**Our assessments should be informing our instruction! Any assessment is only as good as the action that arises from it. In this age of accountability, we need records that document how we are assisting each child with exactly the skills and instruction he or she needs, even as our classrooms grow more diverse.
Making decisions for instruction based on data
It provides a vocabulary that teachers and students can share as they work together, set goals, and document learning and growth.
But most of all, it is intense, explicit teaching and scaffolded support with the students, developing them as strategic readers no matter what text they pick up. We are also teaching children to look more closely at where they are now as readers, and where they might go tomorrow, or over the next week, in working on skills. So many of the conference protocols we’ve seen look at what children are reading at the moment, or ask them to talk about their whole life as readers. With CAFE, we’re looking at days and weeks, rather than moments and years, to help children become more independent in tracking their progress and taking responsibility for it.
A Note About Instructional Fairness: Fair doesn’t always mean equal! Fair should mean working in ways that evens out differences between students. By offering greater amounts of instructional time with the poorest readers in your room, teachers can reduce the amount of attention as those children develop better reading skills. (Richard Allington)
Core elements of CAFÉ: The teacher keeps a notebook with a few key record-keeping forms, including a calendar, individual student conference forms, and strategy group planners. Children meet with the teacher during literacy workshop conferences to be assessed, receive focused, explicit instruction, set goals, and then follow up on progress. The teacher keeps track of progress on the goal sheet in her notebook and schedules the next conference on her calendar, and the child posts his or her goal on the class CAFE chart.
3. The teacher plans small-group instruction based on clusters of students with similar needs in one of the CAFE categories. These groups are flexible, based on needs rather than reading levels. Often the teacher meets with groups of children who are reading different books at different levels, but working on the same skill (e.g., fluency or expanding vocabulary). 4. Whole-group instruction is based upon needs that emerge for many children, often using texts from whole-class read-alouds or other shared materials.
The Pensieve Joan’s tour of the Pensieve Pensieve or Conferring Notebook
The Pensieve Section 1: Organizing and Planning Our Time Includes
Calendar- Use to keep track of appointments with each child. Raises accountability for teachers and students. Gives you more focus on what will be accomplished day by day.
Keeping Track Form- The goal is not to meet with each child an equal number of times but to ensure that each child’s needs are met. It is also a check to see that no children that may need support are missed.
The Pensieve Section 2: Strategy Group Planning Includes
Strategy Group and Instruction Form- At the completion of each individual assessment, you turn to this section and see whether or not any other students we have already assessed need support with the same strategy as the child with whom we are working.
The Pensieve Section 3: Data Includes
Any information you need to track their progress
The Pensieve Section 4: Tabs for each child Includes in each section
At the end of the book, we pull out a blank strategy card from the holder next to the CAFÉ board. We write the words on the strategy card in front of the students, and post them under Comprehension.
We then introduce the CAFÉ menu board to them.
We will reinforce and refer to this strategy repeatedly through the first days and weeks of school.
First Day- Lesson 2
Read-aloud of another picture book to teach the second strategy, which will go under a different heading on the board.
Use script on pages 35-36 to model again the Check for Understanding Strategy and to introduce Cross Checking under Accuracy.
At the end of the book, review the two strategies. Then we pull out a blank strategy card from the holder next to the CAFÉ board. We write the words on the strategy card in front of the students, and post them under Accuracy.
First Few Days Over the first few days, the first four strategies that will be taught, modeled, and reinforced will be:
Constantly go back and anchor students to the CAFÉ menu board by pointing to the strategy card as you use it. Ready reference forms are in back of book for each strategy.
Moving It Into Partner Reading Watch this video which demonstrates how you could use partner reading to model “Check For Understanding”: CAFE - Check for Understanding - Whole Group Lesson (VIDEO) **Start at 1:30
Parent Information It is important that parents understand the language and strategies you will be using so that they can reinforce them at home. Begin by having students explain to parents how they understand what they have been learning at school. Then you can send home: