I know there’s an old post about this, but I never really found an answer to the question. When we are required to use certain curriculum programs, and those programs typically expect 20, 30, or 40+ minute lessons (not all teacher-delivered, they also include some student work or practice during that time), do we simply “cut to the gist” of the lesson, and make THAT the focus of our mini-lessons? Thinking of math, the workbook pages could be Math Writing and the games could be Math by Myself or Math with Someone. But with ELA it seems trickier. My district has a phonics program, a program for read aloud with accountable talk, and a writing program. We also have spelling and vocabulary. The writing program could be used during a separate Writer’s Workshop, I know. But what about the rest? So much STUFF to try and cram into such small time frames. I know that brain research supports the shorter focus lessons. I just wish someone would tell that to the people that publish these programs (and to our administrators). Maybe I’m looking for permission to cut through the baloney and get to the meat of the lesson so that I can get it done in 9-10 minutes, which would be appropriate for my grade level. If I’m covering everything I’m supposed to cover, I’m not getting to Daily 5, which is unacceptable. If I get in Daily 5, I feel as though I haven’t covered all the content I’m supposed to cover. Help?





Danna Lewis

I feel ya! We had this problem initially but through collaborative team meetings came up with ways to either shorten the lessons with a focus on the “meat” or where that was not possible, we broke the 30 minute lesson up into 3 shorter focus lessons. We also decided collectively to move away from the worksheets that were not really effective and more busy work so their independent time in Daily 5 and Math Daily 3 was more meaningful.


Woo Hoo!! Great ways to adapt structured basal/program lessons to work in the CAFE/Daily 5 structure ;). There are so many of us who have questions about this that your insight is most helpful! Thanks for sharing.

Suggested Topics

Title Category Replies Views Activity
Is CAFE going to be aligned with the Texas TEKS? CAFE 8 3.6k 3 months 2 weeks
Alignment of Daily 5 & CAFE with Cambridge Learning Outcomes CAFE 0 1.9k 1 year 9 months
CAFE strategies book list CAFE 10 5.5k 1 year 9 months
Alignment with Australian Curriculum CAFE 4 1.2k 1 year 11 months
Lesson Planning CAFE 0 1.5k 3 years 8 months
Question about Comprehension--Use Prior Knowledge to Connect with Text CAFE 0 840 3 years 8 months
Sharing Videos Online CAFE 2 1k 3 years 9 months
Daily 5, small groups, and conferring 6 feet away CAFE 4 1.4k 3 years 9 months
New Ready Reference guides CAFE 6 2.3k 3 years 9 months
Mini Lesson Variety CAFE 1 1.5k 3 years 9 months

All-Access Member Exclusive Content

This content is reserved for All-Access members. Consider upgrading your membership to access this resource.

Sign Up Now

No Thanks.

Already a member? Log In