Monday, February 10, 2014

Student Led Conferences

Last week was a big week in first grade. Not only was it the first FULL week of school in several weeks (I'm so over the snow), but we finally had time to conduct our Student Led Conferences (SLCs). I first starting doing this three years ago. My previous school was having conversations about starting them, but I transferred to a new school in our county before they began to implement them. I wondered if my first graders would be "able" to conduct SLCs, but then realized that first graders LOVE talking about their work! My kiddos are pretty used to reflecting on their work and setting goals for their own learning. SO, I took the plunge and began to develop a system that works for me.

My students fill out self-reflection rubrics for reading, writing, math, and behavior. Each one is basic, with an always/sometimes/never scale, and includes a goal for improvement. There is also a science/social studies "Ask me about what I've learned..." sheet. (I did this because I realized I had sent home most of the student products from this marking period - doh!) Finally, there is an At Home Goal Setting sheet for parents and student to develop together. This helps to create the triangle of accountability (teachers, families, students) for student success.

There are so many positives about SLCs! Parents love seeing their child take charge of their learning, students love talking about themselves, and I don't lose instructional time while they are happening. Yes, you read that right. While conferences are being conducted, I am still teaching. I schedule them so that there are no more than 4 SLCs happening at one time. The rest of my students know to be respectful of the space and volume in the classroom during SLCs.

 After the first few children had a change to hold their 'meeting,' here is a snapshot of a conversation I overheard:

Student 1: "So, how did it feel to do your meeting?"
Student 2: "Well, I wasn't really embarrassed like I thought. I really felt mighty important!" (yes, that's a direct quote)
S1: "Are you glad you did it?"
S2: "Yes! It was so fun! I can't wait till the next one."
S1: "Were you scared?"
S2: "I had that butterfly-kinda-feeling. But that went away after, like, 3 seconds."

I know this was a super long post...and I could go on and on! Feel free to ask questions via comments or emails! Click on the image below to check out my SLC pack on TPT...I've included everything that I use in my conferences, as well as editable versions of the rubrics, calendars, and checklist.

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