Student-Led Conferences-April 19, 2013

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For all of my frustration, anxiety, and other mental disorders that I was going through the last two weeks, I can now breathe a deep sigh of relief. As always, the students rose to the occasion and I felt like a proud mother on Friday. All of their hard work paid off and the conferences went off without a hitch. (Even the internet cooperated!)
There are still things that I would like to do differently. The first one is that the students continued to sound scripted when they shared their reflections. I want the students to be able to talk to their parents, not read to them. The second thing is that I need to change the prep time. The first week, we spent an hour or so a day preparing. This week we dedicated three full days during General Studies time. Stephanie and I decided not to change classes Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday and we used those days to prepare the students. This method worked the best. When the students and I were reflecting about the process, they said it was much easier to work two or three full days rather than an hour or so a day.
As for what I personally need to do differently I had a major issue with myself. I tended to forget that the parents, and another teacher, were also present. I caught myself not talking or making eye contact with them and directing all of my attention to the students. I need to make the parents and colleagues more a part of the conferencing process. I also need to figure out a way to keep the parents more engaged. Silvia was an observer for most of the day and she noticed that some of the parents did not seem involved in the conference. I need to do more research and see how other teachers tackle this problem.
With that said, I was pleased with the students’ ability to set goals and self-reflect. I cannot imagine doing conferences any other way now. They truly owned their learning.
To read the students’ reflections, visit their blogs where their presentations are posted.

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Teacher-Twenty-One

April 2013
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