Monday, August 6, 2012


Hi, Friends! I’ve been asked that question several times this summer as I’ve shared my excitement for implementing the Daily 5.  We have an amazingly fun time in my classroom! I am really big on structure and routines.  My absolute favorite time of day is literacy workstations and over the years, I’ve tweaked and tweaked and developed a system that has worked really well for us.

Teachers sometimes walk by and peak into the room just to see if we’re actually in there because the room is generally quiet (during our literacy block) with kids involved in meaningful work stations and literacy activities. Our Math block is whole ‘nother story! Let me just say….manipulatives and firsties does not equal quiet!  Hehehe!

Over and over I’ve been asked….what you have in place works so well, why change it?  AND here’s why.  The answer for me is pretty simple.  It’s because I have personally made a commitment to improve (continuously).  I will never see anything in my classroom as perfect with no need of change.  Every year, every class is different and I want my teaching and what is in place in my classroom to evolve, challenge, differentiate, and go deeper.  I want it to be responsive to changes in research and to meet the rigor of what I know students will face as they continue on their individual journeys of life long learning.

photo 1

I’ve used Debbie Diller{ish} stations for the past 3 years and they’ve worked wonderfully!  What I will be doing this year, will not be entirely different, it will just be more focused on the 5 specific areas that students need most in order to become successful readers.

My biggest challenge has been wrapping my mind around allowing the students choice, BUT then I had two HUGE epiphanies!
1.  I don’t want to be told how to teach all day long!  I want to be told what to teach and left alone to create and implement instruction that will best benefit my students. 
2. When I taught Pre-K, I DID allow my students choice in their learning stations and trusted them to be responsible for their learning.  Guess what?  They chose and they were! AND some of them were only 3 years old! ANNNND many of them left my classroom as emergent readers!
Now, if I enjoy having choices as a teacher and if I can trust a 3 year old to choose a station, why did I think I had to TELL my firsties where to go AND what to do?  {LIGHTBULB!}


So, I’ve put the stations chart away.  I’ve put up our CAFE menu with Daily 5 choices and am going to build stamina as the year begins. We’ll move to choice when my students show me, through their actions, that they are ready. 

{Deep breath……} NOW, if I get a group of “what THE what”, we’re going right back to that stations chart, lol!!!

For now, I’m letting go of some of the control and trusting that through modeling and practice (then some more modeling and some more practice), my students will rise to the occasion and be responsible for their learning.  With our standards being setup in a workshop model,  the Daily 5 will be PERFECT and fit beautifully!  I’m excited about the changes in instruction this year will bring!


To that end, I’m prepping and getting the details of our room ready!  What could make them even better?  Sharing them with YOU, that’s what!

My little bloggity blog is growing and slowly ticking towards 400 followers! What?!! You guys are fantastic!  The feedback, conversations, and exchanges that I’ve shared with all of you is greatly appreciated and will undoubtedly help to make me a better teacher! Wasn’t that why we started blogging in the first place? It’s been great seeing so far out beyond the 4 walls of my classroom! Soooooooooo, instead of a giveaway to celebrate, let’s start a frenzy! A FREEBIE frenzy!

Tune in every day this week for a freebie to get geared up for the new year! I’m not quite at 400 followers yet, so FB this little cutie, G+, Pin It, Tweet it…..share it ‘til your heart’s content!  My goal is to reach 400 followers by Friday.  With fab followers like YOU, I know it’s possible……THEN the race will be on….to 500! I’ll be calling in reinforcements for that one!

Anywhoooo, here’s your freebie for today!


Click the pic to grab them and I’ll see you tomorrow!  Same bat channel, same bat time….with another fantastic freebie! Thanks for following!

See ya soon, Raccoon!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. I love your thought process. I'm implementing Daily 5 and CAFE this year as well for the 1st time and sometimes I wonder why I'm changing it up. Your response is definitely much more eloquent, but exactly what I was thinking! :)

    Tales of An Elementary Teacher

  2. I love your reasoning for what you are willing to change things up and I could not agree with you more! I'm always looking for ways to improve and continue making them better. This will be my first year implementing Daily 5 too and I'm excited about the possibilities!! Congrats on your growing followers list :)

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

  3. I am also striving for full implementation of D5/CAFE (we dabbled last year!), and though I'm very attracted to the idea of student choice, it concerns me as well! Thanks so much for the wonderful freebie!

  4. It is my hope to get Daily 5/CAFE up and running in my classroom this year! I have always wanted to do it and have decided to take the plunge. We shall see what happens. May be calling on you for support!
    Ms. Jones’ Junction

  5. Thank you so much for the freebies! The new blog design is awesome!

  6. I'm a new follower and I just LOVE your blog!! Thanks for the breakdown of how you do things and thanks for the freebies! :)

  7. Thanks for sharing these great posters- love 'em!

  8. Thanks! Love that it uses CAFE language.

  9. I use D%/CAFE in my first grade class and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. The kids are engaged and love the idea of having one specific goal to work toward. I am also using a menu for writing this year. I found it on proteacher. It is called VOICES and translates the 6 + 1 traits into I can statements similar to CAFE. This way each child can focus on what they need to improve on.


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