Starting CAFE midyear? Sure....why not? | Mentoring in the Middle

Starting CAFE midyear? Sure....why not?

If you've been following my blog at all, you know that I tend to "jump into the deep end of the pool" when I do things.  It's not because I'm so daring.  I think it's really because I can't predict what the challenges will be until I'm doing them.  Do you have students like me?  You know, the kind that just need to do it to learn it?

We spent all day Thursday with our lit coach and the Literacy Coordinator for the district, taking a look at what CAFE should look like in a sixth grade classroom.  We wanted to think through everything so that we'd be ready for next year.  By the end of the day, I think all of us were on board with the idea.  Only we wanted to try it this year.  Now, even though it'd be new for our kids.

For me, CAFE just feels like the right next step.  I know whether or not my kids love to read, and I know which ones I need to push a little more.  But this feels like it gives them a specific focus AND time to read in my classroom.  Every day.  That's HUGE!  So here's my bulletin board, shiny and bright, waiting to be filled up.   I can't wait to see what it looks like in about a month.

With sixth graders, and with starting mid-year, there'll be some things that need a quick review and we'll move on (at least I hope so!)  But some things will require time, and I'm hoping that this will fill that gap that I've been feeling for a while with my kids.  My biggest challenge has been to conference with my kids.  I just don't get to it nearly as much as I need to.  CAFE will force that issue for me, and because it gives each kid a focus for reading, I think those conferences will be more meaningful than the, "Talk to me about what you're reading" ones I've been having.

I'll keep you posted!

In keeping with the reading theme of this post, here's an idea I stole from ? pinterest?  someone's blog?  I really need to write these down!  I know the hot chocolate "mugs" came from More Than A Worksheet and her Winter Break Reading Challenge.

What a fun time the kids had!  They earned a marshmallow for their hot chocolate for every 30 minutes of reading they did over break.  Because we had a couple of snow days interspersed with our return to school, we didn't get to do this until this past week.  What fun!  The kids had a blast, and SHOCK! I totally forgot to take pictures.  I was having so much fun watching the kids read, talking to them about their books, and reading myself, that I forgot.

I'm trying to remember.  
Really truly!  
For those of you bloggers who remember, my hat's off to you!


  1. Hi Marion:
    I think it's never too late to try something new! I've started CAFE in January more than once.
    I still struggle to get in enough conferring time... But the structure does help keep us all more focused.
    Good luck with your new venture!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    1. That's been my biggest question mark. Right now, I have 76 kids in three Cores. Hoping to get to all of them this week. I hope that's not too ambitious! The sisters make it look so easy!

  2. I can't wait to hear about how you use CAFE and your challenges and successes becuase I want to use it in my classroom too!

    1. I suspect you'll be hearing about it here :). It feels like the next step for the way I do reading instruction, so I hope it lives up to its reputation! And I hope I don't get worn out by conferencing with 76 kids!

  3. Good luck with CAFE. It is working out very well for my fourth graders. I'm looking forward to hearing how it works for you.

    Your bulletin board looks great!

    Fit to be Fourth