structured. 

Here’s an example of a math task you might use in a first grade classroom.  (Based on 1.OA.1).
How much candy do Sue and Bill each have?   Together, they have no more than 10 pieces of  candy and Sue has 2 more than Bill. 
This question allows students to try various strategies and plans to discover an answer.  It allows for students to have varying answers because the answer is not as important as the process and conversation. 

To follow the three steps, start by launching the problem with your students.  Set them up with a picture or a discussion to build background.  Then allow students to explore the problem on their own first for a few minutes.  Then allow for some partner or small group sharing and discussion.  As you monitor the classroom, notice what strategies and pathways students are engaging in to solve the problem.  Choose a few students to share their thinking and solutions with the class. 

The use of these engaging tasks in your math teaching will support students in understanding the concepts behind the math.  Students become thinkers instead of path followers.  Now I’m not a believer in tasks alone.  Tasks and the thinking they involve lead students to the algorithms and “short-cuts” which are much more efficient.  However, having the conceptual understanding helps students retain and use the efficient processes accurately with understanding. 
To celebrate this special Blog Swap and Hop, I have this set of B-B-Q themed Math Tasks for grades 1-3.  There is one task for each grade based on the Operations and Algebraic Thinking Strand of the Common Core. 

Thanks to Nicole for allowing me to guest here at Teaching With Style!

 ~Melissa has been an elementary school teacher in several grades for the last 8 years, most recently teaching first grade.  She just moved positions to support teachers as an instructional coach concentrating on K-3 reading.  Melissa is the owner and writer of the Dilly Dabbles blog at and owner of Dilly Dabbles Doodles at ~

The district I work in is extremely diverse.  There are over 25 languages spoken in my school!  Because of this, all teachers in my district have to be very savvy to strategies for teaching English Language Learners.  You already know about my obsession with OCDE Project GLAD® and my work with Systematic ELD, so this summer I decided to take a couple grad school courses to finish up my ESOL endorsement.  I've been teaching with ESOL strategies for six years, but knew that the endorsement would bring me some more ideas and tools to use in my classroom.

The main model for instruction that my class is focusing on is SIOP: Sheltered Instruction, Observation Protocol.
Here is the SIOP website:
And our course textbook if you want to read about it (affiliate link):

Most research claims that this kind of teaching is also good for students from poverty, since their language levels are significantly lower than their middle class peers.  Since my school is both high poverty and high ELL, this is a must for me!

A SIOP lesson has eight components, and I found some great YouTube videos from Pearson Education to explain each one.  Click on the link below to watch them.
  1. Lesson Preparation
  2. Building Background Knowledge
  3. Comprehensible Input
  4. Strategies
  5. Interaction
  6. Practice/Application
  7. Lesson Delivery
  8. Review/Assessment

What other resources do you have for Sheltered Instruction?  Do you have ELLs in your class?  What kinds of strategies do you like to teach with?

I'm back with my thoughts from chapter two of The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in The Elementary Grades.  First off, I would like to say that these are entirely my opinions and not that of the 2 Sisters or their publisher Stenhouse.  :)  Chapter two is all about the "why" of the Daily 5 model.  The Sisters list these as their core foundations:
  • trusting students
  • providing choice
  • nurturing community
  • creating a sense of urgency
  • building stamina
  • staying out of students' way
Trusting Students
The Sisters say that trusting students is one of the most important aspects of what makes the Daily 5 work.  First you have to explicitly teach students what to do, then you need to trust them to actually do it.  During the Daily 5, teachers should be conferring with students, meeting with groups, or doing assessments.  You have to trust that the other students are being responsible so you can get your important work done, too.  Without trust, the system doesn't work.

Providing Choice
I completely agree with the Sisters when they say that choice is a huge motivational factor for students. I love their quote, "Choice is highly motivational and puts children in charge of their learning" (pg 20). It is so true that if you have some say over which activities you get to choose, you will do them better.  If I got to choose which household chores to do, I would not choose folding laundry, but I would empty that dishwasher with wild abandon!  Just kidding, but you get the idea...

Nurturing Community
Students need to feel safe and secure in any classroom in order to thrive.  This is especially important in a Daily 5 classroom, since we are asking students to be so independent and take risks each day in their learning.  By setting the tone that we are all here to become better readers and that we can only get there by helping each other, students will not only feel safe and supported, they will feel comfortable enough to actually grow and learn.

Creating a Sense of Urgency
By teaching students why we do the things we do, they will understand and "buy-in" to what we are asking them to do.  By teaching them that we do the Daily 5 activities to become better readers, they can internalize that message and make better goals for themselves.  

Building Stamina
The Sisters think of increasing minutes of independent reading and writing the same as building your body's endurance as you work out.  You have to start out small and work your way up.  In the beginning of the year, that is how they get their students to stay on task while they are working with small groups and individual students.  They start by practicing reading to self for a minute.  If everyone can do it, they up it to two, and on up until how ever long that round goes for.  We'll go more in depth in this strategy when we talk about Read to Self, but you get the picture.  Start small and work your way up until you get to the desired time: build your reading stamina!

Staying out of Students' Way
The last foundation to the model is once students get going on their work, don't bug them!  If you walk around and monitor, encourage, or even reprimand, they will depend on you to do that.  If you teach them so well how to be independent without your help, then they will actually do it even when you are not there!  That is the goal, right?  I've heard subs say that they can tell a good teacher by how well the students stay in the classroom routine while the teacher is away.  I think that is one of the best compliments!
Head on over to my TpT store and pick up a Stamina freebie.  You can use it as you are building up your class' independent minutes next fall, or even with an individual student who needs more reminders later on in the year.

So, this week, think about how you can implement these foundations into your reading instruction.  Which aspects do you already do?  Which ones do you want to work on more?  Are there any that you don't agree with?

Next week we'll hop over to Mrs. Freshwater's Class and Thinking Outloud for chapter three.  Start thinking about your framing questions:
  1. What "rings true for you" in this chapter?
  2. How are your students progressing with picking appropriate books?
  3. What (if anything) could help improve the processes from this chapter in your classroom?
I'm linking up with TBA, too!

Freebie Fridays

18 wonderful bloggers teamed up with me to create a continuous story over the next few weeks. Each day one new blogger will add to the saga. Click the next button to read what happens next...
Make sure to check out the blogs listed at the end of the post.


The 3AM Teacher   MsT3     Aril  Wolfelicious                            

If you've been following me for awhile, then you know how much I love The Sisters, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  I saw them present two years ago for The Daily 5 and last year for The CAFE Book.  I've visited two different schools in my area who have adopted The Daily 5 and CAFE school-wide and have led workshops at my school to introduce my colleagues to it.  I am passionate about spreading the wisdom of The Sisters!

The first thing my principal did last year for interested staff was buy a copy of the book for each of us.  He also bought a subscription to  It's spendy at $69 for a year per person, but it seriously has been so great.  They have lesson plans for each of the CAFE strategies, parent letters, videos that show how to teach whole group lessons, small group lessons, and even coaching sessions with teachers.  There are professional articles and research, ideas for organizing your classroom, and even a new forums section.  If you want to see what it's all about, subscribe to their weekly newsletter, called Tip of the Week.  It has links that are free to the public and you can browse the titles of links for members only.  I got by for a whole year with just the free newsletter before I took the plunge and bought a subscription.

Another way I get support for Daily 5 is by joining the Yahoo Group.   It's a great community of teachers who use the Daily 5 and CAFE in their classrooms.  If you have a question, go ahead and post it to the group.  People are great about responding quickly.  It has been really helpful!  I get the posts to my email, which is nice, because sometimes someone else's question is information I needed as well, but just hadn't thought to ask the question myself.

Pinterest is another resources to find ideas for the Daily 5.  I have a board called Teaching - Daily 5/CAFE ideas.  There are 182 pins and counting!  The other bloggers in this book study and I also have a collaborative board, started by Mel D of Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations.  Make sure to follow us there, too!

The last resource I have to share with you is ProTeacher.  This site has been around for years and has great information about all things teaching.  Last summer I found an invaluable resource: Daily 5 for Dummies.  It sounds bad, but really it is a user-friendly lesson plan for implementing the Daily 5 in your classroom.  I used it at the beginning of last year and it really helped me plan how I was going to introduce each concept and gave a really nice pacing guide.  I recommend checking it out!

On to the book....

Chapter 1 opens up with a quote from Regie Routman (another educational guru I adore):
"The typical teacher has children doing a lot of "stuff".  How is what I am having children do creating readers and writers?"
Me, Regie, and my friend Pat at a conference this spring
The premise of the Daily 5 is that children are engaged in authentic reading activities while they are not meeting with the teacher.  The Daily 5 has nothing to do with what you do as a teacher (whether you teach guided reading, a scripted program, focus groups, literature circles, one on one conferring, etc); it has everything to do with what your students are doing.  The first page of the chapter, The Sisters say, "All of these items [things children did during literacy time], and many more, were used to keep children busy while we attempted, none too successfully, to work with a few small groups and individuals.... For the hundredth time we asked ourselves did those things just keep our kids busy, or were they engaged in literacy tasks that will make a difference in their literate lives?" (page 4).   

Richard Allington is another educator who has long asked that question.  In the article Reducing the Risk: Integrated Language Arts in Restructured Elementary Schools, he gives some good reason for putting more books in the hands of children:
"The work that children do in school does matter. There is probably no better measure of what children learn than an analysis of the kinds of tasks they are given.  If we fill their days with an array of assignments that require them primarily to locate and remember discrete bits of information, abstract rules, and isolated skills, we should not be surprised to find they experience difficulty when asked to complete work that would require evaluating, summarizing, contrasting, discussing, composing, enacting, or responding."
When I read that quote, I immediately thought of the Daily 5: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, and Word Work.  It doesn't say Cross Word Puzzles, Word Finds, Workbooks, or Matching Centers.  Children need to be practicing real reading in order to get better at real reading.  It makes sense, right?

I love Figure 1-1 Management: How We Have Evolved.  I can definitely relate to how I felt as a new teacher, not aware that students couldn't do something after the very first time I asked them.  One of the most powerful quotes for me was, "We wanted to change the atmosphere in our classroom and our own roles, from trying to 'manage' students, rushing around the room putting out fires, to creating routines and procedures that fostered independent literacy behaviors that were ingrained to the point of being habits," (page 9).  Isn't that what we all want?

Figure 1-4 The Daily Five Literacy Block gives us an example of how you would structure your lessons between whole group, small group, and independent work.  Here is another version of that from another district in Oregon.
via the North Clackamas School District
When you think about your classroom, is yours more like the first scenario in the chapter, the second, or somewhere in the middle?  Do you want to spend more time in meaningful conversations with students about reading and less time trying to get students to follow directions?

Grab my little freebie and start thinking about the habits you are ready to let go of as you join our journey through The Daily 5!  Link up your blog with thoughts about the Daily 5, or comment below and tell me your ideas!  I'll be back next Wednesday, June 20th, with Chapter 2!

Make sure to head on over to Mel D's blog to see her thoughts about chapter 1, as well!

Don't forget to stop by the Kindergarten Book Study
And also the Upper Elementary Book Study
We Read, We Blog, We Teach

Hey there! This is Gretchen from Always a Lesson educational blog. 
photo of Always a Lesson
I am so excited to write a guest blog post for Nicole from Teaching with Style. I am new to the blogging world and this is my very first guest blog! Thanks Nicole :)

I am very passionate about behavior management, but even more so about silent behavior management-the kind you can't see because everything is under control. The teacher who yells at her class to quiet down or children calling the shots in the room is not what I will be referring to. When you walk into a teacher's classroom and it is a well-oiled machine...that's behavior management. You think to yourself, "Gosh, I want to be like that. How does she/he do it?" You may think there are no visible signs of managing behavior and that the students are 100% angelic. That is not the case. The teacher has done a fabulous job creating a  strong classroom community built on trust and communication. Expectations were laid out, students follow the agreed upon rules, and receive rewards/consequences based on their ability to follow the desired expectation.

At the beginning of each school year, I reflect on the behavior successes and difficulties of the previous year’s class. I then set goals for the upcoming school year. I select specific strategies I want to implement and then I visualize how I want the actions to look as they are being carried out so that I can teach students step-by-step. It is very important that the first few weeks of school are spent introducing the expectations for behavior, demonstrating them for students, and having students repeatedly practice the actions. It may seem redundant while going through the process, but by spending large amounts of time upfront on behavior management, less time is spent during the year on corrections because students are aware of expectations, are held to a high standard, and act accordingly.

I want to share with you a few hand-picked strategies, mostly procedural expectations that translated into appropriate student behaviors throughout the school day.
Redirections happened most often in actions with a *
The most difficult procedure to maintain expectations is marked by **
Successful behavior management procedures are marked with a

If procedural behaviors were not followed according to the expectation set at the beginning of the year, the student records their behavior on a classroom street light. All students begin with their designated number not on the street light. Their first warning, they move their numbered clip to green, receive a note home, and five minutes off recess. After their second warning, students move their clip to yellow and receive a note home, 10 minutes off recess, and silent lunch. Lastly, if a student’s behavior continues to progress, they move their clip to red and receive a note home, 15 minutes off recess and the principal is contacted.

I believe in second chances. So, if a child has moved their clip but gets their behavior back on track throughout the day, I let them move their clip back one level. If I did not do this, students who struggle with behavior and move their clip early in the morning chalk their day up to a "loss" and continue to act out. However, by giving students an opportunity to try again, they are motivated to correct their behaviors.

It’s very important to set boundaries and limitations for children, especially in a classroom of 20+ students. The more children a classroom holds, the stronger the teacher's behavior management. Otherwise, chaos will easily ensue. Also, beginning the year stricter than your natural style is a good idea to set the standard for behavior expectations. As the year progresses and your relationship grows with your students, easing up a bit allows everyone to become themselves within the established boundaries. Remember, you are the leader in the classroom- establish that role early!

What is your behavior management style?
What procedures do you have in your class that keeps student behavior in line with expectations?