Monday, March 10, 2014

Student-Led Conferences

Since my partner teacher and I have all 37+ fifth graders for have the day, we decided to do joint conferences, and to make them much more bearable, we decided to try doing Student-Led Conferences.  Let me just say...I am COMPLETELY sold on this idea.  Seriously.  If you haven't tried it yet, you must!  I'd heard about them, and I'd seen posts floating around the internet, but always thought, "'ll never work."  I was wrong.  And I'm not wrong very often.

We only have 15 minute conference blocks, so we had to really search for some guidance on how to do a student-led conference without setting up rotations for students to go through with their parents.  We watched some youtube videos, and finally found one format that would work for us.  We also searched TPT and found some student-led conference organizers.  We chose a couple, and adapted them to fit our needs.

Basically, students are describing:
  • their grades
  • why they got those grades
  • their goal for 4th quarter
  • a plan for reaching that goal.  
We are also having students discuss:
  • their third quarter math assessment
  • fluency words per minute
  • informational writing piece
We also included:
  • their behavior during 3rd quarter
  • what they're looking forward to for the rest of year
  • their favorite part of the year so far
  • a little blurb about their progress on fundraising for our end of year trip
After Day 1 (of 4!) of conferences, the parent feedback is excellent!  I love being able to watch the parents as their child is explaining their progress.  You can just tell that the parents are proud of their babies (umm...we haven't had our "less than pleasant" conferences yet, so I'm sure the parental looks will be a little different for those!).  I believe that the parents are actually listening MUCH closer, as it's their child explaining their difficulties and strengths.
My favorite part is the concluding statement students give, thanking their parents for taking the time to listen to them explain their grades and such.  I don't think children today thank their parents enough!

I'm posting my conference form in my TPT shop as a freebie!  Click on either image to find it. It's editable to meet your needs.  It's scripted at the beginning and end, and provides places for students to write. 


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