The Daily CAFE is a Professional Development website designed for teachers and literacy coaches using The Daily 5 and The Literacy CAFE Assessment System. It is loaded with professional video and downloads, all created for teachers like you!
HomeCAFEDaily 5DesignMath Daily 3Member Area
Why Should I Join?
Getting Started
Free Samples
About Us
View All Options
Live Workshops
Online Seminars
Online Graduate Course
My Favorites
Article Index
Discussion Boards
On the Spot Videos
Annotated Archives
In the News
Books & DVDs
PD Library

Tip of the Week - October 21, 2011

Math Daily 5

What took so long and what is it?

A better question might be "What took so long and what is it now?" Let's start by answering the first part. Many years ago it began as the Math Daily 4, and we've tweaked and revised it every year since. It used to involve math lessons, paper practice, and 3 choices to build math skills: Number Games, Fact Games and Strategy Games. As new standards have come into place and as we've devoured current professional books on math instruction, our thinking has been both cemented and challenged.

We realized that our first implementations of Daily 4 and then Daily 5 were more content driven that behavior oriented. We were so focused on getting through the content that we'd lost sight of creating independent mathematicians who had skills and strategies that would serve them well throughout their lives. If we were to stay true to what we'd learned in Daily 5 Reading and our Writer's Workshops, we'd teach the behaviors and expectations of independence, assess and set goals, and let children make choices that would enable them to achieve their goals.

Teachers were anxious to know what we were doing. We weren't reluctant to share because of a stingy selfishness, but a keen awareness that we never seemed to have it perfectly figured out. New learning was always leading to new thinking, which in turn led to revised practice in our classrooms. It wasn't until a delightful new teacher in Detroit said, "Why don't you bring us along on your journey?" that we decided to just put it out there, as vulnerable as it feels to do so. Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress, but we are inviting you to join us in the journey from this point on.

What is Math Daily 5?

Math Daily 5 is a structure that teaches students how to build and maintain independence while practicing, working, learning and enjoying math. The resulting independence and stamina provides the environment teachers need to provide just-in-time differentiated instruction in small groups or one-on-one conferring, whichever best matches a student's learning style and academic need.

Currently, Math Daily 5 includes:

  • Math by Myself
  • Math with Someone
  • Math with Technology
  • Math Writing
  • Math Work

    Teachers and students who are familiar with the Daily 5 in Reading will recognize the expectations and steps, leading to a smooth launch of Math Daily 5. Thanks for joining us in the journey. Here we go!


    Q: What are the Math Daily 5 components and must have behaviors?

    A: The must have behaviors align with Daily 5, and the components comprise choices that will help students develop mastery over math skills, strategy, and content.

    Math Cats (WEBSITE)

    Math Cats is loaded with creative, open-ended math explorations and it's free.


    Here is a Web-based math program that has pulled together math skills, response feedback, awards, and reporting into an easy-to-use and fun format. A subscription allows students to practice both at school and at home. Alignment with state grade-level standards is a great plus for teachers!

    Parents on the lookout for ways to help their Pre-K child all the way up through eighth grader can now find a tool that may usurp time presently devoted to video games. Plans are underway to add Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry.

    You may want to try the 30-day free trial to see if IXL is a solution for your students as they strive to meet or exceed math standards this coming year.

    Brain Breaks Assist with Retaining Information

    Brain Breaks are important because we all learn better when the material is given often in smaller portions instead of enormous content in long stretches.

    Math Games

    We are working on a new interactive Math Game menu page. Check it out!

    Organizing Math Games

    From the Archives: In order to assist with student independence and increase organization and efficiency during math time, Allison Behne has put together math binders for her students. Each game board students might use during the math block is included in one convenient binder. Brilliant!


    Manipulatives are tools to ensure that students develop a deep understanding of math concepts. What are they? Here are some you might like to start collecting for your mathematicians.


    Oops! We goofed! This is a repost of last week's FAQ. It should have been accessible to everyone.

    Q:What do we do if the same kids are breaking stamina everyday....but the issue isn't really barometer....more like developmental readiness?

    New This Week For Members

    Interested in becoming a member of The Daily CAFE™? Click here for more information.

    Launching Math Daily 5

    Launching Math Daily 5 with Math by Myself and thinking about days one through five.

    Math by Myself - Brief (DOWNLOAD)

    This brief is a cheat sheet of sorts. We like to have it close by when we launch Math Daily 5 so we don't forget any important elements.

    Math Foundation Lessons Chart (DOWNLOAD)

    This Foundation Lessons document is helpful to have when we are launching Math Daily 5. It helps us plan by reminding us what needs to be the current focus for our launching lessons, and what we can layer on to prepare for future success.

    Book Look - Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics

    If you are looking for a resource to help supplement your math curriculum, we can't recommend this one highly enough. We also can't count how many times we've pulled it off the shelf to help us work with individuals or small groups struggling with a skill or who came to us with missing pieces in their conceptual understanding.

    Math Tools: A Closer Look (VIDEO)

    Math tools are an important part of concept development for students of all ages. Joan takes us on a tour of the math tools currently available in her room in this updated, full screen video.

    Introducing Math Tools to the Students (VIDEO)

    We've learned that our students need time to explore the manipulatives before we can expect them to use them as tools instead of toys. In this updated, full screen video, Joan discusses how the tools in her room are stored and introduced.

    Until Next Week!

    Gail and Joan
    The 2 Sisters

    Printer-Friendly Format
  • Free Tip of the Week:


    Daily 5 & CAFE
    Practical tools,
    Seriously helpful,
    CEUs available.

    Two workshops
    over two days
    nearly every month.
    Almost 6 hours

    See and hear what colleagues say.