Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Students of the Day

A while ago I pinned a picture of a classroom where the teacher labeled each row of desks with a day (shown below). The idea is that each row gets to be first at things all day on their day of the week. I thought this was a GREAT idea and I decided to run with it! One of the things I like the most about this is that I'm hoping it will eliminate the "They alllllllllllways get to go first".

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I definitely plan on using the idea of "Daily Friends" or "Students of the Day" this year in my classroom. I plan on grouping the students into days by reading group instead of row, to better fit my ideas. I am thinking of using all of the following as privileges for my Students of the Day:
  • Check books out of the class library in the morning: My students are only allowed to check books out of the class library to fill their book bins once a week. While I was subbing it drove me crazy watching students waste reading time perusing for books. I would watch students s-l-o-w-l-y walk over to the library, spend a couple minutes choosing a book, s-l-o-w-l-y walk back to where they were reading, flip through the CHAPTER book for about 2 minutes, and then start the whole process again. So, when I got my own class, I taught my students how to choose books that will last them a week right after teaching about good-fit books. This worked out wonderfully and I never had strays wandering around the library during reading time. I usually set a minimum and a maximum to assure that students have enough books, but not so many that they don't know what they have or spend all of their time switching up books and never actually finishing one. The minimum is usually something like at least 3 chapter books and 5 picture books or up to 4 chapter books if they didn't want any picture books. During the week this allows for the students to either be picky if they weren't in the mood to read a certain chapter book or to really buckle down and get lost in a good book of their choice without the constant feeling that they are missing out on something and have the need to check the library. Students knew that they could keep whatever books they weren't finished with when it was their day and just swap the ones they didn't want anymore.
  • Check books out of the school library during daily 5: My daily schedule is EXTREMELY tight and I don't have a lot of time for students to be in and out of the classroom all day. For that reason, the Students of the Day will be allowed to go to the school library to check out books during Read to Self or Read to Someone (depending what station they have) on their day of the week. Students are responsible for making sure they have returned all books by the time it is their day because there are no make-ups, they will just have to wait until the next week. I started this at the end of last year and it went extremely well. This is the reason I will group students for each day by reading group and not row. Since students will be visiting the library during Daily 5, and my reading groups rotate through Daily 5 stations together, I can assure that the entire group will leave and return together.
  • Sharing during morning meeting: I actually don't have time in the morning meeting for sharing (my morning schedule is jam-packed) so I am pulling out this element of the meeting to do at the end of the day. At the end of every day, the students of the day will get 2-3 minutes to share (either on a given topic, show and tell, or free choice) and when they are done they can pack up and call 4 other students to pack up as well. Then the next student will present and call 4 students, etc. Student bookbags are all located in one spot, so this will be a good way to avoid a stampede.
  • First in line
  • First to pick a seat on the front carpet during whole group time
  • Writing Conferences: Last year I tended to get overwhelmed and fall behind with my writing conferences because I always felt like there were so many students to meet with (I had 30) and I hadn't designated a specific time, so I was just squeezing them in. This year, thanks to Rachelle and this post at What the Teacher Wants, I plan on having students write in their journal for the first 20 minutes after the bell, every morning as morning work. During this 20 minutes, I will call the students of the day over one at a time and conference with them about their writing. I feel like this is going to work out great because I have a set time in my schedule for it and because I only have to see 4-5 students a day.
Below are some goodies for you to use if you like the idea of Students of the Day or if you already have a similar system. I like choice, so I included  a copy of everything that says "Student of the Day" and a copy that says "Daily Friends". Included in the freebie is: headers for a wall or bulletin board display, day of the week labels to place student names under, day of the week pages to write student names on, student bookmarks, passes, or necklace tags that remind students of their privileges for the day. You can download here. Enjoy!

If you are using something similar, I would love to hear how you manage this and what the privileges are. I am still forming my ideas so any information would help.

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