Reimagining Daily 5 and CAFE for intermediate grades: Readers’ CRAFT.

Beginnings

I was first really introduced to the Daily 5 about a year ago when my wife and I requested a meeting with our daughter’s teacher to learn more about this program that was happening in their class.  I immediately liked it, and began to imagine how it could work in my grade 6/7 class. Due to other circumstances (see my last post), I had a lot on my mind and didn’t pursue the matter…  Fast forward a year and I find myself teaching grade 6/7 in that same school my students attend.  There is a whole-school focus to implement elements of the Daily 5, but we have 10 primary divisions and only 5 intermediate divisions.  Needless to say things are often primary focussed and I again found myself thinking about how the this could all work in upper intermediate. My principal ordered a copy of The Daily 5 book (by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) for each staff member, so I figured I could start with Read to Self and have time to figure our the rest when the book arrived, so I jumped right in with both feet.

Students immediately took to Read to Self and had a sense of purpose with their independent reading that I haven’t experienced before.  We made I-charts, built stamina, learned all about good-fit-books, and plotted our progress…

Read to Self Plot

Very shortly, the class had built up their stamina to sustain their reading for forty minutes and I didn’t know what to do with the time because the book hadn’t arrived yet.  However, The Daily 5 book arrived shortly before Christmas break and I devoured it before picking up The CAFE Book too.  Over these past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to continue.

Next Steps

Now that I’ve read the books, I know how to break down my literacy time, insert mini lessons, conference with students and add new elements of the Daily 5.  The next element will be Work on Writing, but more on that shortly.

What I’m looking forward to right now are those mini lessons and student conferences.  But this is where it’s taken a lot of thought to adjust for upper intermediate.  Much of the Daily 5 focuses on emergent reader strategies, and by grade 6/7 there are few of them left.  Does that mean that I drop Listen to Reading or Read to Someone? No, I don’t think so, but they might look different than what’s presented in the books.  Many of the strategies might look different too, especially under the Accuracy and Fluency headings.

Reading some blog posts at Ladybug’s Teacher Files and Runde’s Room also got me thinking about the CAFE analogy.  I like what these two have done and changed it to Readers’ CRAFT.  First, I connect more to this constructivist approach as it reminds us that we are doing more than taking in items off of a menu (an over simplification, I know), but we, as readers, are selecting the tools needed to build ourselves up as good readers.  I’ve gone so far as to call the new menu a Readers’ Craft Toolbox.

In the Reader’s CRAFT, C, A and F are taken from CAFE to be Comprehension, Accuracy and Fluency, but R is for Response to Text and T is for Text Elements, or Terms and Vocabulary, depending on who you talk to. The author of Ladybug’s Teacher Files uses Text Elements because her grade 5 class is has a high number of ELL students, and that works for her, but I think that’s just an expansion of the Use text features strategy from the Comprehension category.  I prefer the idea of Terms and Vocabulary both because it stays closer to Boushey and Moser’s Expand Vocabulary, and because Jen Runde’s descriptor is: I can find, understand, and use interesting words. Which both speaks to the constructivist in me and is again close to Boushey and Moser’s intent.

Response to Text is the significant difference in the change from CAFE to CRAFT.  I know that it begins to move away from Boushey and Moser’s focus solely on the reading, but in the intermediate grades, where literacy moves from learning to read toward reading to learn, reading responses have an integral part and I feel that they can be integrated into the CAFE structure both formally and informally as students develop as good readers. This structure will help me leverage them better as part of a more holistic program.

Reader's CRAFT

Work on Writing

The next element of the Daily 5 that I intend to introduce is Work on Writing. I’m not quite ready to do that yet because I want to do some more research.  In my reading of books and countless blogs these past few weeks I came across one blog were the author developed a writing menu based on the Six Traits of Writing for a K/1/2 classes.  I’ve used the Six Traits to structure my writing program in previous years and love the idea of integrating it into a CAFE type menu, so I’ll see what I can do for grade 6/7.  Unfortunately, I can’t find that blog again as I write this, but I’ll update the post to give credit if/when I come across it again. But it’s likely somewhere in one of the posts I’ve pinned on my Daily 5 Pinterest Board. I also just noticed (literally) that Jen Runde has rearranged the traits: Ideas, Organization, Voice, (Excellent) Word Choice, Sentence Fluency and Conventions into a VOICES menu.  I think I’ll have to take a closer look at this and see how the Six Trait strategies can be used this way… there’s so much to learn hers, and I’m so excited about it!

More Integration

I also need to spend more time Adrienne Gear’s Reading Power and Writing Power books.  The strategies in those will fit well into both CRAFT and VOICES, so to start, I don’t think that I’ll give students a personal copy of these but will instead give them a blank copy that they can fill in with the strategies that we learn in the mini lessons.  That way, I’ll be able to modify the lists as I learn alongside the students.

FREEBIES

CRAFT and VOICES are a work in progress for me, and I still need to figure out if it will be Daily 5 or Daily 4 (I don’t see Word Work working out with my class, unless it’s just a time to work on their spelling program) but because I’ve spent a ton of time on it, and I like to share, this link is a free copy of the CRAFT board and other forms I recreated to setup my Daily 5 pensieve. I’ve provided a PDF of the CRAFT board headers to preserve the fonts because I created it in a Mac version of MS Word that many might not have standard fonts, but I’ve included the .docx file of everything to make it free to change and personalize.

CRAFT Board Headers (PDF, docx)
Individual Reading Conference (PDF, docx)
Individual Writing Conference (PDF, docx)
Keeping Track Conference Record (PDF, docx)
Menu Cards (docx)
Reader’s CRAFT Toolbox (PDF, docx)
Strategy Groups Instruction (PDF, docx)

The files are licensed under a Creative Commons, non-commercial, share-alike license, meaning you’re free to use them and tweak them, as long as you give credit to me for my contribution (as I have done for those I have built upon) and don’t make any financial gain.

by-nc-sa1

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10 thoughts on “Reimagining Daily 5 and CAFE for intermediate grades: Readers’ CRAFT.

  1. I’m inspired. I am looking forward to discussing your findings and journey. It’s exciting that we are all working together to improve literacy.

  2. Thanks so much the word documents! We are starting CRAFT in my 9th grade reading class– I was looking for something to adapt rather than trying to re-invent the wheel! Love hear how it goes with your group.

  3. Great stuff Jeremy! I really found it interesting how CAFE was adapted and expanded upon. We also use 6-traits and Daily 5 at our school. But since we do inquiry-based learning, we have to incorporate research skills into our literacy program for intermediate grades. So I’m wondering about R in CRAFT to relate to research. hmm….well, you gave me a lot to ponder. Thanks for sharing the great ideas.

  4. Excellent! I am going to use CRAFT in my 8th grade ELA classroom. My elementary-aged sons love Reading Cafe, but I too was struggling to adapt it to my middle school classroom. Thanks!

  5. Jeremy, I’ve been using the CAFE board this past school year, but am thinking to change it to the CRAFT board. When you are working with students on their individual goals, I know they need a reading goal, but do you give them a writing goal, I assume this would be the R section as well? My students put their sticky notes next to their goal, but didn’t know if they needed 2 sticky notes instead of just one.

    • Thanks for your question Evan. Through the mini lessons I work with students to focus on various strategies in general, but in conferences students and I will make individual reading and writing goals depending on the student’s needs. These may come from mini lesson strategies or might be in response to something that comes up in their reading or writing.

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