Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Let's Try Daily 5

If you follow my blog, you may remember that I had started reading the Daily 5 book. Well, during airplane time of April vacation (mostly because no matter how early a flight is I can't sleep) I not only finished Daily 5, but I also read the CAFE book.

I NEVER write type this much, so sorry in advance...

I highly recommend these books to ALL teachers, but especially teachers like myself who are questioning the value of literacy centers, guided reading and even their literacy block in general. I know it's only my second full year of teaching, but especially this year I found myself asking how meaningful center work is for my students. I hated that it seemed center work was more of a "keep them quiet while you meet with reading groups" rather than activities that were truly making my students better readers and writers. Sure my centers have been differentiated since day one, and sure most of the activities were an extension, re-application or second/third exposure to work we were doing in the classroom, but it just felt like I wasn't making the best of my students' time. Plus, it's A LOT of work to organize 8-10 centers every week and a half or so (I always have had enough centers so no more than 3 students were at each).

So long story short (or not so short), this is when I decided Daily 5 HAD to be the way to go! One of my FAVORITE teachers, and former across-the-hall-mate started it this year and LOVES it! And well, I stole borrowed a lot from her last year, including my beloved WBT, so she had to be on the right track! Here's her CAFE board...

It gets even better though... I start talking to one of my grade level partners and he is also fed up with centers as well as guided reading... and he wants to try Daily 5 next year too! (It keeps getting better!) So I tell our super awesome, super supportive principal (who used to be a reading teacher) about our idea and she LOVES IT and suggests at our next grade level meeting that we should do a "book study" in lieu of grade level meetings for the next month and ORDERS US ALL THE BOOKS! AND our other grade level partner also LOVED the idea! We even got to spend our most recent PD session watching Daily 5 and CAFE videos... so cool! AND we are going to visit my beloved, used to be across-the-hall-mate (mentioned above) next month to see how she runs Daily 5! Ahhh life is good in second grade land at our school, that is for sure!

But wait, there's more! Another favorite teacher of mine, who I met through my grad program, but happens to work in the same district as me, just started Daily 5 over the past few weeks with her grade level team, and our principals want us to collaborate, hooray! Here's her adorable clip in system for Daily 5 in her room. I know she got them for free on TPT, but I'm not sure from which TPT store... sorry :(

Here's my lame-o system at the moment, since I haven't had time to get anything laminated... grr! I don't have read to someone open currently, it's on the flipped around sentence strip. The sentence strips are just to remind students their choices, I'm not having them clip in or anything right now.

I'm having my kiddos make a choice and I keep track on a clipboard so I know where they go. I think even if I move to a clip in system, I would still want to keep track in some way so I know where they are going and making sure they are definitely doing Read to Self every day. But all those details I don't mind waiting until next year to figure out!

I introduced Read to Self as "SSR during our normal center time"... the kiddos picked up on it quickly and easily!

I used my old center bins for word work bins with different spelling word choices in each bin. This was easy for my kids to transition to as we have always had a spelling center. I told my kiddos word work was different spelling centers, which made for an easy start to these! I am letting 2 kids work per bin right now. If you've seen pictures of my classroom before, you know next year (or sooner) these bins will be much cuter! I'm also trying to decide if I want one bin per student to limit the temptation to chat with whoever they are sharing their bin with.

Unfortunately, I don't have a listening center in my class (or many books on tape/CD for if I did) so Listen to Reading is called Read on the Computer for the time being. My students can work on Lexia and Successmaker during this time. I am not sure what I will do for next year.

Finally, my kiddos are able to work on any of the writing in their writer's notebook or writing folder during Work on Writing. Next year, I'm considering melding my writer's workshop into Daily 5, so my kiddos work on whatever our writing mini-lesson was about that day. Any thoughts from teachers who use Daily 5 in their rooms?

In addition to launching a modified Daily 5 in my room over the past few weeks (keep in mind, we don't have book boxes, we haven't done all the explicit lessons for each daily 5, etc.) I'm testing the waters of CAFE strategy grouping and individual conferences. I have to say I LOVE individually conferencing with kiddos and helping them to set goals SO much more than typical guided reading. The cool thing though is the CAFE strategies (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Extending Vocabulary) can be used in typical guided reading too, which is what my beloved former across-the-hall-mate does. My kiddo here is practicing the CAFE Comprehension skill of summarizing with his independent reading book using sticky notes at the end of each chapter.

I am not sure for next year that I want to completely divorce the guided reading setting, and perhaps will do "book clubs" certain days of the week or have my amazing para do book clubs (she already takes reading groups and skill groups for me... like I said, amazing!). No matter what I decide for the rest of this year or how Daily 5 and CAFE look in my room next year, I really hope you'll join me on this journey as I figure out how Daily 5 and CAFE will fit into my classroom life for the rest of this year and next year!

Do you use Daily 5 and/or CAFE in your room? What are some of the pros/cons you find?

Teach Run photo ScreenShot2013-07-29at32149PM_zps10463e60.png


  1. I use Daily 5 and I loooooove what it's done for my kiddos this year! I don't have much to compare it to, because I only ever taught PreK before, but they've made so much personal progress, and I have parents telling me their kids are motivated to read like they've never seen before! I'm constantly working out what I want to do differently during my D5 time, what I like, what I don't like and what works/what doesn't, but I do know I love it! :o)

    Munchkins Inc.

    1. Thanks for the comment! Glad to hear so much love for D5! I'd love to see future posts by you on how D5 works in your room :)


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