I don't have any good resources you could easily access...but I have done student led conferences and they are awesome! It puts the responsibility on the student. Parents/guardians and students are more likely to come b/c they aren't as intimidated or scared to hear bad news. Students share and talk the whole time.
This also helps me b/c I have a high population of spanish speaking parents and I can't speak enough to run a whole conference. So, this way I don't have to get translators for all parents (our school actually provides them for conference times). That and I can have 3 students at a time in the room running their conference instead of just one. This means I either have more break time or I don't have to run them for 2 days like I did when I did teacher led conferences.
Basically, the students opens the door for his/her parents (and whoever else comes). They invite the parents in and welcome them in. I come over very briefly and tell them I am there if they have any questions after wards. I am off doing my own thing while these are going on. It's all up to the student and it is their thing.
The student brings the people to their desk. Each student has a folder with directions on what to do (we also go over these directions the day of the conferences). There is a sheet I have each student fill out that asks things like, "What do I like best about this year, I need help with, etc." Then after they read that to the people they bring, they show them work samples. Once they are done with that, they ask the parents if they have any questions. Most parents ask about a project or a book they are reading, etc. If the parents don't have any questions for me...they leave.
I did student led conferences for the first time this year and absolutely LOVED them! I also got really positive feedback from the parents. However, I did do it a bit differently. I taught 6th grade, so the students were very capable of running the show.
I will start by saying that I went over the process with the students the day before conferences so that they knew what they would be doing. I then scheduled 3 parents (and students) for each half-hour time slot.
I had 6 centers set up around the classroom, each displaying an activity that we had been working on in our different subject areas. The parents and students were given an "agenda" for the conference that explained what they were to do at each station. The student then took their parents around and did what was listed on the agenda. The centers did not have to be done in any specific order, so if one was occupied, they could go to another.
For example, we had recently finished a unit on the 5 themes of geography, so at one station the students did a short project with their parents where they used our city to create a graphic organizer based on the 5 themes.
At another station, students were to explain what each of the squares of the story quilts we made after reading the novel Island of the Blue Dolphins represented.
You get the idea. Finally, one of the centers listed on the agenda was "Meet With The Teacher," so I was able to have a quick talk with the parent and student before they left.
I will warn you that it can be a bit tricky if you need to discuss a personal matter or problem with a parent. What I did in those cases was scheduled the parent in a slot by themselves.
How did you both set up the scene at the beginning of the year to prepare students for collecting samples? I like the idea of centers for students to take their parents to. At my school, we have parents sign up for a 15 min. slot at open house before school starts. Do you think that I could continue signing parents up for 15 min. slots?
I actually signed people up in 15 minute slots. So, it does work.
I only did the conferences once this way last year. The first time I did them as teacher led. There is no way I'm turning back. It was easier for me when the students led them. But, most importantly, I feel like the students and the parents got more out of it...which is the sole purpose of the conferences.
We usually have parents signed up in 15 minute time slots as well, but because the centers take a bit more time, I crossed of the in-between slots so nobody could sign up. We decided as a sixth grade staff (3 teachers) to do the student led conferences, so we all sat down to figure out a general plan of attack. Because our office assigns our conferences based on parent requests, we let the office know that we were going to have 30 minute slots instead. My principal came in to see how it was all going and LOVED all the positive feedback from parents and students. I found that on average it took the parents about 25 minutes to visit all 6 stations.
I recently attended a mini-workshop (about an hour) on SLC and am also interested in trying it. The leader recommended a book published by Scholastic called, believe it or not, "Student Led Conferences". I got a chance to page through it. It might be a good starting point.
I also appreciate some of the comments written here and find them to be helpful, especially the one about the stations. I teach fourth grade and am interested in trying this also. But as we discussed in this workshop, you pretty much need to change your whole idea of what a parent/teacher conference is for. At least in my school I would, cuz we usually use them to talk to parents about the kid, and not so much to show what we are doing in class. The presenter said each student puts together a portfolio to present at the conference.
Thinking out loud, I'm wondering if scheduling 3 half-hour conferences at 10 minute intervals might work. Then each station could be part of the rotation, and the teacher would have a few minutes to either greet each family, or end up with each family.
I was wondering, for those of you who do this, what do you do with siblings? If parents have more than two kids, does this get to be an overly lengthy affair for them?