Saturday, July 14, 2012

Debbie Diller Still Rocks!

I have spent the past 2 days at one of Debbie's conferences. She comes here every summer. I went a few years back, but wanted to get her take on the new math workstation book she published last year. She was also supposed to talk about adding rigor to workstations--you know I love rigor!!!!! :)

I know many people have jumped on the Daily 5 bandwagon in lieu of stations, and I've read the books and I can see how it could be effective, especially in primary/intermediate grades. But I struggle with how to effectively implement it in early childhood. Last year for example, I had one student out of 25 who started the year being able to read any words at all. Only about 40% of them knew their letters and sounds. I know they can do "read to self" and "read with a partner" by retelling, picture walks, etc. But I just find being able to move around to various workstations, getting that practice in all areas of reading, is a much more effective use of time in our class. 

I learned some new tips and got reminded of some things I knew I should be doing, but somehow there just aren't enough hours in a day. One of my favorite math activities was having a pic of someone the kids relate to like *sigh* Justin Beiber and having them count colored  unifix cubes for vowels and consonants. So Justin Beiber would equal 5 red and 7 blue-how many letters altogether--to practice math facts.

I love her spunk. She was even talking to the administrators in the room like she says she did when she was in the classroom--everything has be what's best for the students. If your administrators tell you to have your stations set up the 1st week-tell them to come do it for you-they'll see that's just not an effective plan. If you are required to use a basal reader, that's fine, but supplement with literature and poetry and all the things you know are important for your kiddos.

Even though it was how I spent my first official days of summer vacation (take that people who say we teach for our summers off!)--I was glad I attended. I'm inspired now to get organized!


  1. This is a great post, I too struggled with how to implement daily 5 with kiddos who don't read yet. I did some adjusting amd made things work for me. I teach Pre-K and had 14 students last year. I started off by showing them ,repeatedly, how to do each "station" as a whole group. We would all read to self at the same time starting with 2 minutes and building to 15. When reading groups came around in January the class was all set to move through each area quietly and knew what was expected of them. I love daily 5 for pre-k with some adjustments and I also think Debbie Dilleer is awesome, wish she came to my city!

    1. Thanks for your comment Christine. I'm so glad you make it work for you-sounds like you are creating really successful readers! :)

  2. I absolutely LOVE Debbie Diller! I wish I could go to one of her conferences! I tried the Daily 5 & it simply did not work with my population of students. No one comes into my classroom reading, knowing letters, or even colors & shapes. Most have not had ANY lap reading time until they have gotten read to by me. They enter my door at about a 3 year old level, so I have found that work stations work great for me & my students. I just love how I can give them activities that are developmentally appropriate & help them make up for lost time! Thanks for this post! Sorry my comment is so long winded! ;)

    Jen's Kinder Kids

    1. Thanks for commenting! It's sad isn't it. I gave a set of the Pigeon books to a friend's 4-year old at his birthday party (because my students just love them). And he made a face when he opened them and just threw them aside. My friend explained-we don't really read with him, he likes movies, not books. :0 I have so many fond memories of my mom reading to us-it just surprises me kids today don't get that experience at all. (I ended up long-winded too! :)

  3. I love that Justin Bieber idea! And now I'm your newest follower!

    Joell (who can't believe she used "love" and "Justin Bieber" in the same sentence!
    Totally Terrific Teaching

  4. I'm so jealous! I love Debbie Diller! I purchased her math stations book earlier in the summer and have been working to get it ready to implement when we go back in a few weeks.

    I'm loving your blog! I'm headed to your archives now to learn more about rigor especially in writing. I don't feel like I do a good job teaching writing.

    Strive to Sparkle