Chapter 6 - Whole Class Instruction
Hi! I'm Jen from Runde's Room, and I'm so excited to be discussing chapter 6 with you. I teach a split grade 5/6 class (have taught a split class for 9 of my 11 teaching years), so one of the main reasons I chose this chapter is that I'm always looking for ways I can combine my classes so that I'm not teaching two separate classes whenever possible.
The CAFE Instruction Sequence: It's Your Choice
In this section, the sisters discuss the order and choices of order to teach the strategies on the CAFE menu. They have listed the strategies in the order they have used them in class - strategies near the top of the lists are used more frequently than others. Strategies near the bottom of the list are more sophisticated and are usually only taught in the upper elementary grades. It's good to know there is choice and flexibility in the order we choose to teach the strategies. I have also seen flexibility in the actual headings themselves - some of the bulletin boards I have seen rearrange the letters of CAFE to spell FACE - and call the bulletin board "The FACE of a Reader".
The sisters recommend teaching three whole-class strategy lessons a day - including one strategy from each of Comprehension and Accuracy, plus one more from either Fluency or Expand Vocabulary (all strategies in the CAFE menu are listed on page 143 in the appendix of the book). Fluency and vocabulary lessons can easily be integrated in whole-class read-alouds, or during Daily 5 stations like Listen to Reading, Read with a Partner, or Word Work.
Some questions I was left with in this section are:
- I absolutely LOVE the look of the CAFE menu bulletin boards I have seen. If you don't have the space in your classroom for such a large bulletin board, how are you planning to list the strategies for all to see?
- I have a 90 minute literacy block. With all I need to squeeze in, will it be possible to have 3 whole-class strategy lessons a day? How are you fitting in your strategy lessons - will you plan on having 3 a day?
Principles for Whole-Class Lessons
In this section, the sisters walk us through a typical whole-class strategy lesson. The first thing I was blown away by was the figure of a typical literacy block schedule. This schedule has over 3 hours of literacy instruction!!! I have half of that - one 90 minute block to fit it all in. I did really like how the strategy lesson was sequenced (more in the next section). I also really liked that a student took the ownership to create the strategy card to be placed on the bulletin board.
The importance of review and going back to the strategy was reinforced in this section - going back the next day, and throughout the year - something we all know is key to students mastering the concept. Students are also encouraged to try out the strategy during their "Read to Self" portion of the Daily 5, and share their finding with the class. I loved this because sometimes students don't even realize they are using the strategy until they hear a classmate discuss it - then the light bulb goes off, and they think, "Yeah - that's what I'm doing, too!".
Whole-Class Lesson Elements
The progression of steps to follow when introducing a new strategy are as follows:
1. Identify what is to be taught, and share "the secret to success" with the strategy. (The secret to success for each strategy is also listed in the appendix).
2. Teach the strategy - this should only take 1 - 5 minutes - students need the time to practice the strategy.
3. Students practice with partners. Students should already know who their partners are - this is one of the time-saving strategies I know I'll have to have in place.
4. Select a student to write and illustrate the CAFE Menu strategy card.
5. Review the strategy - during the wrap-up of the lesson.
6. Encourage practice during independent reading times.
7. Post the strategy AFTER independent practice.
8. Continually connect new strategies to strategies already on the board.
Some of the questions I was left with after this chapter are:
- I used to start my literacy block with independent reading (and I would conference with one or two students during this time). If my students should be practicing the CAFE strategy taught during independent reading, should I move my reading time? For those of you that have tried CAFE already in your classrooms, when do you have your students reading independently?
- Do you have your students create their own strategy cards? I have seen a lot of premade cards (that will look great on a bulletin board), but the sisters really recommended having the students create them. What do you do in your classroom?
- I'm thinking I will somehow mark our cards each time we connect to a card we have already discussed - to give a visual that shows how interconnected the strategies are - and how we are never "finished" with a strategy. Have any of you done this?
The rest of the chapter gives a sample lesson for each of the 4 CAFE categories. It was comforting to see how some of my favorite "tried and true" lessons will easily fit into these mini-lessons. I became even more excited to delve into the CAFE world after reading this chapter ... but I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the whole timing of it all. For those of you with a shorter literacy block (like myself), I would LOVE it if you would tell me some of your thoughts and plans to squeeze it all in - especially if you have already incorporated CAFE into your classroom.
I just wanted to leave you with one more thing: I've started a pinterest board full of CAFE ideas for this chapter. I've only just started it, so I will be adding lots of new ideas to it as I keep on planning this summer. Check it out and give it a follow - you may find exactly what you've been looking for. You can take a peek by clicking HERE.
Thanks for following along!