Saturday, November 19, 2011

Conferences Are (Almost) History!

I am finding it difficult not to use the words "survived" and "conferences" in the same sentence!

It was a wild week! I completed 31 conferences--and I have two more families who need to reschedule. There were some days when I had to look carefully to make sure I was talking about the right kid!

My conferences include the student along with the parent/grandparent/guardian. I begin by asking the student if they have any comments, questions or concerns. This may elicit responses from "I don't like sitting next to Ben" or "I am having trouble with algebra" to "Are we having any field trips this year?" Then I pose the same question to the parent.  The responses here are numerous!

Next I review test scores and other work samples as we go through the report card. Our report cards are called SBRC (Standards-Based Report Cards) because students are graded in reference the standards. They are three pages long!

After we complete the work sample/SBRC review, students give an oral presentation summarizing their progress. They begin this process a week before the conference by writing responses to four prompts.
  • The subject I am best at/most successful...
  • The subject I need help with/need more practice...
  • My classroom behavior...
  • My favorite thing about sixth grade...

    Students select five key words that will spark the thoughts to deliver the content and write them on an index card.. For example: best, algebra, variables, challenging, brain... "The subject I am best at is algebra. I like solving for variables in equations. I particularly like the challenging problems because they make me use my brain."   

    We use the "Look, Think, Hide, Share" strategy...  Look at the words, Think about your response, Hide your card, Share your response.  The students stand in front of their parent and deliver their presentation.  After they share, they ask, "Are there any questions?"  Sweet!  There were a few giggles at the outset, but most of the students did really well and the parents were impressed to see their kids speaking so... eloquently.

    The kids' responses are my favorite part of the conferences.  It leaves me feeling positive and proud of them.  They look pleased that they have completed their presentation, and I often need to shoo them out the door because the next family is waiting for their turn.

    I'm glad that conferences are over.  I have plenty of information to restructure my teaching and to try, once again, to meet the diverse needs of the kids who walk through the door each day.  And, once February arrives, we have a chance to do it all again!


    1. I totally L.O.V.E. that you include the kids on your conferences - what a GIFT to them and their parents!!! I feel SO much JOY when I visit your site and read about the HEART work you're doing!!!

      Thankful for you,


    2. Wow! Three pages? YIKES! I'm glad they're history! :)
      A Teeny Tiny Teacher

    3. 31 conferences?!?!?! You're my hero!
      We had a team conference this week with the parents of the students who are in danger of failing. That alone was a nightmare.
      We also have individual team conferences with parent s& students every morning from 7:30-7:50. I hate those!!!!!!
      I feel like I spend the better part of my day dealing with paperwork instead of teaching.

      Glad you got through it!

      ❤ Mor Zrihen ❤
      A Teacher's Treasure

    4. Wow! I admire that you got some many done and that you are so thorough. We get 15 minutes with each parent. =(

    5. Oh My BlogBuddies!

      My heart is overflowing! What a TREAT to come home (after an early Thanksgiving dinner) to such warm thoughts.

      Thank you, each of you, for the sweet note. Now I feel even better about completing those conferences--and even better about leaping back to the BlogWorld!


    6. Wow! That is so much conferencing! I love the way you take time to listen to how each student is feeling about everything. You are awesome.

    7. Hi Casey! Glad you stopped by! I think YOU are awesome too!



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