I became a fan of “The Sisters” with their publication for The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence. Even though the book was aimed at more primary students than my fourth graders were, I was game to give some of their strategies a try. I had been a huge proponent of individual reading conferences for many years, but the management of the rest of the class as well as the organization to ensure I was meeting with students in a way that met their needs was still a challenge. The Sisters got me with their quote, “Did those things (centers, projects, worksheets…)just keep our kids busy or were they engaged in literacy tasks that will make a difference in their literate lives.” Their concerns mirrored many of mine.
You can read the entire Cafe Book book online. I made it about halfway through before my copy arrived in the mail Friday. You can also hear a blog interview on Stenhouse to see some more information from the sisters. They do also have their own website-part free, most subscription.
The Cafe system makes record-keeping and organization accessible for teachers who feel often feel overwhelmed by the management of workshop or conferences.
They are coming to Columbus, Ohio this summer for some workshops in conjunction with Choice Literacy and I am thrilled a few of the elementary teachers I work with will be in attendance. They did a great job presenting at the Dublin Literacy Conference-very engaging and had me laughing quite a bit. My favorite story was from the one sister who tried to make post-it notes into wearable jewelry so she wouldn’t keep losing them.
Many of us have made their “Pensieve” notebooks and love having all our records in one place. It’s a nice complement to any reading or writing workshop, not just one new thing to try.