I teach seventh grade Language Arts in a 6-12 school. We have 55 minute classes. I have classes of 24-30 students. Usually I have two standard classes and two honors classes. I love the philosophy and procedures behind Daily 5 and CAFE. I have struggled over the years to figure out how to make this work in my classroom with bigger older students and small chunks of time. I know I have read posts from other middle school teachers that have the same struggles with procedures, time, and some teachers have posted difficulty with grading. After playing around with different systems I think it is finally coming together for me. I start from day one letting students know that we will be working on silent reading, fluency, accuracy, and stamina. We start using the Daily 5 reading procedures early. I have a large rug that I tried to use for the gathering place, with the larger students and the girls, this did not go over well. I found this year that adding Back Jack chairs (floor reading chairs) to the rug, that the student love to settle in and read on the rug. The back jack chairs are expensive, $50 a piece, but we borrow some and they worked like a charm. Therefore, I set up a DonorsChoose.com project titled "Literary Loungers" to help me get Back Jack chairs for the students. We are half way to our goal if anyone wants to help me by donating to Literary Loungers it will be greatly appreciated. The second component I have found works great for the gathering place and conferences is I set up long thin tables around my desk in the back corner of the room. I can work with up to 8 to 10 students at a time if needed, or I can conference one on one, while other students are settled in reading. I have many assignments that work on reading comprehension, so I have students work on these at the end of reading time, so this works for the grades. Today we did writing and the conferences with struggling writers were really fun. I love the set up and will be happy to share if anyone else is struggling with trying to make Daily 5 work and CAFE work in their middle school class.






Thank you so much for sharing your trials and successes!!  We have teachers of older students ask from time to time about setting up CAFE in their classrooms, so this information will be helpful to lots of people!

Kristen Anderson

I would love to hear how you set things up! I teach 6th-8th, and wasn't sure where to start. 


I'm in the same place. I am moving up to middle school ELA and would love to implement Daily 5/CAFE but am unsure where to start.

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