Thursday, July 28, 2011

"The Sisters" Were Amazing!

I am very passionate about literacy. I love reading and writing, and I want my students to be as well.  That being said, I am never really satisfied with how I teach my literacy in my classroom.  I tend to fall back into bad habits, you know the ones, grouping kids by level, round robin reading, summarizing the passage you have read, and comprehension worksheets.  I sprinkle in moments of greatness: miscue analysis, formative assessments, one-on-one conferring, strategy mini-lessons, and so on, but they are only short unsustained bursts of brilliance.  In spite of all of my short comings I have had some success in producing a love of reading in my students.

I am always searching the Internet and peeking into the classrooms of all of the fabulous sharing teachers that out there in web-world.  That was when I first heard about "The Sisters".  At first I thought it was just for lower elementary and I was teaching fourth and fifth grades.  This year I have seen Daily Five and the CAFE in action in my friends' classrooms this last year and it inspired me to learn more.

I had the chance to go to two of their conferences this week.  On Tuesday, I went to the Daily Five conference.  At this conference I learned the management of how to get kids to build stamina while reading,  how to get them to make literacy choices, what kids are doing while I am working with children in small groups or conferring individually, and valid research on how children learn.  I was so impressed by these women, I can't explain it.  Below are pictures of the goodies that they gave away throughout the day to help us achieve what they taught us.

On Wednesday, I went to the CAFE conference.  This is where they taught how to assess, collaboratively goal set with the children, teach strategies, and how to record keep the whole kit and caboodle.  I know it may sound a bit dry, but these women have so much verve and enthusiasm you can't help but be fired up!

We got chimes to get students' attention, books for strategy lessons, tools for helping students who have trouble maintaining stamina; timer, eye lighters, and a  "check for understanding."

The CAFE DVD and four books for teaching strategies on their menu.
I can't wait to get back into my classroom and begin setting up for the fall!