Shortly after a new school year begins, we assess students individually and determine their individual goal or goals. We take note of who else has the same goals and may benefit from small-group strategy instruction. These groups are based on shared needs rather than reading level. This is a simple and straightforward way to plan for individual and small-group instruction. Yet what about whole-group instruction? How does one decide which of the goals to teach to the whole group and subsequently post on the CAFE Menu board on the classroom wall?
This is where the CAFE Whole-Group Planning Sheet comes into play. We begin by running off multiple copes of the two-page CAFE Menu, where each strategy is contained in its own box. We staple the sheets into a file folder and are ready to go.
As each student is assessed, their name or class number is placed within the box or boxes of their goals. Once all students are assessed, it is easy to see which of the strategies the greatest number of students need. We decide which strategy to teach based on that information.
As you can see from glancing at the close-up photo below, we would not begin with this group of students by teaching and posting the strategy Recognize literary elements, the third ine from the bottom of the comprehension column, because not one child currently has that as a goal. Instead, we will focus our whole-group instruction on the strategies of Monitor and fix Up, Check for understanding, and Back up and reread.
This simple form makes planning for whole-group instruction, based on our students' current needs a breeze.