Daily 5 Differentiation

25 September 2015

Daily 5 Differentiation

Daily 5 is a wonderful tool to use in your classroom, but let’s be honest, this is when the behavior problems are more than likely to come out of their shells, students aren’t making good fit book choices, and you wonder if some are really even benefiting from the time spent working independently.

I’ve been there! I’m not knocking the sisters by any means (OMG aren’t they brilliant), but what works for them and many others, just wasn’t working for me. Maybe I was doing something wrong I don’t really know, but I found a way to put an end to the madness so that I could meet with the students and groups that I needed to meet with.

 Last year was the first year that I learned about tic-tac-toe boards from a professional development at our school. The tic-tac-toe boards are a wonderful tool for differentiation. When I first learned about differentiation I thought that it must be teaching students instruction on their level. Yes, but it is also so much more! You are not only teaching them instruction on their level, but true differentiation is teaching them instruction through their learning preferences as well. 

There is a ton of research that indicates that when students have the power of choice they are more likely to stay on task with fewer behavior incidences, the students take responsibility of their own learning, and high achieving and low achieving students can benefit from taking learning into their own hands and having the opportunity to have one-to-one support from the teacher.

I used these tic-tac-toe boards last year, and I am happy to say that it was the most successful year in Daily 5 out of all 4 of my classes. I set up my whiteboard so that they could make their choice in the morning using their magnet. They only make their choice one time. After each round, their magnet stays in the spot they chose, but I will switch the round magnets. I really switch it up so that they have no clue what they are getting next.

Once the round is picked and we begin, students would take out their Daily 5 folder and choose the appropriate tic-tac-toe board according to their particular round. They would choose an activity from that tic-tac-toe board.

I had a laminated copy for each individual student, but if you cannot afford to laminate or copy that many, then I recommend creating 6 and laminating for each round. That way, the students in that round can reuse it.

The thing I loved most about this was that I didn’t have to hold the students accountable for completing their work. They just did it! Many were happy to have some guidance on what they should be doing, and all of them were happy they had options!

If you wanted to hold the students accountable and keep track of their progress, I would recommend keeping a scoreboard somewhere in your classroom. I have them as a FREEBIE here.

I have some more in depth tic-tac-toe boards for Word Work and Work on Writing that included activities for visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners and went through the whole range of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Check them out and let me know how you like them.

I hope you get inspired with these and use them for your classroom. Your kids will be so happy you did! Read more about differentiation here.

-Sarah Barnett

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