I’ve been working – really working – at the conferencing table for the last several session of D5 choice. Up until this point, I have been “fake working” — monitoring students without their knowledge — so as to regroup if and when stamina for an activity is broken. We are nearly pros with Read to Self now and becoming much more independent with Writing; just a few missteps in the “”work quietly” department.

Word Work is still a work in progress as is Read to Someone. The kids are getting very accustomed to setting their goals for independently working (hurrah!) and are starting to verbalize why we do what we do in the classroom (extra hurrah).

When I hear other educators talk about the Daily Five, it is often said that D5 is simply an organizational structure. Well, yes, there is that aspect. However, for me, the beauty, the benefit of working with this structure is the explicit guide for creating independent students – students who become responsible learners.

It is not enough for students to comply in school just because teacher “said so.” Think about it: when you were a kid, you were probably often told to just do something. When you didn’t understand the point of the activity or the routine, did you find it easy to remember and to comply? I didn’t.

Building stamina for independence has been a painfully slow process. It is natural to want to get the show on the road, to be able to get in the routines of the day – all of them – as quickly as possible.

Independent habits of mind take time. We are building our stamina this year and already the payback is becoming obvious.