Sunday, July 22, 2012

CAFE Book Study - Reflections on Ch. 1

We Read, We Blog, We Teach

I wanted to share my thoughts about the CAFE book on the We Read, We Blog, We Teach site but because I tend to be long winded and didn't want to hog the space, I've decided to do my own post about Chapter 1!

First, I absolutely LOVE the CAFE book . . . mainly because it puts all those seemingly disparate bits and pieces I was doing in the classroom into a very succinct and focused manner.  And it's written in a very practical, hands-on type of way.

Here's where I was at BEFORE I decided to embrace Daily 5 and CAFE:
  • used a workshop approach in both reading/writing
  • had a reading assessment binder where I recorded student reading levels, reading assessment test results, books they were reading (Status of the Class) and individual conference notes
  • whole group mini-lessons (which weren't so mini and sometimes took up a reading period)
  • individual conferences (when I found the time to squeeze in students...very inconsistent!)
  • occasionally pulled groups that needed help with comprehension (I tried the Guided Reading thing, but just couldn't figure out how to make it work)
Here's what I DID NOT like about what I was doing:
  •  not enough time for individual conferences (which I totally believe are invaluable)
  • "loosey-goosey" ongoing (formative) assessment structure
  • mini-lessons that weren't mini
  • no structured group/guided reading
**After reading CAFE, I actually felt like I was not doing a very good job teaching literacy**  Can you say "feelings of inadequacy"

After reading CAFE --
Here's what I'm most excited about:
  •   The Pensieve! Although I used an assessment binder to keep students' reading data in, the Pensieve just totally kicks it up a notch . . . I actually went to the Zazzle website and ordered a custom made one! . . . that's how excited I am about it!

 Here's what I'm most comfortable with:
  • whole group instruction - despite the fact that many of my mini lessons tend not to be so mini and that is something I will need to definitely tweak,  I have a good repertoire of mini-lessons (especially if I break them down even further!)
Here's what I'm cautiously optimistic about:
  • meeting with students on an individual basis - implementing Daily 5 will allow me the time (which was so desperately lacking before) to conference regularly with students which they actually loved to do, too. :)
Here's what I'm downright scared most concerned about:
  • strategy groups!  I didn't feel comfortable with Guided Reading, so this area is totally outside my comfort zone and will be the one area that I will stress about.  Having said that, the CAFE book gives lots of suggestions and examples of what it looks like AND I'm sure there will be lots of suggestions from fellow bloggers about how to address this . . . I HOPE! :)
Feel free to leave your 2¢ :)


  1. First off, I love your blog and I'm your newest follower (woo!)

    Second, I am 100% understanding your feelings. Whole group is where my comfort zone has always been, but in the back of my mind I knew that it wasn't the best way to do things. Guided reading is SO difficult, especially time-wise. Grouping students by strategy makes my stomach hurt because it is also SO SO out of my comfort zone. While reading these books, I keep having saying to myself, "well, yea.." "duh.." "I KNOW!"..and hopefully these thoughts of "yes this is right and yes I must do this" will get me out of the uncomfortable feeling! Looking forward to reading more!!

    Ms. G In Grade 3

    1. Ms.'re #40 (woo!) thanks for the comments...glad to read that my trepidations are probably a common feeling amongst teachers. I feel good knowing that, at least I'm trying to do something about it instead of just doing nothing. :) Actions DO speak louder than words but its the moving from words to actions... that's the hard part. LOL

  2. Monica,
    First off I am your newest follower along with a being a Newbie of just a few days. I found you on the BLog Hop.
    I have been participating in the Book Study Daily5/Cafe as well. I have been doing Cafe for the past 3 years. I have found it difficult to include the Strategy piece within the framework of the day. I am bound and determined to give it a whirl. In the past I felt it was necessary to meet with each of my students each day on an individual basis. i think I may have to relinquish that a bit.
    Isn't nice to know that we are not alone in our thinking?
    Looking forward to following you.
    If you decide to hop over my way...please be aware that I am still navigating,trying to figure out how to include pictures,possibly jumping on the Blog bandwagon and having someone create my site...decisions,decisions! :)

  3. New follower here. I tried to use the Daily CAFE this year, but I just had so many new programs to learn that I wasn't able to fully integrate it into my teaching. I'm hoping it goes better this year. What I had the most difficulty with was the conferencing. Especially the time portion of it.

    If you have a moment, stop over and visit my blog. It isn't up yet, but later this week, I will be posting my thoughts on the pensieve and alternatives/ways to make it work for you.

    Teaching In A Nutshell