Daily CAFE....My WAY
I like incorporating Daily 5 and Daily CAFE strategies, but I had to find ways to make it work for my style. Here is our CAFE strategy board. My kids routinely love to tell me about the "strategy they've used" when reading. We discuss the a specific during our read aloud and create our strategy card. When I meet with my strategy groups, we reinforce these skills.
This is our Buddy Reading station. Here kids have a variety of print materials on their levels. They also have copies of books we've read together and enjoyed in small group. Kids use these during buddy reading. Since my kids are paired at stations with one other person at their level and 2 others at a different level, buddy reading has evolved into an interesting station. Kids sometimes choose to read a book with their buddy at their level, or with the a partner from the other buddy at this station. So in essence sometimes they're reading a book either above their level, with a buddy who is at that level, or a book at a lower level, with a buddy who is at that level. My lower guys are experiencing higher level texts with richer vocabulary. My higher kids are getting extra practice with building fluency. This has been a nice little unintended benefit to my buddy reading
Finally our rotation schedule. I have not yet found a way that works for me AND them which allows them to select their own stations. SO for now, I preselect the order they will attend each station. The kids and I work in "skill station" and rotate through these activities 3 days per week. Across the top the kids are partnered with someone at their same reading level. When I pull groups I pull 2 sets of partners. I select kids to work on the same strategy, and often happen to be close to the same level. Kids move down the chart from top to bottom and rotate through all 5 stations. Each day the kids participate in "reading", "writing" "word work" and "Buddy Reading". They alternate between "listen to reading" and "computer" stations every other day. At any given station there are 2 sets of partnerships. This helps me to ensure that the kids are working with groups of differing ability levels at all times. At anytime at a station I have 2 "on-levels" and 2 "above-levels" or 2 "comprehension" kids with 2 "accuracy" kids. I love this set up because at no point is a kid without someone to help. My comprehension kids can assist accuracy kids with decoding, and the accuracy kids often locate details quickly to help comprehension skills. My kids quickly learn that we all have strengths and can be a helped and be helpful. I also avoid the "blind leading the blind" syndrome, where all of my low ones are staring into space lost because they're stuck on an activity. I also allow my high ones to to be engaged in teaching and analyzing concepts. All my kids become team players!