Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Comparison:The Daily Five and Writer's Workshop

Overall objective
Improve Writing Instruction

Today's Learning Objective
Teachers will be able to identify similarities and differences betwen D5  practices and the Writer's Workshop approach.

Marzano's research in best practices has identified comparing and contrasting as a highly successful instructional strategy.  My goal in utilizing this best practice with the staff today was to help them recognize that they already have many of the tools to take our writing instruction to a new level.
Teachers list the similarities and differences between
D5/CAFE and their current Writer's Workshop

The Task 
Each grade level team was given a sheet of paper to make a comparison chart between Daily 5 and Writer's Workshop.  They could come up with a chart, a Venn diagram, or any other visual means to show the similarities and differences.  After each team completed the task, we discussed and recorded some of their ideas.

After each grade level made their own comparison charts, I recorded some of their ideas
for the whole group to see
It became quite apparent that there were far more similarities than differences.  The middle column shows how D5/CAFE and Writer's Workshop are similar.  Some of the similarities listed included:  conferencing, mini-lessons, building stamina, modeling, independent practice, read-alouds, and sharing.  Some of the differences included the amount of time built into their schedules for each--90 minutes for reading vs. 60 minutes for writing and during D5 the writing the students do is in response to texts.

It was my goal for the staff to see that many of the procedures they have taught their students and the practices they employ each day during their reading block will transfer quite nicely to the writer's workshop.  Realizing we have been on a 2.5 year journey to school-wide Daily 5 and CAFE, I know that there is still some work to do-- professional development, support and encouragement.  However, after today's comparison, I feel the staff believes that improving our writing block will be an easier path due to the foundation the D5/CAFE has provided.  Just one more reason to thank the sisters.  Thank you Gail and Joan! 


  1. I really like the format you used for this post! Structuring your post as a Professional Development "lesson plan" is visually appealing and easy to understand, I think. Plus it shows the importance of principals approaching professional development as a lesson they are teaching to their own teachers.

  2. What do you mean by fidelity for Daily 5 and infidelity for writer's workshop?

  3. Already using Daily 5 and CAFE with fidelity-consistent, on a regular basis. Writer's workshop had been hit or miss in the past--not consistent daily workshop. This school year, writer's workshop is part of their daily schedule and 60 minutes a day is dedicated to it.