Saturday, July 28, 2012

The CAFE Book, Chapter 7: Strategy Groups

Last chapter!!!  I'm proud of myself for reading this book, reading Guided Math, and taking 9 hours of grad school this summer.  I'm even fitting in some time to go on a mini-vacay in a few weeks before getting back to work!!!  :-) 

I loved what they said about whole-group instruction being the "spray and pray" method.  Ha, ha!!!  I think it is very forward-thinking of them to acknowledge that while students in a guided reading group are on the same reading level, they all have different needs.  The rationale for strategy groups seems pretty sound.  

Key Thoughts:
  • Strategy groups are flexible.  Students can be moved in and out of them as needs change.
  • Strategy groups do not come into effect until all DRAs are administered and the teacher has conferred individually with each student.  Along with implementing the Daily 5, these activities take between 4 and 6 weeks.
  • The first strategy group pulled is the highest-need group.
  • The first group meeting always begins with teacher modeling. 
  • The structure of a strategy group meeting is similar to that of conferences.
  • Strategy group forms are MESSY (in a good way).  Students names are added and crossed out as necessary. 
  • The length of a group meeting is based upon the students' ages.  7 year old students meet for 7 minutes. 
  • The strategy group meeting ends with the teacher giving the students a job to do.  The teacher can do a few conferences while the Daily 5 round finishes. 
Well, as they say, "that's all folks!"  :-)  I'm excited to try this in my classroom this year.  Do any of you that have experience with this have any practical advice?  What do you wish you had known when you first began using CAFE in your classroom? 


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