What are those sticky notes on the top of The CAFE Menu?


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We used to hear experts in our field talk about the importance and power of children setting their own reading goals. In theory it sounded good, but we never knew how to make it happen in our classrooms. We spent years trying a wide variety of tools and tricks, notes and notebooks to support our children with setting their own goals, but having them remember what their goals were was another story.

Helping children set their own reading goals and empowering children to work toward those goals each day has become a large part of the development of our Literacy CAFE Menu. Once a child is assessed, we have a discussion with them which involves asking what they know about themselves as a reader as well as us sharing what we've noticed about them as a reader. This discussion always centers on each student's strengths and greatest area of need from the CAFE Menu. Once we decide together what their goal is, our students fill out one or even two sticky notes and place them on the CAFE Menu under those areas. This is actually step four in the 7 Steps from Assessment to Instruction.

Each day as the children check in with their Daily 5-CAFE choice, they articulate their goal and the strategy they are working on to achieve this goal. They can refer to the board to help them until the language becomes inherent and natural.

The side-effect bonus of having everyone's name posted under a CAFE heading, whether high flyer or struggling learner, is the clear and powerful message, 'We are all learners here!'

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