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CAFE Pensieve – Tech Style! & TWO Halloween Freebies!

Wow, I learned so much at the CAFE conference with The 2 Sisters that even after a week, my mind is still spinning.  Have you ever felt like that at a conference/workshop?  You leave feeling overwhelmed and excited at the same time.

I had already read the CAFE book a couple times in the past two years.  Last year, when I taught second grade, I used the strategies and the menu as my mini-lessons.  We learned the strategies, posted them on our CAFE board, but I never really got into one-on-one conferring with my students.  I was deeply tied to my small groups and couldn’t imagine giving them up.  

That changed this week.  This week, I did 10 minute small groups and then sent that group off to do one-on-one conferring with students based on the skill or strategy we discussed.  Wow!  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that in the 5-6 minutes I spent reading one-on-one with my higher readers (I started with them first – baby steps, right?), I targeted more direct instruction than I was doing in a 20-25 minute small group.   They loved the one-on-one attention and I loved the satisfaction of knowing I left them with a focused reading strategy to work on.  

The best part of the conference was The 2 Sisters’ introduction of the electronic pensieve.  

I’m. In. Love.

It was one of those “I have to have this!” moments.  I actually purchased the one-year membership of this electronic pensieve during the conference.  I just couldn’t wait!  Now, my kids associate my iPad with one-on-one reading – they love it! 

This is what the log-in screen looks like:

For $24 a year, you get access to the pensieve and all of it’s use.  For $39 a year, you get access to printable PDF’s of your students’ reports and conferring notes and you can collaborate with other title teachers or teachers in your school so that you can all access, or “share,” your students.  I opted for the $39 membership this year so that I can print off PDF’s as documentation of the differentiation and one-on-one instruction my students are receiving. 
When I log in, I can click on the student I want to confer with.  I do this as I’m sitting down with the child. 

Then, a very quick and easy conferring session comes up.  I can click the goal I have for the child, enter observation notes while the child is reading for a couple minutes, type in what I modeled and practiced with the student, and give the student a “touchpoint” or “grade” for how well the student is progressing with this goal.  Then, with the student looking at my iPad, I schedule our next meeting and the child is able to see his or her name pop up on my calendar. 
Since this was the first week I’ve used this, my calendar looks a bit scarce right now.  The green names are individual conferences.  The blue is for groups I’ve scheduled to meet with.  I can also schedule writing conferences and writing strategy groups.  Those will pop up in orange.  
Are you in love yet?
I’ll be honest, I’ve tried The 2 Sisters’ paper-based pensieve notebook pages and they just didn’t work for me.  I hated flipping between each students’ page, finding the calendar, and then frantically flipping to the next child’s notes.  This is completely electronic and more importantly, E.A.S.Y.  Now, I just check my calendar and head off to meet with that student or group.  
{CLICK HERE} to jump to The 2 Sisters electronic pensieve page to sign up! It’s worth it! 🙂
We also learned a great deal about what research says on RTI and what the Daily 5 Sisters believe about how to best approach RTI.  I am going to save this for another day because my husband and I are off to spend the weekend at a lodge up by the lake.  I’m happy to get away for the weekend since last night was our last football game for cheerleading. Yay! 
I’ll leave you today with a couple Halloween freebies that I created for the kindergarten teachers at my school.  A couple of them are just starting small groups in math this year, and I’ve been trying to help them get started with some partner games and by-myself games that their kinders can do.  🙂  This is a game strictly for number identification up to 6.  Click the picture to download it from Google Doc!
The next game is called Race to 20 and focuses on number identification up to 20 for kinders.  You could also use this for your first graders.  I know I still have a few that cannot identify numbers in the teens.  Click to download from Google Docs. 
I hope you enjoy the Halloween freebies and get a chance to take a look at The 2 Sisters electronic pensieve.  
Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Learning!

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  1. Oh wow!!! I am a first year teacher and have really loved using CAFE in my classroom.. my students really like it to and have helped make it into a very integral part of our classroom language. I could really benefit from the electronic pensieve.. I keep a notebook right now and I am not as diligent with it as I would like because I can never remember who I should be conferencing with and focus most of my energy on reading groups. I am curious as to how your schedule looks for your Daily 5 time? How do you fit it in to conference with everyone? I only have 3 rotations each day and do reading groups the first two rotations and then conference every day on the third rotation.. it's really not working out for me because I only get to meet with each student MAYBE once a week. Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much!!

    P.S. I love reading your blog and using your stuff on TpT!



  2. Ashley,

    This will be my second week going into one on one conferences so I haven't gotten "into the swing of things" yet. 🙂 My plan is to have one 10 minute strategy group for each of my three rounds, and then see approximately 8-9 students each day. That way I can meet with every kid at least once a week individually and my lower kids at least twice.

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