Beginning with CAFE

This will be my 1st time implementing the CAFE structure in my 6th grade classroom, and I can’t wait! I feel that this is really going to help guide my students to where THEY need to be individually! I think sometimes we get so bogged down in “teaching the curriculum” that we forget to “teach the students”. Yes, we have to teach the curriculum (Alabama Course of Study Standards), but we hear so much about “differentiated instruction”-do we really do it?

 The Cafe Book  by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser

The CAFE structure allows you to teach each student on their level and help them with their own individual needs. Here is the simple breakdown of CAFE as defined by The Two Sisters.




E-expanding vocabulary

Since I teach an upper grade I am planning on changing the A-accuracy to A-awareness. 6th graders still need to work with breaking words down to read more fluently, but it is not the MAIN component of a 6th grade classroom.

I have been researching this structure for a couple of months now-I bought and read the book (see picture above), joined in discussions about the CAFE, looked at other teachers’ websites/blogs to get a feeling on how they set it up in their classroom and what they have learned about it, and I also joined the website:

This website has crucial information if you are planning on using this structure in your classroom. The website offers some free stuff, but you can also pay a fee to have complete access to lots more-articles, teacher ideas, and even videos.

As I was looking today (since we will be back in school in a couple of weeks), I came across this free video of The Two Sisters teaching a mini-lesson in a 6th grade whole group setting. This is how I plan on beginning our year with the CAFE system. Watch for yourself and leave a comment to tell me what you think.

What plans do you have for implementing the CAFE in your classroom? Have you already planned a week’s worth of mini-lessons for the beginning of school?

Here is a picture of my CAFE strategy board in my room-still have lots more to do! 🙂 Anyone want to help? 🙂


About shannonjoe

I teach 3rd grade. Love Jesus, teaching, reading, running, and working out.

Posted on July 20, 2011, in CAFE and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. What a fun 6th grade class! I am implementing CAFE as well this year. I just got my masters in reading K-12 and I think it is so great that you change accuracy to awareness. I’m sure you are striving to have your students to become metacognitive thinkers on their own and what a great way to do this in the upper grades. I love all your classroom photos by the way….6th grade never looked so fun!

    • Thank you so much for your compliments!! I am typing up my CAFE strategy menu right now and checking our state standards to make sure that I cover everything! I am so excited, but yet scared at the same time, too! This is a huge change for me!! What grade do you teach?? Maybe we can mentor each other throughout the year!

  2. The sisters website is worth the cost of admission. There is also a group at yahoo that deals with daily5/cafe. Proteachers, peony room deals with daily5/cafe issues.

    Good Luck

    • I love their website, and I have been all over proteacher this summer. I didn’t know about the yahoo group-gonna check it out now! 🙂

  3. Hey Shannon!! I just found your site through FB! This is awesome work you have put together! I know you are a wonderful teacher! I can tell you have a passion for this through your work and your words! Great to see/hear someone that really appreciates the value of using the CAFE menu for students. I have the book (the Daily 5 as well) and totally believe in it! I was fortunate to see the 2 sisters in person 2 summers ago. The focus of the conference was the Daily 5 but they did spend some time discussing the CAFE menu. I had a really hard time implementing both in my first grade classroom with the particular reading program we were using. However, I moved to 2nd grade last year and was able to do incorporate it more with the Scott Foresman program at that level! My goal this next year is to do even more!!! Now all I need is for you to adapt all your work for 2nd!! Just kidding…but I plan to use some of this to work out my own plan!! I would love to spend an afternoon with you in your awesome room talking about this!!!

    • Hey Fadra!!!! I can’t believe you were able to see the sisters! I would love to be able to go to one of their workshops. I did get my reading coach to order the CAFE DVD for the intermediate grades for me-and going tomorrow to get it from the school so I can watch it! I am VERY excited about doing this in my room this year-I so believe in small group (and now individual) instruction, I just know that I’m going to have to give something up! 🙂 I would love love love to get together with you as well-you just message me on facebook if you really want to visit and we can talk and work on stuff together if you want even though we are grades apart! 🙂

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