Thursday, July 26, 2012

Conferring with Children: Principles and Examples (The CAFE Book Chapter 4)

First things first: I have set up my CAFE Notebook.  :-)  I went to Target yesterday (I'll share the rest of my goodies in another post) and went a little crazy-blame going to my last "in person" class of the summer.  Unfortunately, the binder I chose is WAY too small.  Don't worry, I have my eye on a few other cute (and larger) ones, and I'm planning to re-purpose this one for Math Workshop.  :-)
Please forgive the "carpet shot," but isn't it PRETTY?!
Extra copies in the pocket.  I followed the set-up recommended by the book, but have highlighted the primary grades strategies recommended by Boushey and Moser and placed that CAFE menu up front.

A pocket tab for each student, behind which is a CAFE menu, and reading and writing conference note pages

Moving on to The CAFE Book Chapter 4.  This chapter focused on conferring, which, as I mentioned during the Guided Math book study, is pretty new to me.  

Here are some of my big take-aways from this chapter:
  1. 1) Conferring is a SHORT process (5 minutes or less).  I love the structure that they provide, and while I won't sit there with the timer on my iPhone running, I think having the outline handy will be good.  The elements of successful conferences are:
    1. Check the Calendar for Appointments-I am so happy that they shared the guideline of conducting 2-3 conferences per day.
    2. Prepare for the Conference-look behind the student's tab in your notebook and review notes from the last conference.
    3. Observe the child and listen to reading-listen to the student read for about a minute to see if they are using the strategy they are working on.  Document the book they are reading as wel as some observations about their progress toward their goal. 
    4. Reinforce and Teach-Choose what to teach the student that day (continue with goal/strategy or adjust it).  Tell them what you noticed about them as readers.  Explain and model the strategy.
    5. Practice the Strategy- Observe the student practicing to check for his or her understanding of what was taught. 
    6. Plan-Ah-ha!  Now I know what a touch point is.  We are looking for 4-5 pieces of evidence or instances where the student has successfully used the strategy.  Once this occurs, the strategy is highlighted on his or her CAFE Menu and we move on.  We decide when to meet next with the student.
    7. Encourage-this one is self-explanatory.  Make sure the encouragement is specific and related to the student's goal and his or her text. 
  2. Conferences occur in the student's current workspace (not at the small group table).
  3. Don't forget to have the student post a new strategy goal on the CAFE board if necessary. :-) 


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