When this article was written, our online conferring notebook was called CCPensieve. We've since updated the name and website. Learn more at ConferringNotebook.com.
by Crystal Pelletier
The Pensieve, or conferring notebook, is a key component to using the CAFE methodology to track and maintain records of student progress while working to engage students in daily literacy assessment and instruction (Boushey & Moser, 2009). Using the conferring notebook provides the educator with an organized, easy-to-access tracking method that allows for portability and mobility in the classroom. It is perfect for classroom teachers of all grade levels.
As a learning coach, I have also found that the Pensieve is a great tool to help me track the growth I am seeing with my colleagues. I now use the CCPensieve to track my coaching. I have created groups based on schools. I entered the names of the teachers I am currently working with and the principals at each facility.
I use the individual conferring pages to track coaching sessions with individual teachers. Although I do not have the same five forms as I did in my original binder, I do have areas for individual colleagues, areas for special groups (such as schools, teachers, and principals), areas for focus (such as reading, writing and other), and a calendar to track appointments and meetings.
My next goal is to create a menu like the CAFE Menu that would address the needs of my colleagues when it comes to areas for coaching support. If I were to venture into this challenge, I would include coaching from various models mentioned by Jim Knight (2007), such as executive coaching, coactive coaching, literacy coaching, instructional coaching and developmental coaching. I would also include ideas from West and Staub's content coaching model identified in their book Content-Focused Coaching (2003).
Tracking and focusing on teacher-selected areas of learning helps support and build our capacity to increase student achievement. The CCPensieve is an important tool to enhance the support I offer my colleagues as their learning coach. The web-based nature allows me to have all my information at my fingertips, regardless of which school I am visiting.
Boushey, G. & Moser, J. (2009) The CAFE book: Engaging all students in daily literacy assessment and instruction. Portland, ME: Stenhouse. Knight, J. (2007) Instructional coaching: A partnership approach to improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. West, L. & Staub, F. (2003) Content-focused coaching: Transforming mathematics lessons. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.