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)
- 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 --
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!
- 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!)
- 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. :)
- 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! :)