Thursday, July 3, 2014

Back to the Archive! - 7/3/13 - Modified Cafe Menu

So, I'm bringing a post back to the future from exactly a year ago! This one was originally posted on July 3rd, 2013! I chose it because it's a good example of how I've set up my Reader's Workshop, and includes a freebie! 

So, without further ado...let's go BACK TO THE ARCHIVE!

I'm linking up with Workshop Wednesday from Ideas by Jivey for her July Workshop topic - setting up, before the kids arrive.

I'll be sharing a bit (and a couple freebies!) about how I do my Reader's Workshop this time because if you like it you'd need to prep before the kids arrive. I have a relatively non-traditional (but becoming more popular!) way of teaching reading, but I think it really works. I've heard a lot of good things from others about it too, so I feel like I'm on the right track.

It'd be crazy to talk about everything I do in this post, but I think a lot of the backbone to what I do stems from how I group, and my modified Daily 5/CAFE Menu.

Me with a mixed ability reading group -
from footage taken for an instructional video on teaching
using a reader's workshop! I'm famous! ;)
I do a combination of strategy groups (2-5 kids) that change consistently, mini-lessons, and one-on-one conferences. I do not have static leveled reading groups. The kids in my groups can be "high" or "low" or whatever...the common factor isn't their reading ability or the book they're reading. It's the skill/strategy they need to work on. When a kiddo masters a skill/strategy they move into a different group or I start a new one for them. Some kids are in two groups. Some groups I see once a week, some I see every day. Some kids move groups quickly, some don't. Sometimes we use a passage for "close reading," sometimes the kids have their good fit books.

It all goes back to the age-old Band-aid lesson. (Maybe you've seen a pin on pinterest about it!) The first week of school I "cut my finger" accidentally and then procede to hand out band-aids to the whole class and insist that the kids put them on their fingers. They think it's silly that everyone should get one. This leads to a discussion about how I want my classroom to be based on equity, not equality. Everyone gets what they NEED, not everyone is treated the same. Some kids need me to be more hands-on than others when it comes to mastering reading strategies. The kids get it, and I never hear a complaint about "how come you met with Austin 3 times and me just once?"

Whole group mini-lesson (keyword mini) on figurative
language, using Wonder by RJ Palacio.
In order to help facilitate the madness, I give every kiddo a CAFE menu and we highlight all over it as the year goes by. I also keep pretty crazy charts in my pensieve about who is in what group, and when I last conferenced with each kid. Every student is usually working on at least 3 strategies - the one that the whole class is doing as part of my whole group mini-lesson, the one they are working on that I identify during their one-on-ones, and the one their strategy group is working on. Occasionally these will overlap.

My intern conferring with a student one-on-one. So nice to
have another adult to double up on these. Sadly, I don't
think I'll have one next year.
Because I was new to 5th grade two years ago I basically scoured the internet for everything I could find about using D5/CAFE in the upper grades. In the end I discovered a couple 5th grade CAFE menus that were almost what I was looking for. (I honestly have no idea where I found those original ones.) Over the last two years I've made a lot of adaptations to the merged menu I made, and I think it is in a good place now for me.

DISCLAIMER: It is not formatted identically to the "sisters' menu." I made some executive decisions. I went with the A for Awareness instead of Accuracy (I think accuracy is part of fluency anyway.) I also added/expanded on several strategies to the menu that were missing(imho), and removed some of the ones that I thought were too young for older kids. 

Please check it out (freebie of course!) to see if you think you could use it or any aspect of it! 

I'm moving to a 3/4 multi-age next year and I think that even though I made this with 5th in mind I am going to definitely use it with my 4th graders, and maybe tone it down a smidge for my 3rd graders. (Any 3rd grade experts out there want to chime in on that?! I'd appreciate it!)

Anyway, even though this is more work, I would find it incredibly difficult to go back to the way I was teaching reading 4 years ago at this point. (Four 20-minute rotating leveled guided reading groups, all kids had the same book, etc.) And I think a big part of that is the value I see in my one-on-one conferences and the fluid grouping. I feel like I know my kids' needs much more deeply now. I am in no way saying that what other teachers are doing is not just as effective or valuable, btw! I just finally found a good fit for my style and my particular kids' needs!

I use a pensieve like the sisters recommend. I have conferring pages in the notebook for every student, but I often find it more convenient to take my conference notes on a sticky label and then put them into the notebook later. Here is a link to the document I use to print them out on the 14 per page Avery brand labels! It's just like the D5 provided sheets, just printed on labels. It beats hauling my pensieve around the classroom.

A brand spankin' new linky this week is Win, Loss, & Cost from Third Grade Galore and Digital: Divide and Conquer!

Win :)
My recent win would have to be our delightful vacation to Savannah and Tybee Island. Check out recent posts (or join me on instagram, people!) for more info on that.

Loss :(
I've been neglecting my TpT store a bit to focus on other teachery things and now I've got a bunch of half finished projects going on and I'm getting overwhelmed by it all! I need to sit down and finish one soon!

A Thing of Cost $
To tie in with the Workshop stuff. Here is an example of something I might have my kids do at the teacher and independent stations to practice some of the CAFE skills! Check it out!

That's it for now! I'm looking forward to seeing all of the other workshop ideas! I'm always looking to improve how I do things, and I know I'll need to make some adjustments for 3rd/4th next year. I do a reading, math, and writing workshop in my room, so this linky was made for me!

And don't you think Win, Loss, & Cost is pretty fun too? Looking forward to seeing everyone else's!

I hope you enjoyed that blast from the past! And I hope you'll link up this summer too!


  1. I love your menu! How did it work for you this year with your 3-4 multi class? I teach a large ELL population and would like to add clarify words/ideas. I can't decide where I would put it on the menu. Obviously it falls under comprehension, but many ELL students don't stop when they need to clarify so maybe Awareness? What do you think?


  2. I was a Reading Recovery teacher and then Literacy Coach before funds ran out and I was placed in a fifth grade classroom. I am now starting my 2nd year in third grade. I have used Cafe Daily 5 from the get go and have tweaked along the way. This year I plan to do more strategy grouping. The binder Pensieve was just too much for me (I taught 3 classes of reading) so I switched to the electronic version and love it but that requires sticking with the way the Sisters broke out the menu. I do like your version and as long as you have the Accuracy components somewhere it should work for third. You will probably find many third graders are still working on problem solving unknown words and need strategies for that. That is one of the reasons I found it hard to leave the leveled readers totally behind.
    Susan-I think the monitoring for comprehension -knowing when they have to stop and clarify words or ideas comes under the comprehension (monitor and fix up). I found using some reciprocal teaching techniques -having kids identifying words or ideas to clarify helps them to become more aware of when they need to stop and do this.

    I love the band aid lesson! Going to try it!

    1. Thanks! I was intrigued by the awareness section. I like it!


  3. Can you belive I've never read the Daily 5? Maybe I should put that on my list. Thanks for the freebie...definitely going to spend some time looking at that. I loved reading back over your post and want to do the band-aid lesson!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. You're right...the one-on-one conferences are so valuable! I used a clipboard with a tracking sheet for conferences for each student. It was a lot less bulky than the binder. Great post!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  5. Great info! I am hoping to implement this in the inclusion LA classes I support - currently there is only 15 minutes of silent reading, and I pulled students for interventions.


09 10 11 12
Blogging tips