Preparing for Conferences (Day 11/31 #sol20)

We have conferences next week. These spring conferences are different than our fall conferences in that they are student led.

Armed with their portfolio and completed reflection sheets, my first and second graders get the chance to lead a conversation with their folks (and me!) about how much they’ve grown as a reader, as a writer, as a mathematician, and as a friend. They give evidence of prior thinking, they show off what they’re currently working on, and they also share some ideas of what they might focus on for the rest of the school year so that they can finish proud and strong.

First and second graders. They’re 6. Or 7. Or maybe even 8, but it doesn’t really matter. They’ve only been on the planet for a handful of years, and look what they’re capable of!

Yes, the preparation period takes about a week or so, our regular instruction times get a little messed with, I’m met with more than one blank stare upon introduction of this whole reflection business, and a few kiddos mysteriously (inevitably?!) lose all sight of any strides they have made in the past seven months.

But for the most part, or at least for today, the productive hum was alive and well in my classroom as students flipped through their portfolios, raised their eyebrows at earlier writing samples, shared their Halloween portraits with each other, and rushed off to find copies of the books they were reading at the start of the year so that they could directly compare them to what they’re currently reading.

These learners wrote reflection pieces for reading and for writing today. They mentioned strategies, conventions, book titles, social distractions, revising, character traits, editing, and (my favorite) all of the adventures that you can go on when you read and write books.

Parents, you’d better look out. Your children are going to lead these conferences with confidence, with grace, and with a grounded sense of self that might be surprising to witness in ones so young.

10 thoughts on “Preparing for Conferences (Day 11/31 #sol20)

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  1. It’s rewarding to see their progress and it’s even more rewarding when students realize their own progress and feel proud of themselves! Sounds like it’s worth the break to do them.

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  2. This is lovely. I can imagine the kids’ excitement as they get ready – and even the process of *thinking* about their growth is incredibly powerful. You know, even my 12th graders struggle with this – I think it would be pretty amazing for them to pause & think in this way. Wonder what I can do with that… Hmmmm….

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    1. There’s something really endearing about watching kids – any kids! – look back at what they used to produce as independent work and compare it to what they’re doing now. It’s like all those months of lessons and words (and countless repetition of said lessons and words!) all come together in their minds at that one moment. ❤️

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  3. I love your last paragraph! I’ve always wanted to do student-led conferences. You’re making me want to push more to make that happen. It sounds like you do amazing things with your students! How lucky for them, and their parents!

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    1. It’s a big process, and one that I’ve had varying degrees of success with over the years. You should give it a go! How old are your students? This year just happens to include a more organized prep time, I guess. Who knows how next year’s portfolio prepping will turn out!!

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        1. You’re so right – SO different! If portfolios are something that you do at your school, they’re a nice roadmap to start with. I didn’t take any pictures today (typical!), but I’ll try to document these reflective practices over the next few days.

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