Thursday, June 20, 2013

ThrowBack Thursday...My Most Popular Post (Daily 5: Where to Begin)

I have debated all day whether or not to link up in the Throwback Thursday Linky. I wasn't sure I should since I pretty much took 10 months off from blogging. But I figured I would and I'm going to start with my most popular post.

My most popular post is my Daily 5 and CAFE: Where to Begin. I thought now is the perfect time to reflect on this.

Here is my original post from August 2012.


Some of my colleagues and I met at school today to discuss Daily 5 and CAFE. No one at our school has implemented the management system before and several of us are going to try this coming year.

We met in my room so that everyone could see how I had set up my Daily 5 and CAFE boards. Even though I have been at the school for 2 years, this is going to be my first year as a permanent resident!!! Yay! I love that I got to share all the research and items I had found and made with everyone!

I thought since it went well at school today and I hopefully helped everyone understand it better, that I should do a post about it for other newbie Daily 5 and CAFE users.

Here it is....

First, I shared my set up of the Daily 5 board. I posted earlier that I purchased the headers from Kylie at Down Under Teacher.

Up at the top I have the choice Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Word Work. Down below I have Listen to Reading, Read with Teacher, and Work on Writing. The Read with Teacher choice is not an original choice in the Daily 5 book by the"The Sisters". However, down below you will see why I think it is important to include that choice.

This is a close up of how I'm going to have the rotation work in my classroom. I only have enough time for three rotations. Each little will have a clip with their name on it for each chain. Sorry I haven't done that yet. I will post a picture later that shows exactly what I mean.

When my littles walk into the classroom each morning, one of their morning procedures will be to make their Daily 5 choices. However, one choice will possibly be chosen for them. If I plan on meeting with a guided reading group or a strategy group, their clip will already by on the Read with Teacher. So that little will really only have two other choices to make.

I am also going to require that each little picks Read to Self once per day. So really some littles might have just one choice to make for that day.

Here is my CAFE board...

I haven't had a chance to put up the goal papers for the post-it notes yet, but they will be up. This board is behind my reading table so that it can be referred to during guided and strategy groups.

Here is a close up (Sorry for the glare.) ...

Ok, now here is the best part and what my colleagues all wanted copies of. I have spent hours and hours and hours thinking and planning, thinking again and planning again on how to begin the Daily 5 and CAFE process. I'm not going to lie, I have shed some tears trying to figure this out. At one point I felt like giving up, but I didn't and I am soooooooooo glad that I didn't!

First, using the Daily 5 and CAFE book, I planned out a possible schedule as to what it would look like in my classroom. I wanted to still use guided reading groups because it is part of the reading program in my district so I had to think of a way to use guided reading and strategy groups.

Everyday of the week I will give three mini lesson each day. But the instruction I give to my small groups will look different daily.

On Mondays and Fridays, I plan on having strategy groups and student conferences.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday, I plan on have guided reading groups.

Some of my littles might get small group instruction more days than others because I might have a little in a guided reading group and a strategy group. Remember, strategy groups are to used to provide instruction to littles that need extra coaching on a specific goal and strategy. During a strategy group, each little will be reading their own "just right" book. Whereas, my guided reading groups every little will be reading the same book and at their "just right" or instructional level. Whew, hopefully that makes sense. :/

Click here to get a copy of my general Daily 5 and CAFE schedule.

The next item that I created and shared today was my Where to Begin Mini Lessons. For me, the hardest part was trying to figure out how I was going to start the process in my classroom. (This is where I shed the tears :(.) I have created a general plan of my first series of mini lessons. Once I get into the classroom I may find that this is not going to work. But it is a STARTING PLACE, and I love having something in front of me to look at and know that I always have a back up.

Click here for the Where to Begin Mini Lessons.

I'd like to give a shout-out to Jessica Meacham for sharing her frontloading mini lessons. They have greatly helped me develop my own plans.

I would love for you to follow me and leave me a comment if you use anything that I created. I love knowing that I have helped others!

These items are unofficial adaptations of the Daily 5 and CAFE Strategies management system by Gail Boushey & Joan Moser. This freebie is not endorsed by the 2 Sisters. Visit for official resources.
Now to reflect on this...
I made 3 major changes over the course of the year.
I successfully completed my first year of Daily my standards at least. I definitely had to change some things to meet the needs of my students and my self.
First off, the first 6 weeks of introduction were a success. My littles loved Daily 5 and even went back to their kindergarten teachers and told them all about what they were doing in first grade. It made my day!
However, over time I did change some things. Eventually I weeded out Listen to Reading. I just didn't have the resources available to make this as meaningful as it should be. I definitely recommend having more that one CD player.
I also stopped the strategy lessons after the first month. It just didn't fit into my plans and I couldn't keep up with everything. So this was a fail on my part. Next year I am just going to stick with guided reading groups.
Another change I made was to make the Daily 5 choice for my students. They didn't mind a bit and actually like the excitement or wondering what choice they get to go to next. Next year I am going to start off the year with making the choices for my students.
I'm still by no means perfect at implementing the Daily 5 but I do what is best for myself and my littles, and I think that is what makes a great teacher. FLEXIBILITY and flexible I am!


  1. Thanks for sharing this, it's nice to see how Daily 5 worked/didn't work for someone else. I also tried it for the first time this year and was not happy at all. So, I'm going to try and tweak it for next year. Good luck!

  2. Thank you so much. I love that you shared how you put your own spin on it. I am thinking of giving this a go this year in my classroom and didn't know where to begin.
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