Today was the last day of school. My students attended school for only half of the day, however, teachers were required to work a full day. After my students gathered their things and said their goodbyes, I scanned the classroom, noticing all of the things that needed to be done. This year, I decided to take a few pictures of some of the key structures in my classroom. In the fall, when school resumes, I can refer back to my pictures when I'm ready to recreate or modify them. One of the most important areas is my CAFE board. It's important to have a place or anchor in the classroom where you can post the reading strategies that you teach/model with your students.
I've seen different arrangements for setting up a CAFE board. The CAFE goals are usually at the top of the board/space. Below each goal, there is room for placing the students' names under the goal that they are working on. The individual strategies are then placed below that. Since I teach first grade, I usually leave room at the bottom of the board for names (instead of at the top) because my students would have a hard time looking up at the top of the board to find their names. Now, I have an even better solution to the name placement. I take pictures of my students at the beginning of the school year, cut them out, and place their picture next to the strategy they are working on. This works perfectly and my students respond much more enthusiastically to seeing their picture next to the strategy rather than just seeing their name.
My CAFE board is a major focal point in my classroom and contributes to a successful launching and implementation of the Daily 5/CAFE in my classroom. It's not a board, like so many others, that goes unnoticed once it's introduced. It's a board that is a continual work in progress in my classroom. I refer to the CAFE board daily and sometimes several times in the day. My students refer to the CAFE board, they use it as a reference, and as a tool. When I introduce a new strategy, it's placed on the CAFE board. When I refer to a previously introduced strategy, I point/touch the CAFE board. When students are working on a new goal, they move their picture to the appropriate place on the CAFE board. The majority of our literacy discussions take place under the backdrop of our CAFE board.
Take a look at my CAFE board below. You won't see pictures of students because they were taken off the board and given to them as a year-end memento. However, the remainder of the board is just as we left it. Do you use a CAFE board for your Daily 5/CAFE instruction? Is there anything unique or different about your board? Please share what's different or unique with us in the comments section. Perhaps you have a setup that works better for older students. I would love to hear from you.