Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blasting Off the Year with High Flying Ideas

Welcome to our back to school blog hop! I hope you have gotten some great tips for back to school. If you're just starting out, make sure to head over to Andrea's blog (Reading Toward the Stars) where the hop begins! 

I don't have my own group of kids anymore (Title I Reading), but I have been lucky that some of my co-workers let me come into their classrooms to start CAFE lessons and help prepare the students for Daily 5 (or 3 in some of our upper grades classrooms). We are now entering our third year of full implementation for Daily 5 and CAFE, and I just have a few quick tips for starting it in your own class!
  • I recommend starting with read to self. Use the T charts they discuss in the book, then have EVERYONE practice it together, then come back and discuss what worked/didn't work. 
  • Don't get discouraged when your kids only have a stamina of 1 minute. Chart it and celebrate growth! They have to start somewhere, and they will get there!
  • Get the kids into "Good Fit Books" as quickly as possible! I know at the beginning, you're just trying to get them to read quietly while you work on running records and other beginning of the year assessments, but the faster you can do this, the easier it will be for them to build their stamina. 
  • Once they have the hang of "Read to Self", go ahead and introduce the other stations the same way. I would have everyone do the same thing until they are all used to each station.
  • Use your own judgement for whether you will give student choice or assign stations. Some classes are ready for it from the beginning. Others need a lot more guidance. Trust your gut, and remember you can always change it if it's not working for you!
  • Have some kind of "assessment" for the stations to make sure they are on task. Since I work with struggling readers, I have MANY students who "read to self" without actually understanding a single word. Have them do a quick reading reflection or a sticky note summary...something to help hold them accountable. It doesn't have to be a grade, but it's important for them to know that this isn't just a time for them to sit quietly and pretend to be a good student.
There are SO many facets of Daily 5/CAFE! This is only scraping the top. Fortunately there are a ton of resources out there (and btw, they should all be free on TPT, so don't worry about paying for them). If you haven't already read the book, that's the best place to start. The sisters really break everything down into a very manageable and easy-to-follow format. I keep my book close-by to refer to even after 3 years!

Keep on moving to Jennie's blog for more tips to start the year off right!



  1. What a great post, Melissa! We have a few grade that structure their blocks this way, and it really works! I will share your post with them! Thanks a bunch!

  2. Great daily 5 tips for getting started! thanks for sharing!
    BigTime Literacy

  3. You a so right about finding "Good Fit" books early on. The sooner students have books in their hands that they can actually read, the easier it will be to build stamina. Thanks for sharing awesome tips for getting started with Daily 5 & Cafe.
    Read With Me ABC

  4. I agree that Read to Self is the best way to start. Get them independent so you can teach!

  5. I'll be sharing your post with my new teacher mentee! She's interested in starting Daily 5. Thanks for sharing! ;)
    Literacy Loving Gals

  6. I am working with our third grade teacher on Daily 5 this year as she implements it, and it is so much fun! I am going to pass this post on to her, so she can see these tips too!

    Reading Toward the Stars