Thursday, 22 March 2012

Daily 5

In my last practicum experience I was lucky enough to be in a school that was very forward thinking.  This gave me a ton of experiences that I may or may not have been privileged to at other schools.  On a daily basis I had the use of Ipads, Ipods, Smart Boards, and I was also given a Smart Table to do some initial classroom testing (I had a TON of fun using the smart table for collaborative learning).  As a substitute teacher I almost feel naked when I walk into a class and I don't have these technologies at my fingertips.  I was also able to work in an environment that was moving towards 21st century learning.  I had a lot of fun visiting all of the different classes that were centering their classroom activities and outcomes around a bigger theme.  Two teachers in particular were educating their class on an orphanage that they had recently visited in Africa.  As a class they created their own African art, hosted a community wide auction, and then all of the proceeds when to the organization in Africa.  They creatively integrated this into the curriculum where it was applicable and made their class globally aware.  I was amazed by the knowledge the little grade 1's had, and how proud they were of the progress the made throughout the year.

Another great tool that I took away from this practicum was the integration of Daily 5 by the entire Grade 2 team.  I am a big believer in the Daily 5 and Cafe books by the Three Sisters.  If you haven't read or used some tools from either, I suggest you take a look.  It has changed the way I teach Language Arts!

The Daily 5 is broken down into:

1. Work on Writing
2. Word Work
3. Read to Self
4. Read to Someone
5. Listen to Reading

And CAFE stands for:
Expand Vocabulary

In these books they take you step by step into each section and provide great ideas and methods for integrating it into your class.

I only have one complaint about this book:
When I examined their expected daily schedule, most of the time was spent on language arts and math.  From my experience every class that I have been in has had other subjects as well..... you know... science, social studies, computers, french, music, physical education, etc.  So I didnt find the time break down of each Daily 5 activity applicable for me.  However, I found it easy to incorporate 3-4 daily items each day (even if it occurred throughout the day).

Some of my favorite things to do with Daily 5:
I loved read to someone, depending upon the day I would either use popsicle sticks to randomly choose pairings or I would group by reading level.  This also gave me time to read one on one with a few students and fit in some assessment.  I also created my own coaching bookmark to help the listener be a better coach.

I would use read to self every day after lunch (this was mostly a classroom management technique in order to calm the wiggles),  As soon as the kiddos put their lunch away they were expected to get a good fit book and read.  As a positive reward I would pick table groups that were ready and reading and give them a table point. 

Listening to reading was sometimes difficult to do but I found a few great sites:
storyline online
book flix (unfortunately for this site you need to be a member, most schools in Alberta pay for this service so I had this for free)
The Ipad and Ipod also have some great apps for stories, however, if you don't have access to these a simple tape player and head set work wonderfully too!

Because I live in a province that can be sunny and 10 degrees Celsius in the morning and a snow storm in the afternoon, I have become an expert at indoor recesses.  I always have lots of games in the classroom, but one of the kiddos favorite things to do is watch a story.  So I let the special kid of the day go on the smart board and pick a book and the class quietly watches and enjoys their snack (this really helped a lot of my students that couldn't handle unorganized activities).

I am still no expert with Daily 5, but I am loving what I have discovered so far.  I always get really excited when I substitute teach in a classroom that is using this tool because I can get soo many new ideas for myself. 

Anywho... I have rambled on a little more than I wanted.. I am excited for tonight because it is my favorite TV night! Greys Anatomy and Vampire Diaries :)  I am hoping to work on my Red Neck Rag quilt while I catch up on my shows.

TGI almost Friday!!

*******************************RECENT ADDITION****************************
A special thank you to Kim at Finding JOY in 6th Grade! She sent me on a blog hop to Ladybug's Teacher Files where I fell in love with the variation that Kirsten made to her CAFE - CRAFT board so that it was more applicable for her Grade 4&5 Class.  This is an image from her blog post, but I suggest hopping on over and reading about her variation if you haven't done so already. 


  1. I understand your love of technology in the classroom and I'm jealous of all the different things that you were able to use. I have a SmartBoard in my room. I'm not sure I could teach without it! And...I LOVE Daily Five! Great post! :)

    1. Thanks Ms. Horton! I haven't had as much technology use since I have been a substitute teacher, but every time I have the opportunity to use a SmartBoard I grab it!


  2. Daily 5 is brilliant - real reading and real writing instead of "stuff" about reading and writing.

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. That is the perfect summary of what Daily 5 is all about!! I just wish I had Daily 5 when I was a kiddo and I may have enjoyed Language Arts. Instead I rebelled and became a scientist/teacher.


  3. Hi Amy:

    You've probably seen it already, but if you haven't, check out Kristen's variation of Daily Five/Cafe at Ladybug's Teaching Files. Incredible!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    1. Hi Kim

      I actually hadn't seen her post but I am now in love with her blog thanks to YOU! I absolutely love, love, love her variation and I wish I had seen it so I could have included it in this post.


  4. Hi Amy!

    That is great that you have been able to have so much experience with technology! And I agree about the Daily 5 and CAFE! I LOVE the books and using them in my class, however I am always running into time constraints! I would love to go and visit a classroom where a teacher is effectively using it and getting to everything (or even almost everything!) each day! But I love the parts of it that I do get to, and my kids love it too!

    Lessons with Laughter

    1. Hi Molly!

      I was actually thinking of your beautiful class when I was writing this post. I just love what you have done to include Daily 5 and Cafe with your kiddos. I wish we had more time too!! But I am sure what you do manage to accomplish is amazing.

      I was inspired by your reading corner so I have started to design my own Dr. Suess themed reading pillows... it is still in the works (but since I technically don't have a class of my own I am not in a big hurry...just a minor detail).


  5. This sounds like an amazing idea! I had heard about daily 5 but hadn't had time to actually look into it. Your post has inspired me to do so now! I think I'm gonna order the book on amazon and study it :) Thanks for sharing!


    1. I definitely suggest doing that!! I haven't seen too many classes in British Columbia using this resource yet, but when I was a substitute teacher in Alberta I had the opportunity to see a ton of different variations of Daily 5. I think I will slowly see more of this trend in BC as well because it is such an easy resource once you set it up.

      The Crazy Adventures of a University Graduate

  6. I love the idea of daily 5 and cafe. I am really liking CRAFT. I have my own version of Daily 5, CRAFT, Boo Whisper combo that I need to blog about. Have you read the Book Whisper?

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

    1. I haven't read that book yet. Is it similar to Daily 5 and Cafe? If so I will have to pick it up!