Disclaimer... and credit where credit is due!

This blog is simply my thoughts, ideas, and suggestions related to the Daily Five and Cafe. I give full credit to the creators of both Daily 5 and Cafe, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, also known as The Sisters. I have attended their workshops, read their books, and subscribe to their website. Everything else, I've interpreted on my own! :)
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our CAMP menu board in January...

Here we are. January. About halfway through our year together. I'm happy to say I've done a much better job this year of consistently adding the strategies we're working on to our CAMP (my version of Cafe) board. Yes, I do the writing. I know and understand the rationale behind having the kids do it, but I've found that it's really hard to read that way. So, I am the writer, but I do write it with them sitting with me on the carpet.

The strategies we've added come from the Common Core aligned Cafe menu for first grade (directly from Gail and Joan's website,) skills and strategies defined through our MAP test, and things I've noticed as I'm meeting with small groups or conferring with individuals.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Choice

Earlier this school year, I wrote about how we were easing into our shopping routine. That was way back in October! We've continued to shop for books each week (on Fridays) all at the same time. While this does tend to be a little chaotic, I believe the benefits outweigh the slightly crazy atmosphere for about 20 minutes. If you really listen in, it is clearly book excitement that is causing the loudness! Anyway... shopping. We started the year by learning this I-PICK method (directly from Gail and Joan's book.)

We refer to this I-PICK chart often!
As time goes on, we still take time to review this idea. We are learning that book choice is about so much more than just a reading level or the amount of words on a page. We've started thinking about the chart below and how we're using different criteria for choosing our books now. As a matter of fact, we added "recommendations" to this list after I snapped the picture.

We're currently thinking about and adding to this chart.
Earlier in the year, we were shopping primarily from the 6 colored dot tubs in our classroom. These are "leveled" in a way and provide a training ground as we were learning what a good fit book is all about. Gradually, we've begun shopping out of the rest of our classroom library. Now, for the most part, we are shopping just from the other book baskets around our room. These are arranged by topics, genres, series, and authors.

My first graders have the responsibility of choosing the books for their book tubs that they feel are a good fit. No two book tubs will look exactly alike, even if children happen to be reading at the same "level." They are at the point in their reading lives when they are discovering the magic of series books and recommending books to friends. 

While they still get to choose their own books, I do have a few students who still need more of my guidance and nudging with their book selection. There is a time and a place for me to hand students a stack of books that are at their reading level, and then they get to make the decisions as to which ones they'd like to read. I'm okay with that. 

As I've read many times, Allington suggests having students reading books with 95-99% accuracy for most (or all) of their independent reading time. I see the value in that. In my classroom, there is also the freedom to choose books which will challenge us in one way or another. Some of my readers have challenged themselves to ...
-read more "classics" 
-read all of the books in a series
-read more graphic novels
-find books to recommend to friends
-read long books
-read more picture books
-read more nonfiction

One change I've made recently is allowing students to shop for a new title once they finish one in their book tub. This comes into play especially with those students who are reading longer books or are attempting to read books in a series. As a reader, when I find a series I love, I know I cannot wait to read the next book... so who am I to make someone wait until Friday? They are welcome to make the switch at any time, other than during our Daily Five sessions. 

While we do count the number of books we finished that week before we shop, I know that sometimes we finish our books before it's time to shop again. I'd rather have students spend a little extra time looking for new books throughout the week than becoming off-task or bored because they've finished the books in their book tub!

I do hand books to readers at times when I meet with them in small groups or when I confer one-on-one with a reader. I'm also trying really hard to find books to sneak into their book tubs that I think they'll like. I love watching their eyes light up when they see a new book with a little note from me! Just today, I slid a new Martha Speaks book into a little boy's book tub. I knew exactly when he found it because I heard the "MISS KOMOS!!! I love Martha Speaks! Thank you for the new book!" from across the room. : )