Every year since I have been teaching, I have done student led conferences in the spring. I have to admit, when I first did them, I was just following the lead of my team. I was completely on board and enthusiastic about the concept, but a bit nervous. I had never structured them myself, and I used whatever forms and plans that my team had used previously.
Now that I have been doing student led conferences for 8 years *insert "You don't look old enough..." comment here*, I have made them my own. After reflecting, I think that this is the best round I have ever had.
Possible Reasons for My Best Student Led Conferences yet:
- I kept the work I thought the class did very well on as a whole (and a couple we bombed), to add to the portfolio work that students had been collecting throughout the year. It was nice to see the kids reflect on the work I picked, not just things they had gotten good grades on.
- Most of the class had previously done a student led conference with me last year or with another teacher.
- All of our data collection and charting all year made it easy to analyze grades and assessment data for the conferences. I could also really tell that the kids were very comfortable reflecting on their work since they had previous practice.
- I used new materials (that I had created). The forms and documents were fresh to me, which made me more aware while taking the kids through the process. Also, the fun ROCK STAR theme goes right along with our school discipline model.
- We practiced a lot!
- I circulated during practice time and gave notes on what to do and not to do at the actual conference.
- It was fun. A couple of the things I asked the kids to do were "less than serious" and it think it was just what the doctor ordered. They are kids, after all! The theme helped a lot.
Bee Tee Dubs, in case you haven't had conferences yet, the first three to comment can have my "ROCKIN Student Led Conferences" packet for free!
Do you do student led?