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July 1, 2012

Daily 5 - Book Study, My Class, and Currently

The entire month of June I have been anxiously awaiting the beginnings of the book study about Daily 5 and CAFE.  Today, the day finally arrived.  Last year I started Daily 5 in November in my classroom.  I had never heard about it before that point, and I rushed to download the Kindle version.  I stayed up super late that same night reading (it was the weekend, I believe I finished at 3am), and realized that I really should have gone out to buy the "real" paperback book since I wanted to make notes and highlight.  It was exactly what I needed in my classroom, as my dream was to be able to work more directly with individual students that really needed help, in addition to those students that need the extra challenges.  I hurried to digest it all and put it into practice that next week of school.

What I had to learn (so I didn't go crazy):

*I had to realize that it is a structure that I could alter.  
*I had to know that my curriculum did work in this new structure.
*I had to be able to trust my students.

After I realized all that stuff about myself and my classroom, I got working to create an environment that had room for a carpet area and a CAFE board (which turned into both a CAFE board and a VOICES board).  Now, I've never really had my 4th graders sit on the floor before for whole class lessons.  Turns out they loved it (as long as they had enough leg room). This coming year my reading library and carpet area will be on the far side of the classroom, as far from the door as possible.  I'm excited about the new arrangement.

For my CAFE board, I turned it around a bit to create a FACE board instead.  Same letters, but I changed it to being "The FACE of a Reader".  I used student pictures as a border around the board.  Since I started in November, and they aren't completely new readers (like primary), I started with all the different strategies that were accessible to them.  Something I'm changing for this coming year is reviewing each strategy at a time and sticking them up as I introduce them.  (Basically I cut the dicuts off my posters and they are in a stack ready to go when school starts up again.)  As you can see in the picture, I used the pink post it notes to highlight the different strategies that our OCR focused on in the text.  These changed on a weekly basis.  

Creating a schedule was probably the most frustrating of it all.  I learned that it was okay to split up the time of Daily 5 to be both before lunch and after.  I learned it was okay to keep doing some of the lessons together whole class, and that I didn't have to try to fit in 5 different times in a day.  I tried doing small groups with our extra long stories and it just didn't work - there was no time for me to meet with everyone in a single day unless we were working together.  Now I use the choice time to meet with small groups and work on intervention.  I think that was how it was meant to be.

Basically how it ended up in my classroom was 4 sections of time, 2 of which I was telling them what they needed to do, and 2 of their choice.  Things changed by the day - Mondays we have a short day, so we didn't have time to do as much as the other days.

Here's a breakdown of what we basically did with our time schedule:
ELA starts at 11:00 (Math was before, S.S. and Science were after)
11:00-11:10 Focus Lesson #1 - Spelling/Vocabulary/Comprehension strategy (sometimes using their OCR workbooks)
11:10-11:40 Whole Class story lesson
Mondays - Preview and Vocabulary
Tuesday - Read and Discuss
Wednesdays - Read to Someone and Listen to Reading (mp3 players)
Thursday - Review story
Fridays - Test time
11:40-11:50 Focus Lesson #2 - Writing skill/another comprehension - I started my VOICES writing board since it went in the same type of format as Daily 5.
11:50-12:15 Choice #1 
12:15-12:55 Lunch
12:55-1:05 Class Read Aloud - this was instead of Focus Lesson #3
1:05-1:30 Read to Self - Whole Class
1:30-1:40 Focus Lesson #4 - an area the class was struggling with, and a quick debrief about what they learned
1:40-2:00/2:10 - Choice #2

So basically their choices were:
*Work on Writing (We started their writing in class assignment on Mondays, and had to be done with it by Friday.)  After they were done with it they had options of other things they wanted to work on.
*Word Work - Scrabble, Code Words, adding Boggle this next year, Mad Libs - I pulled out different choices for the week.
*Finishing up Story maps, Reading logs, AR tests
*Read to Self (they could do more)
*Read to Someone - I saved that for Wednesday's story and Friday's Read to Self time
*Listen to Reading/Computer Time (mp3 players, Internet4Classrooms)

What I worked with them on:
*Reading one on one
*Comprehension questions
*Specific standards/focus intervention
*Now!board with a small group
*Checking in with their books

I started this post because I don't know if anyone else is interested in starting Daily 5 in their classroom next year.  There are many resources online as well to help us all out.  If you do a search for it on Pinterest, so many options come up too.  If you want to hop on over to the blog ( to join in on the discussion, I hope you also will get something out of it.  

Farley is doing a linky party for Currently July, so here's mine:
1.  I love Karen Kingsbury - I really love ALL HER BOOKS!  I couldn't pick just one.  She is an inspirational author, and loves the Lord.  I wish I could meet her one day.
2.  Lately, because it's summer and I really wanted a refresher before school starts up I chose the Daily 5/CAFE books.  Even though I tweak it for my own classroom, I still enjoy rereading them.  

There are rules to follow if you choose to do this link up.  Last time was my first, and I shouldn't have done it so late at night holding my snoring toddler.  No excuses though, I didn't follow the rules.  =/  I hope you all forgive me, and I'm trying to do better this time around.  

Happy Reading!


  1. I just found your blog through Farley's Currently, and I **love** your blog title! Enjoy the time with your kiddos.
    Hello Mrs Sykes

    1. Thanks! I'm trying to enjoy all the moments with my boys. They tend to go from best friends to worst enemies pretty quickly... =)

  2. I definitely need to get me some exercise as well! And a nap would have been great today too :) I love all your great info about Daily 5. I'm thinking about starting it this year as well! I bet it's totally different in the fourth grade classroom!

    Miss A's Kindergarten

    1. The problem with naps is that I can never sleep at night... so I only dream about them, never take them. =(

  3. Do your boys like Star Wars? Everything I learned about SW, I learned from my sons. I've even become a fan! Enjoy your summer!

    Teaching with Moxie

    1. My boys love Star Wars. I just can't get into the whole science fiction thing... I've really tried. Maybe someday...

  4. Thanks for sharing how you do Daily5/Cafe. The scheduling part of it seems tricky, but it looks like you have a great handle on it!

    New follower! =)

    Third Grade in the First State

    1. I don't know if I have a good handle on it. I hope that I do. I just seem to find myself commenting a bunch on the We Read, We Blog, We Teach post today answering questions. I learned so much last year from trial and error. It made such a big difference in my classroom though. =)

      Thanks for coming over to visit, and welcome!

  5. Hi Emilly! Welcome to blogland!! :) I'm a new follower & hope you'll come follow me as well...I'm actually hosting a giveaway right now for my readers! My school doesn't use the Daily 5 or Cafe model but there are a LOT of people out there who do...and I can still borrow good thanks for the post! :)

    Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten

    1. No one else at my school used it either last year. The ideas behind it helped out a lot.

      Your blog is adorable!

  6. I need to go exercise too!!

    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class
    I hope that you'll join me for my giveaway ♥

  7. I found your blog through Farley's Currently. I can't wait to begin the Daily 5 this school year. I have been working on my room arrangement. Thanks for your tips! I am a new follower.


  8. I've been enjoying browsing your blog. It's great and is giving me lots of ideas. Question about your CAFE "Face of a Reader" board: I love the little "notebook pages" you use to write on. Did you make them or were you able to download them from somewhere? I really love your board and would like to use the notebook idea. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas about Daily 5 as well as in general. Mike

    1. Wow - thanks for the compliment. =) I actually found those notebook dicuts at Target last Fall. They were in a set in the clearance bin.... dicuts of notebooks, pencils, and globes for 60 cents a package. I bought everything I could find of those and my super thick border (that I don't have a picture of yet). I'm sorry that I don't have a link to share with you.

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  10. I just stopped by to say that I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog! I found you through the link party at on Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!

    I wanted to nominate you for the The One Lovely Blog Award!

    Lisa @ Tales of an Education Major

    (Sorry if you've already been nominated, I'm new to the blogging scene, and I'm trying to get this all figured out!) =)

    1. Thank you so much! Isn't blogging fun? I have learned so much from everyone.

  11. If I could, this comment applies to ALL of yours posts I have read....YOU are AWESOME! Your writing is clear and easy to understand. I am also a fourth grade teacher (just starting my 5th year!) and your posts have helped me see how another teacher is approaching the same topics as me. Basically, I just want to say THANKS!! :)

    1. Thank you so much. Your comment means a lot. :)


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