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Student Led Conferences
Old 08-16-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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I am thinking about trying these this year. I would love to hear how others have done them and how they have worked. Please be very specific on how you have set them up :-)


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Re: Student Led Conferences
Old 08-16-2007, 04:04 PM
 
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It is required that our 6th graders complete student led conferences. Each teacher does it differently. It helps me out since I have a large ELL population in my class and having an interpretter at all of them doesn't usually work all the time. I usually have a checklist for the students. We practice it the week before the conferences. It went from them introducing me to their parents, showing them their seats, going over the report card and explaining why they got the grade that they got. Since we are departmentalized it helps that the students are there to explain the grade since I might not know specifics about their performance in that class. Then, I have them go over their portfolios if time permits. If I see the student not going in the right direction, I redirect or jump in. Some teachers grade this, but I didn't. The students were already super nervous.
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Re: Student Led Conferences
Old 08-16-2007, 04:04 PM
 
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My school does this every year and it seems to work out very well. We have a data folder for each student in which we keep track of grades, behavior, goals, progress etc. This is something that the students do themselves. In my classroom, I take time about once a week to update our data folders. Before conference time we go to another class and practice going through and explaining what is in our folder and I also make time for each student to practice with me so they are comfortable explaining it to an adult. Then when it's the "big" night, I introduce the folder and explain how it works and then the student does everything else. I like it alot!
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Re: Student Led Conferences (long)
Old 08-16-2007, 04:34 PM
 
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I tried student led conferences for the first time last year. I had the kids bring in an empty cereal box to serve as their portfolio. I had them set goals and write a letter before conference time telling their parents about their year thus far. Since this was my first time, I only included two subjects, math and writing. I also didn't overwell the parents as well.

Students used their Everyday Math Journals and marked at least 5 pages with a post-it note to show their parents. Students were required to pick a page they were proud of or did well on, a page that showed improvement, and a page they didn't do so hot on. Believe it or not, my students did this pretty well. I explained to them that they weren't in trouble but should be able to explain to their parents what they did wrong. On a sheet, I had students list the page number and write why they selected that page. As for writing, reading and showing their parents the letter demonstrated skill level.

I practiced with my students ahead of time. I asked them questions so that they could practice answering or I might have to do a quick mini-lesson on a skill.

On the night of conferences, I greeted the parents and student. The students were trained to get their cereal box and take their parents to a table. Students first read their letter and answered any parent questions. Then they showed them their marked journal pages. I watched and listened from a distance. It was great to see how the students and parents interacted. The time slot for each conference was 15 min. Students had the first 10 or whenever finished, and I got the remainder time. I went over their report card and asked the parents what they wanted their students to work on.

In the spring, I had samples of student work from all areas. Again, the same process, students selecting the work and explaining their rationale for sharing.

In between the fall and spring, I had parents fill out a questionarre. All of the parents that responded enjoyed the conference more so than a typical conference. Some parents wanted the option to have a little more time with me w/or w/o the student present. I asked the parents in the spring before I carried on with my part. The students loved this style of conferencing. As one of my 4th graders put it, "I know exactly what's going to happen and be said at my conference; it's not a surprise."
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Did this last year, and will continue
Old 08-16-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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The parents love it because it "makes" them talk to their parents in a different way than they have before. They take responsibility - it's great. The way I do it is to have the students keep a collection of their work in a 3-ring binder (called Data Binders); goals for reading, writing, math, and a personal goal; graphs of their progress, etc. They use these binders to share their progress with their parents. Before conferences, they use a checklist and walk through the process with a partner. This helps them to prepare what they will say. When they arrive for the conference, they pull their binder out and get started. Here's some more info: http://www.nycolescott.com/Data%20Binders.htm

Unfortunately all of my forms (goals & graphs) are at school. A while back, I found a site with ideas for how to conduct these. Here's a link: http://www.phoenix.k12.or.us/tms/slc

In addition to the required conference, I hold informal confences at the end of each grading period so that students and parents develop the communication about the student's progress.


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Re: Student Led Conferences
Old 08-16-2007, 06:47 PM
 
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What grade do you have Angela? That will make a difference in whether or not you use portfolios and how much time you allow for student led conferences.
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