I teach 5th grade English, spelling, reading, and writing crammed into two 48-minute periods each day. I am also the reading specialist/coach at our school. This is our first year implementing Daily 5 from Kindergarten through 8th grade. I conduct a weekly meeting where our teachers discuss and continue learning about Daily 5 and the CAFE, and a common struggle among us all is how to have meaningful strategy groups while also individually conferring with students regularly enough to see that a strategy is being practiced and applied. How does one teacher balance individual conferring for reading and writing, as well as find time to teach strategy groups? It seems there is never a way to meet all my students’ needs, and I find myself feeling frustrated, constantly searching for a way to make it easier. My students highly value their individual conferring because they know I truly care about what they are reading and writing, so… how can I successfully use strategy groups [so handy for teaching differentiated strategies] and individual conferring for reading AND writing, all while maintaining a Daily 5 structure with choice and brief focus lessons in between?!? Help!





Stephanie Traverse

Thank you for all of your help. I purchased Words Their Way this morning after reading your reply. Yes, I plan on taking my time to build stamina and to help my sanity! Last question (for now) with Work on Writing, can they work on the genres that I have to teach or is it mainly for free choice writing?


I advise you to set up a Writer’s Workshop separate from your Daily 5/CAFE time. It can be during the LA block, maybe once or twice a week–your D5 time will just be shorter those days. (Important to keep the two distinguished.) That is when you can most definitely teach the genres you need for them to work on.


PS I hope you like WTW–I think you’ll find it supportive and all laid out for you to use. Again, any questions I’m happy to share what I know :).

Stephanie Traverse

I don’t have a separate Language Arts block. I have to teach reading, language, writing, and vocabulary within 80 minutes. That is why I am having difficulty figuring it all out. It is doable. I just have to think about it. I got my room finished today so I have all next week to try to figure something out. I thought I could do writing and language two days a week and still have daily 5 stations and then do reading three days. Thanks for all of your help.


For me, getting the room ready is like a big “ahhhhh” and then I can think about everything else I have to do!!

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