Joan Moser

Hi there! I am about to start teaching a 5th grade departmentalized reading class. I will have 4 classes a day with 60 minutes each. I will ONLY teach reading…another teacher is teaching writing/spelling.

I’d love to hear your ideas/thoughts on how you would most effectively use Daily 5 in this environment. I’m trying to figure out how to best schedule it all and how to deal with logistics issues like not being able to give every child a book box since I will have 90+ kids.

Thanks in advance!!





Melanie Smith

I first have to wonder why writing and reading are separate? To me, these two things go hand in hand and are hard to separate. That being said, I taught in a departmentalized 5th grade room where I was the ELA and SST teacher and the Daily 5 worked well. As for book boxes, if most of your students are reading chapter books, you dont necessarily have to have a “book box” for them, you can use gallon sized baggies or just have them carry their chapter book with them at all times (1-2). In my classroom we pretty much only did work on writing and read to self. I did give them an option 1-2x a week to read to someone or listen to reading. I did not incorporate work on words in the rotations because I did a whole group approach using REWARDS and the time allotted did not lend itself to more than 2-3 rotations per day. All of my teaching was done using the students’ self selected books, but I used many read alouds to model the strategies we covered during our focus lessons. I would still incorporate some kind of response to reading during your writing time for Daily 5 even though you are not “teaching” writing.

Becky Simon

Hi! I am a 5th Grade Reading Teacher. We also have a 5th Grade Language Arts/Writing Teacher. I find it to be beautiful. We work hand-in-hand and try to tailor our lessons to what the other is teaching. I teach 125 5th graders and we use the CAFE at a somewhat modified level. The LA/Writing teacher does work on writing and some word work and I do read to self, listen to reading and some word work as well. We rarely do read to others, but I am not opposed to that.
My class period looks like this:

  1. The class enters
  2. The students work on a Do Now activity while I handle daily business
  3. Then I teach a mini-lesson of some nature. Sometimes it is Daily 5 related, other times it is not. (We have the GIFT of having the Daily 5 from K-5, so the fact is, most of the kids could teach it!) So, like this week we are working on story structure/characterization/plot etc.
  4. Then they are released to their areas to read. This week they are looking for who is the antagonist/protagonist in their good fit book. They are also talking about where they are in their plot diagram (exposition/conflict/climax etc).
    I should say that during these pointed lessons, with middle-schoolers, it’s often the Daily 1…read to self. WE DO have free choice times when we are strictly CAFE-ing it, but this week, we are working on some CCCS stuff.
  5. During their rounds I confer with students. My CC Pensieve is HUGE because I have 125 kiddos in there! I can get to each student about once every 2 weeks with the time constraints. However, I meet with my barometer kiddos more often. Let me just say at this point, it is rare for them to break stamina, but when they do, I chime and we return for a quick review of the mini-lesson.
  6. I haven’t done small groups at this point, but we will start that this nine-weeks.

So, in summary, our schedule looks like this:
9:00 - 9:05/10 - Do Now
9:05/10 - 9:20 - Mini-Lesson
9:20 - 9:55 - Daily 1-3 (CAFE or other lesson)
9:55 - 9:58 - Pack up

Becky Simon

PS: They do NOT have a book box, because, as I explain, it is time for them to start gaining responsibility. Instead, they check-out/buy/bring good fit books and keep them in their backpack. It isn’t IDEAL, in fact, it’s challenging and I keep a library of emergency books on hand. This is becoming a problem, so I too, look forward to hearing other ideas on how to manage this better!


What great ideas, simon_fam !
Two ideas I might share with you . . . Have you thought about using the CCPensieve for your notes? You could have all 125 kids’ notes stores electronically. The calendar feature might also come in really handy for you.
The other idea is to look at Nancy Atwell’s book, The Reading Zone. She does her work with middle schoolers and talks a lot about book choices for them and how she sets up that part of her room.
I have to say I LOVE the statement you made about "Having the gift of Daily 5 K-5–that most of the kids could teach it"–talk about building independence!!!

Becky Simon

I use the CCPensieve and LOVE IT! Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without it.
I have never heard of Nancy Atwell’s book. It sounds fabulous. Thanks for the ideas. I am so grateful for The Sisters, The Daily 5 and the CAFE.
Our administrator just came back from a conference and is on fire. She is willing to do anything and everything to help us implement the D5 and CAFE! Such a blessing!


Woo Hoo! Having an administrator on your side is such a blessing!! It is amazing how the Sisters’ workshops can inspire us all, isn’t it??
I agree with you about the CCPensieve!! I just wish I could get everyone on my campus to use it

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