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Monday, October 7, 2019

The Best Way to Run Student-Led Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conference time is quickly approaching. I know that this is a very stressful time
of year. You have to meet with all the parents, you’re talking for hours upon hours on end, and you’re
more tired than usual. But have you ever tried out student-led conferences? Once I started using
\student-led conferences, conference time got so much easier. Today I am going to show you how you
can run student-led conferences in just a few easy steps. 

    To prep for the conferences, I like to have my students fill out a few self-reflections. This is one
of my favorite parts of student-led conferences. It allows the students to think about how the grading
period has gone and what they can work on for the next grading period. They will use these reflections
to talk to their parents or their special guest about how they are doing in each area of their studies.
I also like to have the students think about their goals and how they can accomplish those goals for
the next grading period. 

The next thing that you have to think about are stations that you would like your students to work through during their conference. This is where the magic happens! With stations, most of your work is now put in the hands of the students. The conferences are no longer about you just talking to the parents about how the students are doing, but instead, the students are showing how they are doing. You can have any stations that you would like to have, whatever you want your students to showcase! I like to have a writing station, where they can show off a piece of their writing portfolio, a reading station, where they can read a fluency passage at their level, and a math station, where I usually bring in our technology and have the students show a math program we are using, like zearn or xtra math. You could also have them work through some problems showing what you are learning at that time. I also have a station where the students show their parents their goals, self-reflections, and a selection of their portfolio. The final station is where I meet with the parents and students. At this time they can ask any questions and I share their report card. This only needs to be about 5 minutes because the students have already showed their parents what they’ve been learning.

    The final thing that you need to do to run your own student-led conferences is to have student
directions. The student directions allow the students to lead the conference. I have done them
two different ways. The first way was a lotus diagram, which shows the students the order to do
the stations. The next way was with a check-off sheet. Both have worked really well with the students.
Just make sure that you have the students practice in pairs leading the conference, especially if they
have never done a student-led conference before. I worked in a school that had all the classes do
student-led conferences so I did not need to spend as much time practicing. The students had all
done it before and knew how to do it. But I always still practice with them a little and go over the
expectations of the conference. Every teacher has different expectations, so it is best if you review
them again. 

    Hopefully, now you feel confident in leading your own student-led conferences for your class.
If you are not quite sure where to start to lead your own conferences, then you can pick up your
own copy of EDITABLE Student-Led conferences from my TPT store. 

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