Monday, August 27, 2012

Daily 5 and CAFE - A New Adventure Begins!

So last year I started to use the Daily 5.  Well, it was more like:  experiment and dabble with the concept.  I had read the book a few years back and was very intrigued, but filed the book on my shelf and decided the reading workshop method I was using worked fine.

Want to know what happened to make me change my mind and take the book off my shelf?

It's a little complicated, but here goes.  Over the last several years I have pulled away from doing so many guided reading groups and have begun conferring much more.  But with growing class sizes and only 1 reading workshop period available for conferring it would sometimes take me 2 weeks to meet with all my second graders.  And don't even talk to me about the pull outs for AIS and Speech and ESL and OT.  This was so frustrating.  The Daily 5 schedule would give me more time for conferring since I would have the whole literacy block to schedule conferences.  I also thought it might minimize the impact pull outs had on my very needy students.  Hmm.... this was sounding interesting.  I started to key into any twitter conversation about The Daily 5 and I started lurking around during the weekly #d5chat.

The next thing that happened to push me towards The Daily 5 was blogging.  Not me blogging, but the class blogging!  Lack of a computer lab and only a few computers in the class meant we couldn't blog as a whole class.  So, this is when my experiment began!

My Daily 5 3 Experiment

My students had 3 choices - Independent Reading, Blogging, and Word Study.  I stuck with the terms that I had used for years and had also introduced at the beginning of the year.  We only checked-in once, at our first meeting of the day.  Some days we only had 2 rounds, or sessions as my students called them.  I will just say - MY STUDENTS LOVED IT! And so did I!  It wasn't difficult to add the choices because my workshop was already up and running - my students worked independently and were building their stamina.  I realized these were things I had always done in my class!

What Next?

The beginning of a new school year is a week away!  I have decided to begin the year with The Daily 5... and call it The Daily 5. (I really never called it anything last year.)  I am worried about the Listen to Reading because of the lack of computers and because we use them for blogging...but I am just going to figure it out as we go!  My Work on Writing will primarily be blogging.  I am a bit hesitant about using the term Read to Self because for so many years I used the term Independent Reading.  I know it is weird, but I liked that my second graders understood the word and used the term regularly.  I also used this term because it was different than Free Choice reading in my class.  Free Choice was read anything you want, with anyone you want.  Independent reading was just-right or good fit books by yourself.  I have also done Partner Reading in the past - with assigned partners.  Last year I gave Read to Someone a try and my students liked it and did well - we just never incorporated it into the choices.


I bought The Cafe Book last week and read it from cover to cover.  What was I waiting for???!!! Fabulous book, even if you don't use The Daily 5 or CAFE.  I was already posting the strategies I taught (or trying), and I had been using Beanie Baby reading strategies that I had found posted online years ago.  So, using CAFE is a natural progression for me.  The added bonus is I will have lots of support from my PLN on twitter and I have purchased a years subscription to

So, I am excited to begin the Daily 5 and CAFE officially.  The Bulletin Board is ready to go.  And my conferring notebook is undergoing a makeover this evening!

Do you use the Daily 5 or CAFE in your classroom?  Are you considering reading the books or using The Daily 5 or CAFE?  Do you have any suggestions or questions?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Goals for the New School Year

A couple of weeks ago Louise (@frugalteacher) tweeted about her New School Year Resolutions and announced a Link up party at her website, The Frugal Teacher.  I always look back on the last school year and set goals for myself for the upcoming new year.  But I like the idea of sharing it publicly, so here goes!

1. Blogging - Last year I started blogging - both in and out of the classroom.  Here at A Mostly Rosy Outlook my goal is to post more frequently.  Last year I started Mrs. Rosenquist's Classroom Blog and it was a learn as you go type of situation.  I would like to increase our blog traffic and the amount of comments we get too.  And of course continue to find authentic and meaningful ways to incorporate our blog into our daily class routines and curriculum.  I also need to write some posts about my blogging experiences!!!

2. Daily 5 - I read the book several years ago, and last year I finally started to experiment with using the Daily 5.  When I say experiment, it was more like dabbling - but I liked it and so did my students.  I need to learn more and work it better.  I don't know anyone in my district that uses the Daily 5 or has heard of it - so I need to connect more with other educators in my PLN.  I subscribe to The Sisters website (the free part), but I am considering purchasing a subscription.  I need to buy the CAFE book!!!  I need to write some posts about how I am doing the Daily 5 too!

3. Skype - It was a goal last year, but all I did was sign up for skype - hope I remember my password.  I have to figure this out and do it!  Do I hook up the webcam to my smartboard or use a desktop computer?  This is a must-do this year!!!!

4. Remember to take care of myself and enjoy what I do - Yes, I needed to make this a goal!  Taking care of myself means regular exercise and eating well.  Sometimes I am too tired after school to go to Zumba - but I always feel better once I go!  When I exercise regularly I can handle the stresses of teaching and life -which helps me to be a kinder friend, wife, mother, teacher, and colleague.  And I need to remember that I love teaching - it is an honor and privilege to work with my students and their families - I need to remember this and not let the current climate regarding teachers and public education get me down!

So there's my goals for the upcoming 2012-13 school year!  What do you think of them?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Picture Book 10 for 10 Event

It's time for my TOP TEN PICTURE BOOKS post!  Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning along with Cathy at Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community are sponsoring August 10 for 10 Picture Books Event (#pb10for10).  This is the second year that I am participating and I am very excited because this year I have my own blog to post my picks on - last year I used google docs.

Some of these books are newer and others have been around awhile.  I am sure that given this task next week or next month my list would definitely change!  Either way, these ten books will definitely be read and reread in my second grade classroom during the upcoming school year.

Pete the Cat, Rocking in My School Shoes written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean.

I just LOVE books that I can sing!  In this book Pete the Cat visits different areas of his school - all while "rocking in his school shoes".  I read sang this book to my students at the beginning of the school year.  It never stayed on the shelf for the first 2 months of school.  You could always find a group of students sitting or laying on the carpet reading singing the story.  I can't wait to get a copy of Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons!

Enemy Pie written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King

Want to know the perfect ingredient for getting rid of your number one enemy?  Then read Enemy Pie.  A great story about making friends, told with humor and even some suspense.  My students love guessing all the possible gross and horrible ingredients that might be in the pie.  My students love this book.  There is even a Reading Rainbow episode that features the book narrated by Ed Harris.
Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Masse

So what is a reversible poem?  First, you read it forward.  Then you read it backwards and it's a new poem!  Awesome and clever!  These reverso poems are all related to familiar fairy tales which my second graders love.  When I first introduced the book, I chose 2 or 3 poems to read because I thought the rest of the poems might be too advanced.  Was I wrong!  This books was constantly off the shelf during partner or free choice reading and students often asked to read some of the poems aloud to the class.

Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is an author that I use constantly in my classroom.  His books are well written and I use them as mentor texts in both reading and writing workshop.  But most of all my students love his characters and can relate to their problems.  I chose Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse because of the theme of forgiveness.  Lilly loves her teacher and when she gets in trouble for playing with her purse at school she gets so angry at her teacher she writes a mean note.  I think it is a great book to help talk about doing something that you regret and the act of forgiveness.

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

Another author I just love!!  It was so hard to choose one of her books, but The Keeping Quilt has a special place in my heart because I was fortunate enough to hear Ms. Polacco tell the story herself (without the book) while holding the quilt.  By the end of the story I was crying.  She is a great storyteller - in person or through her books.  And her illustrations are so full of emotions.

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Mr. Bear is looking for his hat.  Who took his hat?  How does he get it back?  What a fabulously funny, and delightful book.  The illustrations are very clever and definitely help tell the story.

Never Smile At A Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember by Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins illustrations are stunning - he uses cut and torn paper collage.  He has a collection of wonderful non-fiction books that I highly recommend.  This book describes a variety of animals and their unique way of protecting themselves or catching prey- which may be dangerous to humans.  Great way to introduce adaptation.

The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

What happens when a fuzzy tennis ball bounces down a prairie dog hole?  A great big fuzz frenzy!  This story is so hilarious and the little prairie dogs are so endearing. There is lots of clever dialogue and I love doing different voices as I read the story.  The best part is when my students start laughing so much they make me start laughing too.  A perfect read aloud full of descriptive language.  A great little story with a big message of sharing, teamwork and community.

Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Annabelle finds a box of yarn that appears to be magical.  She knits herself a sweater and then goes on to knit for her little town - the people, animals, buildings, etc.  But then an evil and greedy archduke steals the yarn for himself, only to find out the magic yarn doesn't work for him!  I haven't read this book to my students yet - I look forward to sharing it with them.

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival written by Kirby Larson & Mary Nethery and illustrated by Jean Cassels

This is the true story of Bobbi the dog and Bob Cat - 2 pets that were abandoned during the Hurricane Katrina evacuation.  When the animals are finally rescued after roaming the streets of New Orleans rescuers soon realize that the dog is blind and has been relying on Bob Cat to survive.  Very touching story.  Great non-fiction read aloud - reads like a story.

So that's my top ten for this year.  I look forward to reading all the other blog post and their top tens!

Have you read these books?  How do you use them in your classroom?

What are your favorite picture books?