So, as I was reading this introductory chapter, I found myself nodding in agreement with what was being written. I also found myself looking through my own stash of teaching materials to find what I am currently using that would fit into this system. (no sense in remaking the wheel if I am using something I can adapt!) What follows are the four main ideas behind CAFE. Those are bolded. I am then going to add in my thoughts about each of them and how I am anticipating them to fit into my classroom.
1. The teacher keeps a binder with a few key forms, calendars, strategy group plans, and student conference forms.
The first thing I thought of is the quiz tracker I am already using. I, like many of you, are required to use my district selected basal. But, with that basal, I was never really sure what my students were learning. I mean, I gave them test, and saw the number right and wrong...but that didn't tell me anything. So I created this form that broke it all down. I immediately thought of this when the chapter was talking about tracking the students and seeing what their individual needs were. I am already doing that to an extent....so this is perfect to add into my notebook! Here is a copy for you.
I am also bound to the state standards (again, I know you ALL are), but tracking which standards were taught, which were mastered, and which still needed to be reviewed sometimes became daunting. Again, I created this form to use so that I could track that. This is based on my personal state and grade level standards, but it is editable so you can change them to suit your needs. Again, perfect for my record keeping binder!
2. Children meet with the teacher during individual conferences where they are assessed, given explicit instruction, make goals, and discuss follow up on previous goals.
Here is where I need to really step up my game. I am hoping that the structure provided in the Daily 5 book, will be able to work nicely into my basal requirements. We already have an "Independent Work Time" built in, and I have been pulling small groups (based on the above forms), but I want it to be much more focused and effective. I am also hoping that the mini-lessons, which are found in the appendix of the CAFE book, are going to help guide me on the explicit instruction portion.
3. The teacher plans instruction with small groups based on the CAFE categories. These groups are flexible and based on need.
I am most excited about this part. I can't wait to get here and set up all the comprehension strategies, etc...that the sister suggest. I know keeping in line with the standards is going to be my objective, but I am excited that this will help me to be more focused and explicit about it (I think I have used this word more times now than I have ever before...explicit, explicit, explicit!!) I also like how the strategies are going to be front and center for the students, keeping them accountable to them as well.
4. Whole group instruction is based on the needs that emerge from the group as a whole.
Again, I have this part covered with the form I use above. I am not short on whole group instruction techniques, as our basal is largely just that. I am looking forward to being more succinct with my instruction though, and more needs based rather than basal based.
I know that some of these things are going to be easy to implement, as it is what is already going on in my class. But others of the 4 tenants will be a bit tricky. I am honestly just getting comfortable with the idea of small group instruction (in fact, if you read my blog you know I am about two years into Math Workshop -- and loving it -- after 12 years of whole group instruction only) I hope that being more focused and direct with my planning will make this transition a bit easier. However, I am super excited to get it all going.
Of the four ideas above, what are you most excited about? Most comfortable with? Most cautiously optimistic about? Most downright scared over? ;)