Sunday, November 13, 2016

The CAFE Book: Chapter 2

We will be continuing our book study this week by reflecting on Chapter 2 of The CAFE Book: Engaging ALL students in Daily Literacy Assessment & Instruction.

I continue to be inspired by Gail and Joan. They truly support Every Child, Every Day with tailored instruction that meets the needs of all students.  Chapter 2: The CAFE Notebook and Record-Keeping Forms walks us through setting up a conferring notebook. The 2 Sisters refer to the CAFE Notebook as the Pensieve. There is a cute story on page 16 that describes how the conferring notebook came to be called the Pensieve. It has something to do with Harry Potter. I have not been a fan of that genre of literature. I haven’t read the books nor have I seen the movies so I can't really make a connection. In a nutshell, the Pensieve is where the head wizard stores all of “his most important thinking and memories out of his brain” (p. 16). Pensieve is a fitting name for the notebook, because this is where the teacher keeps notes on all the important conversations they have with students to help move them forward as learners.

Gail and Joan recommend setting up the Pensieve in the following way:

Section 1: Teacher Notes
  • Calendar to make appointments with students – keeping accountability
  • Keeping Track Form to keep track of when you have met with students and ensure no one falls through the cracks
  • Strategy Group Forms: used to create flexible groups of students that have similar goals.
Section 2: Data
  • Fountas & Pinnell instructional reading levels
  • Phonemic Awareness data and progress monitoring 
Section 3: Dividers/Tabs for each child
  • CAFE Menu to note which strategies the child has mastered and is working on.
  • Reading/Writing Conference Sheet to keep anecdotes on conversations the teacher has with students.
Participating in this week's  book study is evidence of:

Domain 1: Planning & Preparing-
1c: Setting Instructional Outcomes
Domain 3: Instruction-
3d: Using Assessment in Instruction  
Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities -
4a: Reflecting on Teaching
4d: Participating in a Professional Community
4e: Growing and Developing Professionally    

Boushey, G. &  Moser, M. (2009) The CAFÉ Book: Engaging ALL students in Daily Assessment and Instruction.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The CAFE Book: Chapter 1

I am a Reading Specialist at an elementary school that consists of kindergarten through second grade students. I am helping teachers implement Daily 5 and CAFE. We are currently embarking on a book study that will take us through The CAFE Book. This week I am reading and reflecting on Chapter 1: Introduction: The beginnings of the CAFE Menu Assessment System. 

How do we (teachers) create “strategic, independent, thoughtful readers” (p. 11)

One of the ways we create strategic readers is by setting up our literacy blocks using The Daily 5 structure. Through The Daily 5 structure, teachers teach students the behaviors that support and build successful, independent readers. It is WHAT students are doing while the teacher is teaching. The second way to create independent readers is by using The CAFE system of assessment and instruction.
            Gail and Joan have taken the best research on effective teaching practices and have bundled them under The CAFE Book: Engaging ALL Students in Daily Assessment and Instruction (2009). There are three core elements of CAFE: record-keeping; students and teachers meeting for assessment, explicit instruction and goal-setting; and the teacher is planning effective whole-group, small-group and individual conferring lessons. The goal of CAFE is to meet “each student’s need with tailored instruction” (p 10).
            CAFE is strongly supported by research (p. 9). Gail and Joan have leaned on the top reading researchers in the field, like Richard Allington, Regie Routman and Michael Pressley, as they developed The CAFE system of assessment and instruction. The research says that students must spend their day with materials that they can read – “Good-Fit Books” (p. 9). Additionally the most effective classrooms are structured with “whole-class, small-group and side-by-side instruction” (p. 9). Not only does The CAFE incorporate this research into their system of assessment and instruction, they teach teachers how to implement the research effectively.
            I am in love with Gail and Joan and their contributions to quality instruction for all students. I’ve been to their Daily 5 and CAFE workshops (in sunny SoCal). I’ve taken their graduate class and seen them present at the ORA Institute in Portland. I’ve read and re-read Daily 5 and CAFE and follow The 2 Sisters on twitter (@gailandjoan) and on Facebook (The Daily CAFE). Finally, I have had the pleasure of presenting my own PD to colleagues. As teachers, we have to teach and develop a classroom structure that supports the love of reading. Daily 5 and CAFE are my answer to WHAT and HOW I teach students.

Participating in this book study is evidence of professional practice as defined by Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching. This week's participation is evidence of 
Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities -
  • 4a: Reflecting on Teaching
  • 4d: Participating in a Professional Community
  • 4e: Growing and Developing Professionally
Boushey, G. &  Moser, M. (2009) The CAFÉ Book: Engaging ALL students in Daily Assessment and Instruction.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Visible Learning for Literacy

Chapter 1
This is my fourth online book club this summer. I am excited about this type of PD. I can learn at my own pace. I can have constructive and powerful conversations with people from around the world related to teaching reading. I can build new relationships with people who share the same professional interests as I do. The book club for Visible Learning for Literacy is on Facebook: The Literacy Teacher Book Club. We have ongoing conversations about how to improve student learning. Please feel free to join us.

Visible Learning for Literacy by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Hattie focuses on implementing strategies that work to accelerate student learning. Chapter 1 lays the groundwork for visible learning for literacy. The main purpose of this book is to maximize the impact teachers have on student learning. There are three ways the authors say we can maximize our impact on student learning.

1. Levels of learning: Surface, deep, transfer. These points of learning require the student to process information in different ways. Knowing which teaching strategy works best at the different points of learning will maximize student learning. All teaching strategies have an effect size, but some strategies work better and are more powerful at different points of learning. For example, phonics instruction is better used at surface level learning instead of transfer level because students need basic knowledge and understanding of how print works before they can dig deep with comprehension.

2. There are Standards of Influences on students that impact student learning across the board.
Teacher credibility (.90).  The extent to which students trust the teacher.
Teacher/Student Relationships (.72). The extent to which the teacher develops a rapport with students by setting fair expectations and holding students accountable in an equitable way.
Teacher Expectations (43).  The extent to which teachers set high expectations and rigor that stretches students within their reach.
These standards of influences support a classroom culture where students are comfortable taking risks with their learning. When students feel liked by their teacher, the teacher sets clear expectations and are trustworthy students can thrive.

3. There are Global Factors that impact student learning. These factors include the challenge level of the work with feedback, self-efficacy or confidence of the learner and teacher clarity of the learning targets.  These factors are important because they focus on the learner and how they perceive the tasks, what is expected of them and their confidence level. They should be taken into account for every learning situation in a classroom.

In conclusion, teachers have choices (33). We have choices to implement sound instructional routines and procedures that are proven to accelerate learning in one school year or more. We have choices to create a classroom culture that students feel safe in. We have choices to “extend students’ learning in deep ways and facilitate the transfer of their learning…” (33). Making the best choices for my students will help them grow and learn throughout the school year.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

DIY Literacy: Final Reflections

I’ve been struggling to visualize what micro-progressions and demonstration notebooks would look like in my teaching at a K-2 school. The examples in the book seem to be tailored toward higher elementary grades (3rd and above). If I were teaching reading for those grade, I have a clear idea of what and how I would use micro-progressions and demonstration notebooks.

I am not feeling as confident with K-2 . I decided to attempt to create a micro-progression for something I know K-2 students struggle with ~ picking Just Right Books. Here is my attempt. I’d appreciate any feedback so I can strengthen my skills for developing micro-progressions. However, after creating and posting it, I am thinking it might belong in a demonstration notebook. Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Chapter 5:
The main point of this chapter is: matching our teaching to the needs of the students. 

When we find ways to differentiate our teaching 
that conserve our energy, 
we are able to do more than just deliver lessons (p 72)

Meeting student needs in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me, the teacher, will make my instruction more powerful. I don’t like feeling exhausted. This profession is too difficult to be exhausted all the time. So conserving my energy by creating teaching tools, moves all the work to the student. This means students will do all of the learning and the learning is tailored to each student. Demonstration notebooks, micro-progression and teaching charts are meant to place the work on the students. Students use them the empower their own learning.

Teaching tools… guide students to greater heights (p 73)
By creating teaching tools, students have continuous access to the tools they need to be successful. Again, this places a majority of the work on the students. They do all the learning and the thinking. I just finished "Who’s Doing the Work” book study on Facebook. We talked about creating an environment where students are taught, encouraged and expected to think for themselves. Teaching tools supports this notion by making the teaching available for students to refer back to when they need it. Students are taking their own learning in their  hands.

Chapter 6: 
The main point of this chapter is: the nuts and bolts of creating teaching tools that are helpful to students and their learning.

Students don’t respond to the teaching tools anymore
a.       Use pop culture to connect the teaching tool the students 
b.      Metaphors can be memorable

Difficulty keeping charts organized: 
a.       Cluster similar subjects together 
b.      Edit tools throughout the year

It is more important that students use the tools to advance their learning than it is to have it beautifully created by an artist.