Monday, July 30, 2012

CAFE- Chapter 3 and 4

Chapter 3:  CAFE Step by Step

  • Set up bulletin board with headings and definitions (there are many free printables on TPT)
  • Blank sheet of paper under each heading for children's sticky notes
The Board on the left is my new board for the fall.  It is from Ladybug's Teacher Files.
The Board on the right was from last year.  The children made the skills cards for me but I am creating them on the computer this year.

Day1:  First Read Aloud
Choose book and model "Check for Understanding"
Introduce CAFE board and add the strategy card
I use check marks for the kids to practice.  I have a set of fiction and nonfiction.  Click below for post.

Dots and Spots
Second Read Aloud
Read a book and model check for understanding
Pick and model a new strategy, they suggest "Cross Checking" (I did this with fourth graders last year and felt that the motions were too young for them)

Third Read Aloud
Read a book and model "Tune In to Interesting Words"  
I had them collect words on a book mark.  This year we are going to have a calendar to collect words.

Day 2: 
Review CAFE skills.
Read aloud a book and model "Back Up and Reread"

Day 3:
Continue introducing, modeling strategies and skills as needed.  My fourth graders moved at a quick pace.  I could introduce a few skills every day.

From Whole to Individual Conferences
Step 1: Assess with DRA's, IRI's, Running Records, Reading Inventory, Dibels, Etc.
Step 2: Discuss finding with students
Step 3: Set Goals and Identify Strategy
Step 4: Student declares goal on their menu and highlights sheet.  Student put sticky note on CAFE board.
Step 5: Teacher fills out Conference Form in the Pensieve.  (I use the app Confer)
Step 6: Teacher fills out Group Strategy form and plans lesson
Step 7: Small group instruction based on needs

Chapter 4: Conferring with Children

Step 1: Check calendar for appointments and keep track on sheet
Step 2: Prepare for conference by scanning notes while walking to child
Step 3: Observe child, listen to their reading and see if they apply strategies
Step 4: Give feedback and help child move forward as a reader.  Keep the conference short.
Step 5: Observe the child practice the new strategy
Step 6: Plan whether the child needs more practice or is ready to move on. Set up next conference.
Step 7: Encourage the children to continue working hard and give them the sense of responsibility and sense of ownership of their learning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

CAFE- Chapter 1 and 2

I implemented Daily 5 and CAFE in my fourth grade classroom last year.  I am so glad that I am rereading the books so that I can improve my practices this September.

Chapter 1: Introduction

**CAFE appeals to teachers because of its simplicity.**
  • How do we organize assessment data?
  • How do we track each child's strengths and goals?
  • What about flexible groups?
  • How do we present strategies so students can access them when needed and practice until proficient?
Core Elements:
  1. Teachers keep a notebook with a few record keeping forms.  (templates are in appendix of book)
  2. Children meet with teacher during literacy conferences.  Conferences are for children to be assessed, receive instructions, set goals and follow ups on progress.
  3. Teachers keep track of goals in notebook and children post goals on CAFE board.
  4. Teacher plans small group instruction.
  5. Whole group instruction is based on needs of many children using whole class read aloud of shared material.
Note- The CAFE is research-based and it is a work in progress.  It can be adapted and tweaked to meet your needs.

Chapter 2: Record Keeping

**Teachers need to set up a conferring notebooks, aka "The Pensieve"**

Section 1:
  • Teacher Notes
  • Calendar- to track appointments
  • Keeping Track Form- write dates of appt. next to child's name
  • Strategy Group Form- track and create mini lessons for flexible groups
(I started with a notebook and switched to an app called Confer...I need to work on both this year.  I also need to stay on top of my small group flexible grouping)  

Section 2:
  • Tab for each child with CAFE menu, reading and writing conference form
  • Form- track individual goals
Note- all forms are in the appendix.  They are very simple and easy to use.

Click on the link below to read more posts about Daily Five and CAFE for Grades 3-5

We Read, We Blog, We Teach

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's In the Bag!

I love my "thirty-one" school bag! (it is the Utility Bag)

You can drop a file box right inside to keep everything organized and still have plenty of extra room for books.

I even got a matching pencil case and flower.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

End of the Year Persuasive Essay

I had my class write a persuasive essay about "The Reasons Why I Deserve to Go to Fifth Grade" at the end of the year.   I purchased a unit from Lesson Plan SOS Teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It has the prewriting and publishing sheets. (I love their stuff and have used many in my fourth grade classroom!) They suggested dressing up like a judge and having the kids present their essay/case/arguments about why they should move on in a court room setting.  I used a graduation gown and a mini gavel to be the judge and my kids loved it!

I created a sign using white foam board.  I cut it with heavy scissors and outlined the edges with black electrical tape.  I enlarged the words on the printer.  

The bubble could also say "My first day of ____grade"and be used for "Beginning of the Year" photos.


 I want to have a stamp or sticker made for next year to put on their papers and make it look more official.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Daily 5- Chapter 7

Chapter 7- Putting It All Together/Trouble Shooting

Use a Chart or Grid to check-in before every round. There are many types available.  
I had a chart with all names typed in and I did three rounds.  Next year I will try to get to four!!!

It can be adapted to a long literacy block or a choppy schedule.  

Once the routine is established it allows teacher to do DRA's, reading inventories, conferences, oral reading check-ins, etc.

Practice Sessions
Can be longer than 3 depends on class and grade level.

Set Up Room
gathering place
organized library- levels, authors, themes, genres, etc.
small and large work areas for privacy and groups
readings nooks and quiet places

Confer with Students
While children are reading, teacher should move around to children.  Calling up to one table is distracting and takes more time.  I use an app called Confer on my iPad.

We had a monthly Daily 5 support group last year.  It was great to share ideas and troubleshoot problems.  

My best advice is to jump into and not to be afraid! 
There is no right or wrong way...the end results will be worth.  Children reading!  I am looking forward to my second year.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Daily 5- Chapter 6

Writing and Word Work

Writing:  Students work on writing of their choice- individually or with a partner.  (I allow children to get caught up on assigned writing pieces if they want)
The Daily Five Sisters
Examples of Writing:
  • persuasive writing
  • friendly letters
  • reports on a topic
  • poetry
  • plays
  • narratives
  • prompt ideas
  • to become better reader and writers
  • we care about our writing and audience
  • Choice
  • It is fun
  • work on fluency of writing
Day 1:
Model what to do when writing words you can't spell
Create I chart of student and teacher

Day 2:
Model where to sit in the room
Materials to use

Day 3: (see my posts on Daily Five and Journals)
What to write about (I give many topic lists)
Show forms and keep in a place available to kids
Create an resource book of forms

Continue to teach lessons based on your writing curriculum

Word Work: I did not do this last year with my fourth graders but will be adding it in the fall.  We are using Words Their Way for spelling and need to do sorts.

experimenting and practice patterns
memorize high frequency words
generalize word patterns
add to knowledge of words


  • It helps us become better readers, writers and spellers
  • We care about our writing
  • It is fun!
Examples of Word Work materials:

  • whiteboards
  • magnetic letters
  • wikki stix
  • clay
  • stamps
  • colored markers
Introduce a material or spelling activity
Brainstorm I Chart
Model how to clean-up

Day 2:
Continue modeling and introduce word work according to your curriculum

Ideas: (optional ideas)
word sorts; open, closed, etc.
adding words to class lists
add words to their rule of the week
practice misspelled words
word or vocabulary games

Monday, July 16, 2012

READ Letters

I finally got to a summer craft project for my classroom and have linked up with Tara!!!

I used my Michaels' gift card from of my students to buy wooden letters R, E, A, and D.  ($3.99 a piece regular price)  I also bought the Back to School stack of scrapbook paper. ($19.99 regular price)

I traced and cut out the letters and glued them on to the wood using craft glue, I spread it out real thin with my finger.  I sanded around the edges.

My husband cut a board and painted it white.  He screwed and glued on the letters for me.

My last step was adding some ribbon and buttons.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

State Floats

Looking for a fun way to culminate your Social Studies Unit on the States?  Have the children create state year I plan on combining this project with our Electricity Unit and have them light up.  The kids can parade them around the school.  We made these the last week of school and just shared with the class next door.  The kids had a blast with this project.