As I posted about here we have modified the CAFE and Daily 5 in our Literacy block for Grade 3/4s.  The CAFE/Daily 5 has been the perfect fit for me as a teacher as well as being the perfect transition for our students from the Early Years Model that our school operates in grade Prep-2 into the Literacy block of the Upper Primary School.  Students still have structure and support with reading, but are given freedom and independence to set their own goals and work on achieving those goals.

Our school is unique in our open plan learning areas, TRIBES culture, team teaching, Grade 3/4 focus on blogging, 7 Steps to Writing Success Program, and the use of 7 school ipads. When planning our timetable we took all this into consideration and broke the CAFE/Daily5 Literacy Block into 5 Components.

PART 1: Community Circle– We are a TRIBES school and as part of our learning community, the whole school begins the day with 15-20 minutes of a Community Circle.  The topic is either selected by students or the teacher and every student has an opportunity to share or has the right to pass (and come back to again!).  In terms of CAFE/DAILY 5, we use this time as a focus on oral language and speaking skills.

PART 2: Whole Class Blogging Focus:  We look at our latest posts and comments. We learn how to write quality comments and posts. We explore other class blogs and student blogs. Students break up into small task teams that take an area of the blog that they wish to improve and brainstorm ideas and plan posts to invigorate that idea. Student Bloggers are given time to work on their student blogs.

PART 3Whole Class Reading Focus: We use this time to introduce of reinforce a reading strategy based on the CAFE Model.  Students spend the time learning a strategy and then practicing that strategy in a task or in their “Good Fit Books”.  We have our third teacher reading with identified students that require additional support and one to one reading time.

PART 4: Daily 5: As a team, we decided early on that we would like to give the students a chance to do the Daily 5 independently and give them real choice. We thought we would trial them and see if they could chose appropriate tasks and to see if the learning outcomes were being met. I am happy to report that the students have FAR exceeded our expectations on both accounts.  Their are a few things that we feel made this a success:

1) Explicit teaching of all areas of the Daily 5 and regular conferencing to ensure their needs are being met.

2) Reminding students of purpose of Daily 5. Before we start the Daily 5 each day, we meet with both grades of students and ask them to share their goal with a partner and share what they plan on working on to improve that goal today.  They share the two tasks they are going to complete before we run the Daily 5.  We find this assists the students in getting on task quickly and allows students who wish to do EEKK (reading together) a time to pair up.

3) Accountability! We have charts that they have to fill in each week with what activities they have chosen. They complete these at the end of each CAFE and teachers regularly check them and ensure students are mixing up their activities and meeting tasks set for their goals.

4) We run the Daily 5 in two 15 minute sessions (timer is used!).  Students stay on one of the 5 Daily 5 Tasks for 15 minutes and then swap to a second task.  The options for Tasks are….


* Read to Someone: EEKK (Elbow to Elbow Knee to Knee). Students work in the classroom area sharing the reading of a book with a partner. Students can pair off with any level reader and chose any type of book.  This has led to many students teaching students this year, which has been inspiring to watch. It has also led to a culture of sharing good series or novels that students have enjoyed and sharing their love of that book with their partners.

* Read to Self: Students Read silently to themselves with a “Good Fit Book”.

* Word Work: We run the Soundwaves Spelling Program across the Grade 3-6s on a Friday.  Students are allowed to work on spelling homework this time.  We also have a Word Work station where we leave worksheets on whatever topic we feel students need extra practice with.  We base this on their previous week’s writing.  Worksheet topics include handwriting, synonyms, prefixes, suffixes, etc.

* Work on Writing: Students are invited to leave comments on our class blog, other student blogs, or other school blogs during this time.  During our Blogging session we will sometimes highlight comments that should be responded to and ask for volunteers to reply to their comments.  Students that are drafting posts for our blog are invited to use this time to so as well.  Student bloggers are also invited to use Work on Writing to work on their own student blogs.

*Listen to Reading: Students are invited to use ipads to listen to stories apps.  We like to use the most interactive story apps we can find to make the learning as engaging as possible.  Students can also chose from a list of websites on our blog that also provide listening to actors/actresses or authors read their work.

TEACHER’S ROLE: During the DAILY 5 time, when students are on independent tasks, the two classroom teachers are conferencing with students by setting new reading goals or checking in on their existing goals.  Classroom teachers are also conducting small groups focus lessons.  These lessons consist of students that are all working on the same goal.  We meet and discuss goal and practice something related to our goals. We have the added bonus of a floating teacher who checks in with students as to what goal they are working on, why they have chosen the topic they are on, and reports back to classroom teachers.

SILENT READING: After lunch all student across the school spend 10-15 minutes of Silent Reading which also supplements our CAFE time giving students a further opportunity to practice Read to Self.

PART 5: Writing: The first half of the focus this year was on the individual 7 steps.  We spent two weeks explicitly teaching each step. The second half of the year is focus on writing many different genres whilst implementing the 7 steps into our writing.


How do you integrate technology into your literacy block?

How have your students responded to choice in their literacy block?



5 thoughts on “HOW OUR CAFE and DAILY 5 WORK

    • Thanks for the comment Donna,

      Community circles are a big part of our day at school. Great way to check in with each student at the start of the day and see where they are at. Also great way to safely explore all sorts of social/emotional issues. And not to mention all the academic twists a community circle can take.


  1. I can’t wait for an opportunity to teach in a primary school! I am inspired 🙂
    So many exciting literacy activities for your students. I still think most the activities planned in my high school English class are awesome, however I think some of my 15yo would disagree ;p

    • Dear Reflective Teacher,

      Teaching in primary school is fantastically fun at times. It is an opportunity for me to be a kid and play as well! I am sure your classroom is full of fun as well, although fun for a 15yo and a 8yo is probably not as different as we think.

      What sorts of activities does your English class enjoy doing?

  2. Pingback: Cafe and Daily 5 — Reflections 2012

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