Thursday, July 21, 2011


1.  Laminate Anchor Charts~Create anchor charts with the students.  Record their ideas.  Afterwards, neatly rewrite charts and fancy them up as desired.  Laminate the final chart and hang in the classroom.  Next year, create anchor charts with your new students, but instead of rewriting the chart for display puposes, pull out the laminated chart from the previous year (it will have similar information) and hang it.

2.  Check for Understanding Strategy~The Sisters suggest using checkmarks cut from wood, with the strategy written on them.  Instead, use precut rectangular pieces of foam.  Use a permanent marker to record "Check for Understanding" on one side and "Who?" and "What?" on the reverse side.  These foam pieces can be purchased from craft stores.  They are extremely durable and inexpensive.

3.  Listen to Reading~Use classroom computers as a Listen to Reading station.  There are many great websites where students can listen to stories on-line.  Some of my favorites are and

4.  Creat a Reading Bag~A bag or tote with pockets works best.  The tote would include the following items: 
  • Dry Erase Board
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Pensieve
  • Leveled Books
  • Sticky Notes
  • Pencils
  • Word Cards/Letter Cards

5.  Repertoire of Mentor Texts~Locate a number of menor texts in advance.  Use these during your minilessons or focus lessons.  Short texts are best because you can finsih the entire text within the time frame of your focus lesson and the students are able to focus on the strategy being taught.

6.  Book Baskets~Be creative when looking for appropriate book boxes or book baskets.  Many teachers use book boxes which can be a little costly.  A good substitue is a book basket.  Baskets can be purchased at the Dollar Store and they come in a variety of colors.

7.  Strategy Board~Instead of writing the student's name on a sticky note and placing the note next to the strategy the student is working on, use a photo of the student instead.  At the beginning of the school year take head shots of each child.  Place the child's picture on the strategy board next to the strategy he/she is working on.

8.  Keep Track of Read-Alouds~Keep a record of all books that are read aloud to your students.  Keep this list posted somewhere in the classroom.  Update the list daily/weekly (this could be a classroom job.)  Record the book title, author, and genre.  Poster board works well, but I prefer a scroll.  Make one by stapling papers together and rolling up and unrolling as you add books to your list.  At the end of the school year you can revisit some of the favorites from the list.

9.  Utilize Technology~If you have a Smart Board, you can use some of the smart tools to create an electronic version of the Daily 5 check-in.  Students move their icons/pictures/symbols to indicate their Daily 5 choice.

10.  Be Resourceful~There are a lot of great resources available that will complement what you're doing with the Daily 5.  Two of my favorite teacher resources are Growing Readers-Units of Study in the Primary Classroom by Kathy Collins, and Words Their Way-Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction (Pearson-Merrrill/Prentice Hall).  Read what others have to say on the subject and make it your own.


  1. Wow Val!
    You seemed to have really taken the Daily5 and made it your own. I have yet to start...bought the Daily5 and DailyCAFE books and am in the middle of reading them (and the Book Whisperer). I am so excited to be trying it this year as I have heard nothing but good things!!! I'm sure I'll be revisiting your tips!

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks Nancy,
    I love Daily5 and CAFE. I look forward to sharing more about both. Once I'm back in my classroom I'll be able to take pictures of more of the things I want to share, so stay tuned.

  3. Tena koe from New Zealand. Some great ideas here, thanks for sharing. I am just starting Daily 5 in my Year 5-8 class. I am always on the lookout for tips and bits that really work. Kia ora! (Thanks!)

    1. I think you will love Daily 5. The best advice I can give is: Go slow, to go fast later and make it your own. I would love to here how it's going once you launch Daily 5 in you classroom this year. Thanks for stopping by and good luck.

  4. Hi Valerie
    I love these tips - they are written so clearly and are a great reminder for Daily 5. We need lots of sites like yours as we don't think the "sisters" will ever travel to Australia to run training sessions. I've been using Daily 5 for about 2 years now and have lots of other classes on board now too. We love the 'explicitness" of the programme and the students are always engaged in their learning.

    1. Lisa,
      My students love the Daily 5. I think it's our favorite part of the day. I'm so happy you found this post useful. I hope the "Sisters" make it "Down Under" very soon. Thanks for stopping by.