Developing engaged and independent learners by personalizing instruction and encouraging student choice.

by Mohsen Ghaffari

Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8


I have been influenced by a method called “The Daily 5” that was created by two author-educators, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. The Daily 5 is like a menu. It’s based on comprehension, fluency, accuracy, and expanding vocabulary.

The Daily 5 menu is five choices for kids :

-Reading to self,

-Reading to someone else,

-Working on their writing,

-Listening to reading, and

-Doing word work.

My role is to start on day one and gradually build stamina in students who are able to eventually spend fifteen to twenty minutes on independent and uninterrupted work that they choose. Periodically, I bring the kids back together to introduce or continue a lesson after which they return to their independent work. This then, frees me up to spend time in conference with individual students as needed.


What I did well…

In this piece, I thought I was very effective in communicating the value of individualized instruction for students of different ability. I used the Daily Five concept using the two books, and introduced it well to my audience. Each component of the Daily Five, the reasons, the how, and examples were communicated well. The purpose of this was to show how important it is to build these strategies and the concepts for the kids using the first twenty days of school as practice. Students will become familiarized with the appropriate use of the strategies and the inappropriate behavior during each part of the daily five. This practice will give them the understanding of why and stamina to choose each strategy to work toward their own individualized literacy goal.

What I would do more, or differently…

I think I would have liked to demonstrate a few of the specific strategies during each Daily Five. Knowing the strategies and seeing how each is taught and implemented could be very helpful for the teachers. Of course buying the book and reading through it is essential to know the Daily Five and the research behind it.

I still want to grow this practice by…

I am still reading and researching ways to improve my own ability to teach the writing process across curriculum. This past year, I modified the listen to reading part of the Daily Five by adding Listen to writing. My goal was for students to be able to listen and peer review each other’s writing. I am happy with the changes and the modifications. But I am still growing and hoping to learn more about writing component of it.

About Mohsen Ghaffari

Mr. Ghaffari was born and raised in Iran. His mother planted the love of teaching and education in his heart. When he graduated from high school, i...

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