About 5 1/2 years ago, my best friend called me up and said "Jess, you have to see if your principal will let you come to my school and see this!" We had worked together for a couple of years in first grade. We taught side-by-side and loved to plan, work and teach together. We have been friends since we were about 2 years old. So, pretty much, we could finish each others sentences. Unfortunately, our school was closed down, due to budget cuts. We were sent to two different schools, but that didn't stop us from talking shop. She went on to tell me about The Daily 5 by The 2 Sisters-Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. Long story short, I went to my principal, and he not only said yes, but said take it as a professional development day and get a sub. Woohoo! was what I was thinking, but out loud I only said--Thank you.
So I went up to her school, and got to travel to many 1st and 2nd grade rooms, where Daily 5 was alive and kicking. I was hooked! I drank the "kool-ade" I couldn't get enough of it. I went on to Amazon.com that night, and ordered The Daily Five and The Cafe Book.
I don't know about you by, when I read a good book, I can't put it down. I stayed up late into the night when Twilight first came out and didn't think a teaching book would be the same. Well I was wrong. I felt like Gail and Joan were my friends, colleagues or buddies for years. Having been in the classroom about 13 year at the time, I pretty much have my own style or ways of doing things. But after reading their book, my only thought was, "I wish I had this when I first began teaching". I told my Principal and A.P all about my experience. My Principal, being a wonderful person, said "OK, I'm going to order the books, and you are going to do a Learning Community--see who wants to join." [paraphrased] Well, basically about 20 teachers, from K-2 all got involved. It was wonderful and great and fun. We read the book, chatted and got to see how other people incorporated Daily 5 into their Classrooms.
If you have not read The Daily 5 and are expected to have Differentiated Reading Groups/Instruction, you need to read this book. It is one of the best "Teaching" books I've read, because it gives explicit reasons, and training for you and your students.
They also have a great web-site with free ideas and if you want, you can also pay to become a member. http://www.thedailycafe.com/
If you do get a chance to read it this summer, please come back and let me know what you think!