Friday, November 18, 2011

The Data

Well, Digital Diva demands and she shall receive!

It's a little hard to read (click on the picture to make it larger), but here is how the information appears in the accompanying google doc. I have a bookmark on the iPad for both the form and this doc, so I can easily go back and forth. While I do the data entry on the iPad, I normally use the spreadsheet on a computer. It is easy to sort at the top, so I can find who is using the same strategy, sort the data by student name.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Digital Notetaking and First CAFE Day

Here's a picture of my new Conferring Form. First off, these little fish make me happy! Selecting the strength and goal in check off form was very easy today. By putting all the strategies in a drop down menu it made it very easy to remember and find goals. I also put the CAFE letter in parenthesis by the goal to help me use the strategies.

Utilizing a touchpoint is an eye opener. I was able to give my students a 1-4 today based on how they did on the strategy that I think will benefit from them. The touchpoint is helping me understand when I need to see this particular student next. If I gave them a 1, I better rush to meet with them tomorrow to help them practice this strategy more!

I met with 8 students today. My goal was nine, but I ran into an issue where one round only one student did read to self. How did this happen? Well, I really harped into them that they'd have to do read to self and work on writing today and many of them choose these the first two rounds, which meant close to none needed to read the third round!

There was only one conference where I had no idea of a strategy to recommend! I told this child I'd meet with them again soon to figure something out and she was totally okay with that, phew!

Strategies used:
Look carefully at the letters and words (A)--4 students
Abdundant easy easy (A)--2 students
Reread text (F)--1 student

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Standing On Their Shoulders

Yesterday, Joan spoke of meeting big names in literacy and thanking those men for letting her stand on their shoulders. Today, Gail and Joan let me stand on their shoulders and I have to give them a big thank you.

When I woke up this morning I had no idea I would speak in front of 320 people! Gail and I had discussed showing the group Twitter and letting them know about the #d5chat. I honestly thought they'd put twitter up on the projector and I'd tweet from my seat. And then Gail put the mic on me! I don't think I stopped shaking for ten minutes after I sat back down!

Right before I started to talk I asked Gail how she does this and her response was, it helps to do it with your sister... Joan will help you! It's all a blur from there, but we did recruit some new people to Twitter and got some people who were already on Twitter to think about joining the Daily 5 discussion.

I didn't take two days off from school to speak in front of all those people. I took two days off to learn more about reading practices and helping my students become better readers. Yesterday I tweeted that teacher preparation programs should include an acting class and after today I think teacher prep needs to include more information on how to teach children to read.

The past two days have helped me realize that I need to do more reading and research so that I truly know the best ways to help students learn to read. After Gail and Joan's presentation on the CAFE model and speaking to the wonderful two women from Wyoming sitting next to me, I've come up with a plan for what I'm going to do to start using CAFE (more effectively) in my classroom.


  1. Teach a full class lesson on check for understanding (I taught one at the beginning of the year, but they need to have more!)
  2. Meet with my 9 of my lowest readers for one-on-one conferences
I created a new google form, which more closely follows Gail and Joan's forms. Using the iPad I will fill out this form while meeting with my students. When meeting with each of these students, I will keep handy the "Sample Needs and Strategies" form, as well as several Ready Reference Guides (realistically, as many as I can print before reading starts!).

What an exciting two days! Pushed my learning and renewed my energy... I am excited for tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

English Language Learners

Today I was lucky enough to see Gail and Joan present on the Daily 5. There were many things that I took away from the day, especially thinking about barometer children and how we can build their independence.

The thing that struck me most today was that Gail and Joan are in schools that mirror mine in terms of cultural and linguistic diversity. The students at Gail's school speak 31 different languages and Joan has 12 different languages in her classroom. My classroom also has 12 different home languages and the students at my school speak 36 different languages!

I asked Joan how to start brand new English Language Learners with the Daily 5, as I have had students who come to me speaking not a bit or just a bit of English, and have colleagues in that position now.

Joan suggests picture books and listen to reading.

These students might spend their time going back and forth between only Read to Self and Listen to Reading and it is okay to only have them do these two things!

To lower their affective filter even further it'd be wonderful to have wordless books for these students to read. Two of my favorite wordless books are Flotsam by David Wiesner and (from my childhood) Good Dog, Carl.

How do you start brand new ELLs on the Daily 5 process?
What are your favorite wordless books?

The Power of Twitter

Did you notice my new header with the adorable little owls? That is thanks to my twitter friend, @mentortexts. Jen offered to make a header and button for my blog and website and now both are looking extra spiffy thanks to her.

Jen has a fantastic website:
She reviews books and helps teachers by reviewing books and providing writing prompts, reading strategies to practice and more. This is a great place to learn about new books or learn new ways to each old favorites!

I titled this post "The Power of Twitter" because that is where I met Jen. A header for my website and blog are a small example of the support I have gained through Twitter. If you're willing to take the time to respond to people and build connections, your efforts will come back to you ten fold.

A big thank you goes to Jen for her generosity and thoughtfulness, I am glad to have a friend like her!