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?


  1. Have started it this term myself after reading the Daily 5 book from cover to cover and wondering the same things: what was I waiting for??? I laughed when I read what you said about your worries about changing the terms you have already used so successfully but my class just adapted as if it had always been a part of their vocab! We got splitters for headphones to use on one laptop so that we could use the other laptops still and I uploaded and shared my CD stories on iTunes (shared library) and this works a treat! Will look forward to reading how it all goes for you too!

  2. I currently have no listening materials. I know there are great websites for listening to stories. I have a couple of headphones. The splitter sounds like a good idea. I have 3 desktop computers. One is attached to the smartboard. The problem is managing 3 computers for listening and writing/blogging for 25 plus students! I have an old boom box with a CD player. I might need to check out the public library to see what they have in the way of audio-books. Thanks for commenting, it is very helpful to hear how other teachers do things in their classes.