If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I am a HUGE advocate for the Daily 5 & CAFE. I have done Daily 5 in my classroom for two years and CAFE for 1 1/2. I had planned on posting a lot about both throughout the summer, but I have to admit, I was having some difficulty finding the inspiration without being in school. As summer is winding down and I am beginning to get things in order for the new school year, I am starting to revisit my lesson plans for launching Daily 5.
To me, it only makes sense to launch Daily 5 and CAFE at the same time. At our school retreat last week it was discussed whether we should start on day one or wait a couple of weeks. For me and most of my co-workers, it is better to wait a couple of weeks before we actually start launching the CAFE menu. Actually, the only people that were in somewhat of a disagreement (that's really not even the word for it-more of a questioning) were non-classroom teachers (reading specialists familiar with Daily 5 & CAFE, but not practicing it in a classroom full of 30 students). The reason why I wait is because it takes A LOT of work to get the Daily 5 up and running. There is a lot of background that needs to go into Daily 5, more than just modeling and practicing the different dailies. Does this mean you are not reading aloud and demonstrating the CAFE strategies? Of course not. I'm sure all of us subconsciously model CAFE strategies every single time we read, because that is what good readers and good teachers do. I just don't introduce the CAFE menu until students have Daily 5 under their belts. We don't want to overwhelm the students. Can you imagine everything students need to remember? We don't want them to be so nervous trying to remember to stay in one spot, get started right away, read quietly & the whole time AND on top of that checking for understanding. In my opinion, it's just too much at once. Let them get started practicing the different dailies, then work in the CAFE strategies in a few weeks.
Your focus lessons the first week or two should involve how to complete the dailies successfully. You will spend A LOT of time practicing and building stamina. DO NOT overlook this part! Your students' success & your success the rest of the year depends on this step. You cannot ignore one student's misgivings. As annoying as it may be, you must signal for all students to stop the minute you see a student off task. Call them back to your meeting area and talk about the types of behaviors you were seeing. Some students may have been off task and didn't even realize it. Do you need to single students out? Absolutely not, generalize the behaviors. But, if you notice it is continually the same student, you might want to call them off to the side and talk to them privately. You may need to set Daily 5 behavior goals with this student right away.
I think I've talked long enough for today. Tomorrow-Anchor Charts & Focus Lessons!