Thursday, August 4, 2011

Daily 5: Anchor Charts & Focus Lessons

I'm going to put off my Book Talk Thursday this week to continue my Daily 5 & CAFE series.  I was having a really hard time with the motivation to write about the Daily 5 & CAFE not being in school, but try and stop me now that I've started!  Yesterday, I blogged about Launching Daily 5 & CAFE.  Today I want to talk a little about anchor charts (or as the Sisters call them "I-Charts") and focus lessons for the first few weeks of school.  

Anchor Charts/I-Charts-I feel very strongly that these charts need to be made with your students.  I have seen a lot of really cute posters floating around on Pinterest and the blogs, but these charts must be meaningful to your students.  Just as the Sisters suggest in their books, your students need to be the ones coming up with the ideas for these charts.  Students are very easily guided in the right direction.  Are my charts a little messy?  Yes.  Do I write things down, then cross them out?  Yes.  This is especially true when we write down what the teacher is doing during Daily 5.  I love it when the students say the teacher is grading papers and I always write it down.  After talking about the purpose of Daily 5, we cross it out, then write 'working with students'.  After the second anchor chart, students catch on that everything is pretty much the same, no matter what Daily choice it is.  Please, try to avoid the cutesy Daily 5 posters and make these charts with your students!  

Focus Lessons-I posted yesterday about waiting to start your CAFE lessons until students have the Daily 5 under their belts for a few weeks.  This is to not overwhelm your students.  I reiterate, this is not to say you're not demonstrating these strategies, you are just not giving the students one more thing to remember while they are learning how to be independent during the Daily 5.  I start Daily 5 on the first day of school.  Why not?  This will set the tone for the whole year and teach your students that reading and becoming independent readers is important.  The first focus lesson I teach is "Three Ways to Read a Book."  Yes, I even teach my fourth graders how to read the pictures.  Reading the pictures to fourth graders is a little bit different than first graders, but it is still very important because it aides in comprehension.  In addition to the lessons involved with launching each daily round, you will want to teach focus lessons on where to sit in the room, choosing good fit books, what to write about, word work materials and how to use them, modeling & practice choosing partners for Read to Someone, the different ways to Read to Someone, coaching, etc.  Do you see why I don't start launching the CAFE menu right away?  You will know when the time is right to launch the CAFE menu in your classroom.  

Please, let me know if there are any specific Daily 5/CAFE topics you would like me to discuss in this series!  


  1. I'm so glad to hear someone else say that teaching "big kids" how to read the pictures is important! I really understood this more my 2nd year of teaching (when I had 2nd graders) and the following year when I went back to 4th we made a point to always check the pictures too. I was amazed at how much better some of my strugglers comprehended once I assured them it wasn't "babyish" to look at the pictures too. They even got a kick out of realizing sometimes the pictures tell you MORE than just the words on the page. It is an important lesson.

  2. Thank you so much for these posts. I am moving down to 3rd grade after many years in 4th and 5th. I just went and saw "The Sisters". They were great! I can't wait to get started in the fall. Your posts have been very helpful thus far, and I look forward tomore. Thanks!

  3. i'm so jealous that you got to see them! My principal wanted to send some of us, but didn't get the paperwork in on time. I'm glad that these posts are helping people!

    Go Fourth! With Mrs. Owens

  4. Great advice on the posters. I have seen similar posts and was thinking the same thing. I have been using a modified version of daily 5 for a couple of years and love it! (I can't go whole hog because of district expectations.) My favorite part of creating the I-charts is seeing what the kids come up with in addition too. We had a "get comfortable" rule last year. I also add a silly rule to my side. For example, besides working with students I can also be eating cupcakes. :)

    The Teaching Thief

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas! I am a third grade teacher and am going to be doing Daily 5 this year for the first time. Can I ask 2 questions? 1. Do you follow a set implementation schedule with your kids or do you follow the one laid out by the sisters? 2. HOw do you teach your 4th graders to read the pictures, and how is this differerent from teaching the younger kids? Thanks in advance!

  6. Thank you sooo much for sharing your ideas!! I am moving to 4th grade and will be doing D5/Cafe for the first time and was not sure how to start it and this has already helped me out, I look forward to reading more I hope! I am wondering what kind of writing activities do you have your 4th graders do, I will also have a separate time for writing so this will be extra writing time. I have some activities but not sure if there grade appropriate as I found them on a 2nd grade blog but they seemed like something pretty good you can see the link here and let me know what you think ( . I also may only have time to do 2 rotations, if I'm lucky maybe 3 should I still offer all the choices or narrow it down? SOrry for all the questions Im just happy to have found a 4th grade teacher to talk to about D5/cafe!!

  7. Thanks so much for the post. I had a question about the beginning assessment that you give the students before starting CAFE. Is there a certain assessment that you use to help you encompass comprehension, accuracy, fluency and vocabulary?


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