Jacksonville Country Day School (JCDS) offers state-of-the-art classes and activities that push students to explore new and exciting opportunities, including an elective class on computer coding and in depth science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) projects. None of these programs would be possible, however, without a strong foundation of reading and writing fundamentals.
JCDS adopted two new learning models called the Daily 5 and CAFE several years ago and they are fully ingrained into the curriculum. Both models stress independent literacy habits that the student will use throughout their life.
The Daily 5 consists of:
- Reading to self
- Reading to someone
- Working on writing
- Word work
- Listening to reading
Both the Daily 5 and CAFE foster independence and allows for differentiation in learning. Kindergarten teacher Wendy Johnston explains, “They allow the teacher to work with a small group of students or with one student at a time.”
Teachers take a direct approach to spark a more creative thought process for students. They ask questions of the students along the way to provoke higher level and more in depth ways of thinking. Students are challenged to express themselves and also learn more through the individual attention.
During literacy class in Kindergarten, students are divided into five groups, each emphasizing one of the five Daily 5 tasks. They have a set of ten words used during the section and review those words using different activities like outlining the words in Play-Doh or free writing about what they would do if the “Cat in the Hat” visited their house.
Also, Kindergarten student projects included working on a Presidents Day book while others use dice to “roll an idea” to make sentences for a story. Students also have their own individual basket of books so their reading is differentiated for each child’s specific ability.
“The children are excited to read. They are always asking when we are doing another round of reading,” continued Johnston.
Daily 5, as well as CAFE, standing for comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary, help students to become more confident writers. Students build writing stamina and phonetic awareness skills that are strengthened throughout the process.
A CAFE menu is posted on the classroom wall, which serves as a visual reminder of class and student goals, is built throughout the year. The menu helps to track the strengths and goals of each student and engages students to reach those goals.
Teachers lead open discussions about what has been covered so far in the class. Students are engaged with each other as well as the teacher. The teacher provokes deeper thought through class conversation. This stimulates the thought process and engages the class in a variety of activities.
“With CAFE and Daily 5 you don’t have to stick to a textbook,” said Leslie Wilkins, second grade teacher. “It’s more of a real world application with something tied to the skills we are learning.”
Teachers gives one on one attention to student projects. In a second grade class students are asked to look at the authors purpose for writing a book. Some books are to persuade, some are to inform, and others are written to entertain, the second graders learn.
In an application project students are given a magazine advertisement and must write a sentence to persuade, to inform, and to entertain. This allows the students to express themselves creatively and work on their own level so they stay challenged and engaged.
In the classroom everyone benefits using the Daily 5 and CAFE management and strategies. Daily 5 and CAFE enables teachers to differentiate and understand their student's literacy development. For children it builds literacy confidence and independence.