Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It & Some Words of Wisdom

I'm so excited to be part of Tara from 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It! This is my VERY first Monday Made It, and I'm excited to be doing it about how I will be doing CAFE in my classroom. Last year, I started doing Daily 5, but felt like my kids needed more practice with comprehension skills. So, I will be doing both Daily 5 and CAFE in my class this year. I have been doing a lot of research this summer and have found some valuable tools and resources that I can use to launch CAFE in my classroom. I still have not been able to get into my classroom, so I do not have a lot of pictures of how it looks in my class.

I'm going to start with my most recent project, my Pensieve. I have been re-reading the Harry Potter books, so I am really excited to incorporate my Harry Potter nerdiness into my classroom.

Now, I have 5 different sections in my Pensieve:

1. Keeping Track-
In this section, it helps you keep track of your conferences. I have a Keeping Track form that has all of my students name. Once I have a conference with them, I write the date. This allows me to keep track of students who need to be met with every day, the students who might be falling though the cracks, and students who have a lot of conferences.

You also have a calendar in this section to help you keep tack of your reading groups and conferences.

2. Focus Groups-
In this section you have the names of each of your groups and their goals and your strategies. You also include the date that you met with them and your observations. This will be very helpful for me because I do a TON of guided reading groups in my class.

3. Data-
This is where you keep all of the data you have for your students. You include their reading levels and benchmark assessments. This helps you monitor their progress and plan your guided reading groups. I had something very similar to this last year. I had my assessment color coded--green (proficient), yellow (basic), and red (below basic). Since I am a very visual person, this really helps me visualize where my students are at and what I need to focus on more.

4. Students-
For this section, each student has a tab where you keep reading and writing conference sheets. This is also where you keep their individual conference forms and keep track of their goals and strengths, and you can keep track of what strategy you will use and observations. This is going to REALLY help me next year because I would always just write down quick notes of each student where ever I could find space on my planner. However, this really helps me keep track of each individual students strengths, and what they need to improve in.

5. Resources-
This is where I keep all of my Daily 5 and CAFE resources. I have the CAFE Menu linked to 3rd grade common core standards, The CAFE Menu, StoryTown CAFE Menu, teaching and coaching cheat sheet, Books to Share with CAFE Strategies, and the lessons I teach for each CAFE strategy.

So, I'm still putting together the binder, and it's hard to show a finished product right now because I do not have my class yet! But, once I get it up and running, I will show pictures of what it looks like. The Daily Cafe has some great resources! I'll be doing more posts about the lessons I use and strategies I incorporate for each CAFE strategy.

Here is how my binder looks so far:
(I know it doesn't look like much; but I've been gathering resources and putting them inside the binder)

I was reading Amanda Nickerson's post about balance. She had some great words of wisdom that really got me thinking about how important balance is when you're a teacher. I'm going to be honest, this year has been a transition year for me. I moved out of my parents house, got a full-time job, moved in with my boyfriend of almost 3 years, and became part of a performance dance company. I've been working a lot this summer to try and prepare for the next year. I also just got done doing a performance last weekend with my company. However, I feel like I am not making enough time for the other important things in my life. With about a month left of summer vacation, my goal is to still prepare for next year, but to also learn how to find a balance with school, dance, friends, and my boyfriend. I need to learn when to put the computer away and watch a movie with my boyfriend. I need to learn to get some work done when my boyfriend is at the gym and at work, so we can spend time together in the evening. When I was doing my student teaching, my master teacher told me that "it doesn't have to be done tonight." Meaning, that some things do not have to be DONE right this second, that it can wait.

Mondays and Fridays are dedicated to my dance team. However, those other 5 days in the week will be dedicated to finding balance in my life. My boyfriend understands how important dance is to me, and encourages me to keep performing. You know that you have found an amazing man when he helps you grade papers, buys things for your classroom, and supports you in everything you do. The least I can do is find a little balance in my life :)

Here are some pictures from my Saturday night performance:
This dance was inspired by Boy Bands. I'm the one on the left. I love this picture because it is a great action shot :)

One of the groups I dance with.

This is the other group I dance with. Our performance was to the song "Rumor Has It" by Adele