Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting into the Groove!!

Last summer I was able to end the Daily 5 and Cafe Workshops by the Sisters. It was amazing! I had been experimenting with the Daily 5/Cafe for a few years after having read both books. Their workshops gave me a clearer idea about what it really was and how it worked. Then in late October. my teaching partner and I were able to visit the Seattle school where Gail taught. We observed the Daily 5/Cafe in action! I must say it was quite an experience. I could have spent a week there just observing. I couldn't believe how calming the school was and what they were doing with their students. I left with a whole new understanding of what the Daily 5/Cafe were. It wasn't as complicated as I had made it out to be.

Fast forward a few months later to my own classroom...I have made the Daily5/Cafe work for me. It is still a work in progress, but I have made adjustments to allow it to function rather smoothly for me and my students. I am quite pleased with what has been happening. Here is a little peek at my Read to Self Block:

I meet with my four lowest students every single day. We do a one on one conference, and sometime a group meeting as well. Each night they take a book bag home with a book that we have read. There is also a communication notebook. I record what we read and my observations. The parent then reads my comments and records their observations when they listened to their child read that night. I can not tell you what a difference this had made with my struggling readers. They were reading about 10-15 words per minute when we first started. Now they are between 45-60 words per minute. They just read The Mitten by Jan Brett the other day!! I can not tell you how proud and confident they are now that the reading is becoming so much easier for them. As their teacher, I am so amazed at how one on one conferencing has made such a difference.

We do Read to Self every day for about 25-30 minutes. I try to conference with 4-7 students during this time frame. I have been using the electronic pensieve that came out earlier this year from the Daily Cafe website to record my conferences. It is an amazing tool!!

On Tuesday and Thursdays I have 2 parent helpers for and hour and a half time block. Every half hour, 8 of my kids leave the room and work in the computer lab. They are doing Raz Kids. This leaves me with 16 kids in the classroom. One parent has 8 kids and she is usually working on some sort of skill where the kids work in pairs. This past week they worked on synonyms and plural nouns. The other parent and I each take four kids and work on a book at their level. This week I did The Great Kapok Tree with one group and The Mitten with my other  group. It is amazing the conversations you can have and the focus you can give each child with a small group. They love it as well!

Here is the skill the students worked on this week! They had a lot of fun. It can be found in my Rain, Rain, Go Away Unit:Literacy and Math Activities.

Well, I am off to the gym with the trainer!! Ready to get my booty kicked...I hate it and love it at the same time. I am looking forward to enjoying my day off!! Hope you are all enjoying as well!!

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