I have been teaching 2nd grade and using the Daily 5 routines and CAFE strategies in my classroom for some time, but not exactly as "The Sisters" intended. I was one of the many teachers I see in my building that were practicing the Daily 5 routines but not right along with CAFE. Meaning, I was not forming my small groups based on strategy, I was not having them come to small group instruction with their own books, and I was not doing one-on-one conferring. Well, this year I decided to "Go For It" by being very purposeful in structuring my literacy block exactly how CAFE/Daily 5 were intended. First, forming groups around strategy made my job easier, especially with my emergent readers. They all needed roughly the same strategies and a lot of the accuracy strategies work in tandem. Secondly,  I noticed by allowing them to self-select books, that my students were more engaged during reading stamina. Finally, I cannot stress the importance of one-on-one conferring enough! It helped me to meet my students where they were at and truly differentiate my instruction.  It also opened my eyes to what my students were reading because we would start each session with a "Book Box Check-In". I quickly discovered that many of my students needed more instruction in how to select a Good Fit Book even after having taught that lesson. This persisted for some, well into the first month of school. By conferring, I could really show them how to have a balance of books; one picture reading book (usually NF), and 5-6 just right books. As the year went on, it was rewarding to see these kids move into the "blue dot" books and some even into chapter books. I did struggle all year long with managing time for conferring as I would find myself going too long with any one student. Using the conferring format of strengths, needs, and goals helped me to focus, but it is definetly a work in progress. As my kids' reading stamina increased, I also set aside time right after lunch for reading stamina. While they were all reading, I could get in one or two more one-on-one sessions. I also purchased, for the first time, the CCPenseive. This, in my opinion, was one of the biggest tools in helping me keep track and organize my conferring. The kids absolutely loved it this one-on-one time and many would ask, "Am I meeting with you today?" or "Can I meet with you today?" I don't know if this year was an anomaly, but 85% of my students met their i-Ready growth goal and several met their stretch growth goals. I'm excited to implement this again next year. 






Thank you so much for sharing about your growth and experiences!  Hearing from teachers like about how the foundational ideas of Daily 5/CAFE, including choice, building independence and stamina, etc. are key to success is very powerful!  

We're so glad you decided to "go for it", and felt the success for you and your students!  Also excited that you appreciated the power of the CCPensieve :).  

Have a great school break, as you continueto grow and refine your teaching :).  

Patti Rokusek

Thank you for your post. I too am a second grade teacher and have been using Daily 5, but also have not been using it as the sisters intended. I decided to learn more about CAFE this year since the two work together. I really want to implement CAFE and daily 5 this year, but the closer I get to the school year, the more nervous I am. I feel like there is so much to remember and feel like I can so easily mess this up. Thank you for sharing your experiences; I will know not that I will have to go over the good fit books with each child individually to make sure they understand. Also, I appreciated knowing that you found the conferring to be very beneficial. I keep thinking that I would rather keep my records in a notebook, but thanks for letting me know how well CC Pensieve worked for you. I like your idea of having some more stamina reading time after lunch in order to get in some more conferencing. Thanks for sharing that you have trouble with spending too much time on some conferences because I am afraid of this becoming a problem for me as well.

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