I’m going in tomorrow for my second day of setting up my classroom for the new school year. I am returning to teaching in elementary after being gone for 11 years (I’ve been in Pre-K the last 4 years) and am going to be teaching 2nd grade. I am SUPER excited to incorporate the Daily 5 framework in my classroom. (I am the only teacher in my grade level that will be doing the Daily 5.) After getting all my ideas of how to set up my room to make it a warm and inviting space for my students to include stimulating bulletin boards, soft lighting, etc, I was so crushed to learn that due to fire codes and district policies, I am not allowed to hang anything from the ceiling and am not allowed to have more than 20% of my wall space covered. (Not allowed to have lamps in my room either due to electricity costs.) I’m unsure what the most important Daily 5 and Cafe boards are the most important. Word wall? Daily 5? Cafe? Any tips and suggestions would be extremely helpful!






Congratulations on the new position. I have been using Daily Five and CAFE for years and I love using them. It stinks that you have a limited amount of wall space to work with. I think that it is important to have both a CAFE board and a word wall. One suggestion that I have is make your word wall portable. One year I used a tri-fold presentation board for my word wall. This allowed students to take the word wall anywhere in the classroom . I have also utilized closet doors for my word wall. This allowed me to free up bulletin board space. You should have a place to post your Daily Five “I” charts. What I usually do is make them on large chart paper with the students and then recopy them or type them on smaller paper to post. Sometimes I leave them all together in one spot of my room and sometimes I post each chart near the materials for that choice. I like to dedicate a bulletin board in my class for my CAFE menu. I usually post this in my whole group area. This past year I used pocket charts from the Target dollar spot to make it easy to post my new strategies. I hope this helps. Good luck

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Alison Jacobson

I love the idea of the tri-fold for the word wall or anything for that matter. I have a lot of stuff in my room that needs to stay and lack areas to add new so that is awesome! Thanks for the idea.


Great suggestions, bfeuerstack :)! I like the wall saving idea for the word wall.
Another way you might think about keeping your ICharts is to write them on chart paper in a tablet and hang the chart on a stand. This will allow you to get to them easily, but they’re not on the wall.
As far as lights go, can you turn part of your classroom lights off so the lighting is “softer”. Kids can use flashlights of different sizes to read by (a good parent request at the beginning of school).

Barbara Linne

Thank you both for the suggestions! I visited some other classrooms today and saw that some classes do have a word wall up so I think I’ll be able to get away with having one. I also like the idea of the I-charts on the pad on an easel. I MAY be able to get away with posting some since they will be posted gradually and not put up all at once. I LOVE the idea of turning off half the lights (I do have that ability) and I REALLY love using flashlights! I put my CAFE board on my whiteboard so hopefully, it won’t be an issue. We’ll see…
Thanks so much for your suggestions!!!

Catherine Ward

Regarding the lights…would they allow you to use the LED lightbulbs? A LED softwhite bulb that is equivalent to an incandescent 60 watt is only 9.5 watts. They are shaped like a regular bulb and give off a nice light. Just a thought…

Patricia O'Brien

…Especially if you are not using the florescence!!

Mary Beth McDaniel

Another space saver for me was to use the windows. One side of my room is a wall of windows, and I am not supposed to hang anything on the blinds. So, after daily 5 was up and running, my student teacher took on the job of typing our anchor and I charts! We mounted them on black paper and taped them to the windows. Everyday we reviewed a handwritten chart and showed the students that the smaller “fancy” version was exactly their words and exactly the same. Then it went up on the window next to our meeting area/ classroom library. Saved a ton of space and you didn’t have to flip through the easel to find the chart you needed when the kids needed review. Good luck in your new room! (Summer school is using mine, so no set up for me until the last minute!)

Erin Lipsitz

I feel your confusion! I too am just now adjusting my room to create reading nooks and different spaces for the students to work. I am not able to not have a desk per student as that is mandatory. Lighting is what it is and every cushion must be fire-retardant and able to be put away at the end of the day. But, I’m working at adding softer touches around the room…just bought display easels for some books. I also am researching battery operated lighting, so consider that as well for your space. Best of luck to us both!

Trish Prentice

As Gail and Joan have suggested, adding a few plants can make a real difference in the feel of the classroom. Some of the “fake” plants look quite real these day in case you have a black thumb like I do. Also encouraging students to bring in a photo from home and displaying them around the room makes it feel a bit cozier. If you have older students, it might be fun for them to bring photos of themselves reading in interesting places and funny poses. They might enjoy that more than a photo of their family. For younger children, I’ve found that adding stuffed book characters, that are readily available now online and in bookstores, also helps create a fun atmosphere. But I believe the most important thing to remember is this…the “extras” are nice but it’s the warm and loving spirit of the teacher that sets the tone in the classroom.

Leslie Brissette

One year when I was unable to have lamps I asked the custodian to remove the bulbs from half of my fluorescent lights. That way I could still use the overhead lights, but with half the brightness. This also saved the district money so they couldn’t complain.


I love it!! The ingenuity of teachers

Barbara Linne

Such great suggestions! Here’s an update…I created all my I-charts with my students and we all loved them. I did end up hanging them on the wall and saw my students were actually using them when it came to making Daily 5 choices. When my principal came in to observe me, she actually rated me a 4 (which is the highest rating you can get) when it came to all the visuals I had created to anchor my students’ learning. Two days later, the fire marshal came in to do his pre-inspection and made me take them all down. But, I’m working on making smaller charts that can hang on the wall! We also turn off half the lights in our room when we start Daily 5 and the students really like it. Thanks so much!

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