Thursday, December 3, 2015

Student-Led Conferences Part 1

Parent-teacher conferences had a different look in 6th grade last week. Where students usually are absent from a traditional parent-teacher conference, we put the student in the driver seat.  Students and parents took part in student-led conferences. In the student-led conference design, students and teachers prepare for the conference ahead of time, and the students lead the conference while the teacher facilitates.

This year our 6th grade classrooms are student-led, meaning that students take control of their classroom and responsibility for their education. Students assume a variety of leadership roles and set daily goals for themselves.  We came to realize that if our classrooms were student-led, it only made sense to make our conferences student-led also. Thanks to the help of Justin Birckbichier and Paul Solarz, two teachers that have held student-led conferences in their classrooms, we were able to guide our students and set expectations for their conferences.

Preparation and practice were the keys to making students successful in these conferences. Students prepared by looking at their strengths and weaknesses in each subject area.  They filled out checklists and made goals for the second quarter.  Each student had a script that they filled out themselves to use as their guide during the conference.  Then they practiced and gave feedback to each other.  Practice was a large component in their preparation. Students were very nervous and this helped to calm nerves and give them confidence.


There are many benefits to student-led conferences.

            * Students take an active role in their learning as they evaluate their own performance
            * Empowers students to take responsibility for their learning
            * Holds the students accountable for their academic and behavioral choices
            * Gives the parent and teacher a chance to hear the student reflect on their progress
            * Students actually show parents what they know and what they are learning
            * Students have a strong sense of accountability
            * Leadership shills are developed among students
            * Students can articulate personal goals clearly


We believe student-led conferences create a partnership between the home and school that is hard to get in any other way.  From my point of view, the experience from the time we started preparing to the end of conferences was eye-opening, and definitely something that will happen again in my classroom.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of Student-Led Conferences next week when Ms. Watz will talk about the actual conferences with the students and parents.

video

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