Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making the Daily 5 Work for Me (With an organizational freebie!)

Well I've made it to Thanksgiving/Conference week. So, it means crazy Monday and Tuesday, followed by relaxing and family time the rest of the week.

Now that I've made it through my first trimester at my new school, I wanted to evaluate how the Daily 5/Cafe is working for me this year. This is the first year I've done either of them, so I've had some trial and error to get through. You'll notice I only have four rounds as we are doing the "Daily 4" and do not include listen to reading in our day.

One of the first things I tackled was my small group schedule. I wanted to make sure I was giving equal time to all of my guided reading groups AND still have time to meet with my word study groups (I use Words Their Way). With my need for order, I created this template to plan my time using a six day cycle: (Click on the image to download your free copy in Power Point - I used fronts from Hello Literacy and Sweet Shoppe Designs)
 I also created a BLANK one to hand out the kids if they wanted to make a schedule for themselves. Some of my very organized kiddos ate this up!
This was my starting framework. And, I think it was the hardest part for me. I was very used to larger blocks of whole group time, whereas this model is very centered on small group instruction as the priority. Does anyone else have this struggle? Sometimes I feel as though I have no time for longer activities because I must get to my small groups. Days I do choose to do activities, I feel like I am not doing those small groups justice because they have missed their time with me on those days.

Suggestions? Comments? Commiserations? 

The other thing I came across was the need for accountability as some of my fourth graders are really good at "pretending to do work". I'm sure no one else has that issue ....
So, in trying to make sure they are doing their "jobs" I created a chart they fill in each day to tell me what they did during each round of the Daily 5. Here it is: 
Click on the first image to download a copy in Power Point. If you like the fonts on mine, check them out from Gingersnaps!

Ok, that is what I have so far. I keep wanted to tweak and change what I am doing so that it works best for me and my students. I'd be interested to hear how you make the Daily 5 work for you.


  1. Hi,
    Just found your blog! Love the Daily 5 too. I nominated you for the Liebster Award...stop by my blog and check it out!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

  2. Hi! I just found your blog through the School Supply Addict. This post just speaks to me! I started Daily 5 for the first time this year as well and also do Daily 4, leaving out listening to reading. I also created a checklist for students to record their activities at the rotations. I am really struggling with keeping up with writing conferences and still don't know how to tackle small group lessons effectively with the individual conferences. I only have 80 minutes a day total with my ELA group (we switch students for ELA). How much time do you have? I would love to hear your thoughts and advice:)
    I am so glad to have found another 4th grade blog!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

    1. We have from 9:10 (on a good day) until 10:50, so theoretically I have 100 minutes. So, I can imagine with only 80 it would be even tougher. I will say that writing is usually the thing that falls to the wayside in my classroom because I am finishing up my small groups. I'm still trying to get a hold on how I can do justice to everything, when I just need more time!
      I just still need to work on timing ... keeping my mini-lessons mini, keeping my small group lessons in check (it's so easy to get carried away and spend too much time with one group), and making sure I get to writing. If anyone has all of the answers I sure would LOVE to hear them!!

  3. thank you for this schedule! it works beautifully for middle schoolers changing classes for the first time. colored coded folders & note book sot match the class.