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 - April 6, 2012

The Blank Sheet of Paper

It seems as though there are two types of people, those who relish the opportunity to face a blank sheet of paper and put their mark on it and those who face the blank sheet with utter fear. Do you see yourself falling into one of these groups? Perhaps it depends on the task assigned to the blank sheet.

We were filming in Pam Pogson's sixth grade classroom as she taught a lesson on prefixes as part of Word Work. She was reviewing the concept of a prefix as a way to help understand the meaning of a word. The lesson included a guided brainstorming session on a difficult prefix. Following the brainstorm, she asked her students to quickly jot down in their Word Work notebooks some words they know containing the prefix on which they were focusing.

We watched as this master teacher quickly took note of those students who embraced the blank sheet of paper and jumped right in with the task, and those who faced the blank sheet with the fearful look of a deer in headlights. What we found so fascinating was when Pam quickly let kids know that they were welcome to copy the whole class brainstormed list in their notebooks to get them started. As soon as those words came out of her mouth, you could visibly see some students relax and get started. Another student even questioned her again, asking if he could copy the brainstormed words into his notebook.

We couldn't help but to take pause and consider the impact her statement had on some of the students in her class. How often do we as teachers shut down those facing-the-blank-sheet-with-fear students, thinking that our students should not copy or imitate our samples or examples, believing instead that they should come up with their own ideas? Yet even though Pam teaches the oldest students in the school we realized what she did not only supported those students who have the fear of the blank sheet, but also gave them a perfect scaffold into the independent task she assigned. When they left the whole group lesson to continue their independent brainstorming, each child has examples on the page, helping them remember what kind of words they were looking for.

If you would like to see this video, it is one of our featured videos this week. Look for the one titled: Reteaching Prefixes for Spelling, Vocabulary and Decoding.


Do you have any suggestions for working more successfully with my team as we brainstorm, problem solve and plan for our work with Daily 5 and Cafe? It feels as though we don't ever see eye-to-eye!

The time we spend with colleagues can be a difficult challenge or an energizing, helpful joy. We have discovered wonderful tips, especially for brainstorming, at We think you'll especially enjoy the post entitled...

Book Look: Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku is the story of a endearing shelter cat and the boy who brought him home. As the title says, the entire story is told in haiku and it is delightful!

Road to Grammar (WEBSITE)

This website is a gem! You'll find ways to practice and learn grammar and vocabulary and can check your progress with online quizzes.

Road to Grammar

Road to Grammar Jr

Sweet Blessings (WEBSITE)

We were drawn to Shannon Long's blog because of this wonderful poster, which helps to foster the kind of community we try to build in our classrooms. If you click on the Technology Rocks, Seriously button up at the top, you'll find a some great word work games as well.

Before You Speak, THINK

Daily 5 Delight

Trish Prentice writes:

Hi there...We just celebrated World Read Aloud Day. The children came in PJ's and we read all morning (it was an early dismissal day!) First we read books about books...Wild About Reading and Born to Read. Then the children enjoyed partner reading all at one time. I also read Arnie the Donut. We had chocolate sprinkled donuts to eat for a snack to celebrate the book. Finally we started reading a new chapter book. The last line of chapter 5 was,"Then the trouble really began." The children were begging for more but we had to go to lunch.

The funny quote of the day...Jackson said we weren't having recess, we were having "read-cess." Perfect!

<center> Trish Prentice</center>
Trish Prentice

A Few Ways to Manage Sharing (VIDEO)

Repost: Wrapping up a session of Daily 5™ with a purposeful and focused sharing time is a powerful way to review the strategies taught during the day and to review strategies previously covered. Sharing time also provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their own work, share their progress, and celebrate the growth of others.

2012 Workshops

We will be in San Antonio April 15, 16 and 17th and can't wait to be back in Texas. All three days are "FULL", so if you would like to join us check out the other beautiful places we will be this year. We hope you will find time to learn with us.

New This Week For Members

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

Choosing Between Read to Self and Work on Writing (VIDEO)

These children get to choose between Read to Self or Work on Writing for the very first time. It's an exciting day! Tessa explains to her class that checking in with their choice is a way to show how independent they can be. Even in Kindergarten, students value being able to make choices.

Reteaching Prefixes for Spelling, Vocabulary and Decoding (VIDEO)

This group of 6th graders works hard to remember the essence of prefixes, suffixes and root words and how they might use their understanding of prefixes to help them figure out the meaning of words.

Spanish Parent Pipeline (DOWNLOAD)

This parent resource will help our Spanish speaking families who want to support their child as they use word parts to decode words and determine their meanings.

Closing the Gaps Between Common Core and The CAFE Menu (DOWNLOAD)

Allison Behne describes the thought process behind aligning Common Core with CAFE and highlights some things that we need to remember about each.

Bookroom Tours: Part 1

In this updated video, we take you into a primary bookroom to look at different possibilities for organizing, storing, and checking out book collections.

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.