Thursday, October 6, 2011

Daily Five Mini-Lessons: How they look in Room 10

Have I mentioned how much I love using Daily Five to organize my reading instruction? Well I do. This is my third year using Daily Five and 2nd year to integrate CAFE. I love Daily Five because students have such freedom, in such a controlled setting, and they *SO* get the importance and urgency of reading. My kids LOVE to read because Daily Five gives them choice and ownership of their learning!

I have done several posts about Daily Five and my guided reading groups, but this one is devoted to the mini-lessons I teach prior to each guided reading group.

Mini-lesson 1- spelling/phonics

On Monday, this mini-lesson is devoted to our spelling words for the week. We spell them together, talk about the rule, chunk them into like groups, etc... this then hangs up in the room all week for students to use during "Work on Words" and just to have exposure to in general. After we find out about our words, students are given a page that has two lists. They cut the list in half, glue one into their "word journal" which lives in their book boxes and the other goes home at the end of the day so they have it for their "Speller's Choice" homework during the week.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, this mini-lesson is devoted to all things "hunks and chunks". We learn a new "hunk" on Tuesday, review old ones, and always do decoding activities where we find and identify hunks and chunks in words. Students come to the chart paper, circle a "hunk or chunk", and decode the word. We do a few each day until we finish on Friday. This is also a great chance for me to build vocabulary! I usually choose a few odd words that I believe they have not encountered often. It's always interesting to see which words they know and which they don't!
Mini-lesson #1 on Thursday of each week is all about the spelling. We do some sort of game or other practice activity. We love making our words out of Play Dough, quizzing a friend, and having a spelling bee as a class. This past week, we each chose six words that were tricky for us, folded a sheet of construction paper into six parts, wrote a word in each part, and then rolled a dice. Whatever number came up, that was the word we had to write. They had a blast!

Mini-lesson 2- CAFE

The 2nd mini-lesson is always on a strategy for our CAFE menu. This past week, we focused on a comprehension strategy all week. When I choose the strategy, I look at both of my teacher editions and try to touch on both of the weekly suggested strategies. Last week, the 1st grade strategy was character & setting, which they are pretty secure with and we've already learned anyway, so I only focused on the 2nd grade skill of main idea & details. I'm glad I had time daily to work on this because we really struggled! I chose a non-fiction book about fires and floods because the week before, the 2nd grade story in Treasures was about firefighters. So, this allowed us to also make text-to-text connections. We read a part of the story each day, talked about main idea & details, and made several graphic organizers together. I put the picture of one below. On Monday, I introduce the strategy and model. We learn lots of hand movements for our different strategies. Having something kinesthetic to represent a strategy really helps cement it in students' minds. I have tons of resources for teaching comprehension skills. If you want a peek at how I organize them, check out this post.

On Tuesday, I do an interactive think aloud with the strategy where the students get to participate in my thinking. Wednesdays, we do a game or activity with the strategy. This week, we watched a "Brainpopjr" on main idea and supporting details. Thursday is a day of practical practice where we created a graphic organizer together and Friday is always a review.

I usually read two to three picture books each week during the CAFE round, which I LOOOOVE! Exposing them to high quality literature while practicing reading skills makes my heart go pitter-patter with delight! If you've been a follower of my blog for a while, you probably know that I am a huge reading comprehension nerd. Nothing is cooler than teaching kids how to understand a text and then seeing them put that in to practice! I don't teach a comprehension skill every week. Sometimes we review old strategies and other days we learn a strategy for accuracy, fluency, or expand vocabulary. The majority of these lessons are comprehension lessons though!

Mini-lesson 3- Grammar

The final mini-lesson is the grammar lesson. I touch on both Treasures skills every week in my grammar min-lesson. This past week, the 1st grade skill was about types of sentences/ending punctuation and the 2nd grade lesson was identifying subjects and predicates. I always "prep" a chart paper at the end of one week for the following week with the hunks and chunks on the top and grammar practice things on the bottom. This week, I wrote several sentences and we read them on Monday and talked about the type of sentence each was was, identified the end punctuation, and watched a "Brainpopjr" on sentence types. On Tuesday, I introduced the reviewed the idea of subjects and predicates. We identified them in each of the sentences.

Wednesday is always a game or activity to review the grammar skill. This week we played our favorite "type of sentence" game where I say a sentence and the kids make a noise and movement to show what type of sentence it is as well as what the end mark is.

If I say, "I am a teacher". They go "Boop!" and use their pointer fingers to act out making a period. If I say, "What day is it?". They go "Hmmmm?" and use their pointer to trace a question mark in the air. If I say something like, "Today is my birthday!" they shout "Oh yeah!" and use their pointer to trace an exclamation point in the air. Last, if I give a command ("Go to your room!") they say "Right now!" and use their pointer to make an exclamation point. It's super fun... they love doing commands and exclamations!

On Thursday of each week, we finish on our chart and review what we've learned. And on Friday, I try to have them do some sort of "paper pencil" work on the grammar skill. When the grade level skills are different for the week, each grade level would do a worksheet on their own skill.

I also run a "PM Meeting" each day where we write the leader's "News of the Day". I will be doing a post about "News of the Day" soon because I LOVE it. During this time (which is only about 5-7 minutes), I teach and review a TON of grammar every day! We also do our phonemic awareness activities during this time.

In between each mini-lesson...

If you aren't familiar with the structure of Daily Five, in between each mini-lesson, the students do a self-selected literacy choice while I teach small groups. Last week I did a lengthy post on my guided reading groups that you can read about here. And if you want more info on Daily Five, check out these posts.

I hope that was helpful! Feel free to post questions and I'll address them in a follow-up post sometime next week!

Have a great weekend, teacher friends!  UPDATE- July 4, 2012- use the QR codes below to hop along to other mystery locations for great blog posts!!!!!


  1. Love the type of sentence game!!!!!!! Adorable!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  2. This is great! Still divulging it all .... but seriously .... thank you! I might be ordering the Phonics Dance and the Phonemic Awareness book now ;-)

  3. I love this! Would it be possible to get this in document form? If so, my email is

  4. OH MY GOODNESS. I hit the JACKPOT-- thanks!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing how you structure this! I've been trying daily 5 for the first time this year and really struggling with making mini-lessons work - this is so helpful!
    Kindergarten Creativity

  6. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! Thanks so much for all the great information!
    Ms. A
    Oceans of First Grade Fun

  7. Such great information! Thank you so much! I do have one question because I use Treasures also. When do you read the basal story and work on the vocabulary words?

  8. I supplement treasures with the phonics dance as well. I'd love to hear how you choose which hunks and chunks to focus on each week. Do you use the order in Phonics Dance manual or have you found some sort of way to tie it in with treasures? Any phonics dance ideas would be welcome!

  9. I LOVE this post! Thank you soooo much! How do you take grades, or do you use a checklist?

  10. Wow, Christina!
    This was helpful to me and I teach SIXTH grade! I love that your kids understand the "urgency of reading."
    I'm going to print this post so that I can read it more carefully later.
    Thanks for the great ideas and the careful explanation.

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  11. Goodness! Thank you for this post! I don't know how I forgot about it, since I've been following your blog since summer. I am using CAFE & Daily 5 (LOVE THEM), but needed some better organization for my mini lessons. THANK YOU!

  12. Christina,

    I am so happy to have found your blog! Thanks for linking up with the Mystery Blog Hop.

    I'm doing lots of research before I implement Daily 5. Now I have a new resource!

    I am your newest follower. :)

    One Class, One Sound

  13. I am checking out all of the blogs in the QR Mystery Blog Hop. Since mine is in grades 3-6, I thought I would look at all of the primary ones. Yours is awesome!

  14. This was a great post to link up with. Thanks for sharing it!
    Christi ツ
    Ms. Fultz’s Corner

  15. I'm so happy to have found this post! Our school year started 3 weeks ago, but I've been wanting to change things up this year and start implementing the Daily 5 instead of doing my traditional "centers". I'm a planning fanatic and I've been spending this long weekend researching schedules and plans of other teachers implementing Daily 5 and now, especially Treasures along with it. So I'm jumping in and giving the whole she-bang a try this year!It's my 3rd year with Treasures in 1st grade and I feel pretty competent on how they teach various strategies and processes. So thank you again for your mini-lesson outline and all the previous posts I'm currently hunting through!

  16. I absolutely LOVE your ideas! I was looking for a way to structure my Guided Reading mini lessons. This is so organized and focused. THANK YOU!! So glad I found your link on pinterest!

  17. Christina! I cannot express how helpful your blog has been. I am going to be teaching for the first time this year and it has been such an amazing resource! I have 1 question...did you follow the launch the 2 sisters suggested in The Daily 5 book? I know you had to modify how you used The Daily 5 in your classroom since your school uses Treasures, so I was wondering if you had to modify the launch as well. If not, did you have to hold off on starting Treasures for a few weeks? My school uses Treasures, too, so I want to make sure I incorporate The Daily 5 and Treasures correctly.


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