Since the school year of 2014/15, we use the so-called Daily 5 method, also known as “Universal Design for Learning.” This method is based on an individual approach to the needs of each child. The children are taught from the 1st grade to take responsibility for their own progress in studying. Our goal is to provide students with the necessary skills and habits, as well as internal motivation, to enable them to learn independently. (in English this is called “self-directed learning”).
No group is completely homogeneous
Each student is strong in some areas of the subject and needs improvement in other areas – even within one subject. The most commonly used way of dealing with this is the so-called “middle-class teaching” method, where the class is targeted at an average-student-level in a given class or group. The result is a situation where the most advanced students are held back and the weakest have trouble keeping up. This situation also occurs in classes that are divided according to the level of the students’ abilities. None of the students are provided with exactly what they need and none of them can do it at their own pace.
Why did we start to use “The Daily 5” approach?
When we realized that in each group there were students of different levels, we started to look for a new methodology that would allow each student to proceed independently and at their own pace under the individual guidance of the teacher. The result of our search is a method known as “The Daily 5.” This method focuses on teaching language literacy with five different learning activities that students can do independently while the teacher either works with groups of two to four students or works with students individually. The Daily 5 includes the following activities:
Read-to-Self: Students read quietly to themselves according to their level of English to solidify their comprehension of sentence structure, expand their vocabulary, and improve their reading fluency.
Read-to-Someone: students work in pairs and read to one another to improve fluent speech, pronunciation, and listening skills.
Word Work: Students learn new words and their written form through various activities.
Listen to someone read: Students listen to stories read by many different native speakers to improve their ability to pronounce and understand spoken English.
The Daily 5 method allows each student to work at his or her own speed while the teacher takes to the side students or groups of two to four students and helps them all individually. Each student has the opportunity to proceed at his or her own pace and without worrying about whether he or she is considered better or worse than the others.
Why not start using The Daily 5 in groups that are divided up by levels of English?
A large amount of scientific research unanimously proves that if students feel weak their results will remain low. We also see this in our own practice: if children perceive that they are in a stronger or weaker group, it affects their approach to themselves and to others. Creating groups of students that are on different levels eliminates this useless and damaging idea that views some students as stupid and others as gifted.