The First 20 Days

Resources for Back-to-School

Framing Conversation

It can take from four to six weeks for students to learn how to work on specific tasks without your guidance. The resources on this wiki-space can be used to help you organize and frame the conversation during those first crucial weeks of school; often referred to as "The First Twenty Days".

Fostering Literacy Independence

Our goal is simple: Create independent learners. Even after the lessons of the first twenty days, it is important to keep in mind that practice alone is not sufficient to build the kind of reading and writing competnecies school and work demands. Every decision we make matters!

Consider these critical factors, and check out the literacy wiki-space for more details!
  1. Quantity
  2. Time
  3. Variety
  4. Choice
  5. Fluency
  6. Conversation

The Daily 5: Choices in the Classroom

The Daily 5 in Kindergarten

Check out this educator's blog about how the "Daily 5" works in her classroom. Her students are given options of what they would like to work on that day, including: reading to self, reading to a buddy, listening to a book, word work, and writing. At the first sign of undesirable behavior, students finish their Daily 5 work for the day, and return to it the next day. This builds stamina in the children, and by the end of the year, her kindergarteners are able to work for 20 minutes independently!

Watch the daily 5 in action

Daily Five Room 32

Download the Writing Workshop to gain an understanding for developing and following writing workshop routines.

The beginning of a new school year often involves discussion and/or modeling of procedures, behaviors, and classroom expectations. Reading Workshop also requires this same earnest and intentional effort as we establish norms for the classroom to ensure success for each student. Building a "reading community" in which students are independent is more likely when routines and procedures are purposeful and meaningful to students. Included are links to a variety of primary and intermediate examples of Reading Workshop mini-lessons with an emphasis on direct instruction of those procedures students need to have in place before they can truly begin to grow as readers. Click here for resources!

Launch Lessons from Wachusett Regional School District

Focus lessons familiarize students with the routines, behaviors, and habits of mind that will promote successful independent reading throughout the year. Sample launch lessons are included. Modify these lessons as necessary to match your particular grade level and the needs of your students. Review launch lessons throughout the year to remind students of behaviors and routines.

Twitter Hashtags

For more resources, and to chat with fellow educators, check out these Twitter hashtags.

  • #daily5
  • #first20days

Angela Maiers

Angela is the founder and President of Maiers Education Services, a consulting firm headquartered in Clive, Iowa. Her company provides just-in-time consultation services to schools, organizations, and individuals seeking to use technology and social media to leverage human capital and production goals.

Previously, Angela spent twenty years as an educator, passionately pursuing literacy and learning.