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Our conferences
Old 06-04-2009, 07:28 AM
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I LOVE doing Student-Led conferences! We do them once a year, but I'm thinking about upping that to 2 or 3 times a year because they're so effective. I teach a middle school 6th grade class, so out kids have 4 separate teachers. The week before conferences, we give them a script in each class and help them fill in the blanks. It truly is a SCRIPT - almost like what you read for state testing - so that each kid says the same thing. We've discovered this is much more effective because it leaves so little up to chance or a kids' interpretation. They read the script and fill in the blanks with the work samples they've chosen, practice a few times, and are ready to go! We color code the scripts (blue paper for math, pink for LA, etc) and this seems to help a lot too. Each script ends with "Do you have any questions about _______?" and a few questions for the kid and parent to discuss and answer together (like "What should I do to improve?")

The biggest thing is to have the kids prepared. We make them practice with peers in class, have a checklist for what to bring, and stress that THEY are in charge. They love walking into school with their parents feeling like they're more knowledgeable than their parents - they know where to go, what to do, and what to say, and the parents follow along bewildered. It's a funny change from Open House night Each of us makes a point to stop by each conference, usually when we see the kid with our colored script in hand (the conferences are going on simultaneously - sometimes as many as 12 between all our rooms). The KIDS are responsible for introducing us (we teach them how to do this), and that gives us a chance to either pop in with some information about the kid or just ask how things are going.

I'll try to track down my LA script and attach it soon.
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