Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Student Led Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences are a great way for parents to gain insight into their child’s learning.  In kindergarten, we wanted to show off all of our learning by doing just that, showing our parents what we learn at school.  Kindergarteners were told that they were going to run the conference, changing the Parent Teacher Conference to a Student Led Conference.  There are many ways to conduct a Student Led Conference, but in kindergarten we decided to set up different tables or stations with many aspects of our learning.  Throughout the school year students have learned so much through various activities.  We have made an effort to not only practice the academic skills, but discuss their importance and the reasons for learning.  Students have been asked to reflect on their learning all year.  They are encouraged to set individual goals in each subject area to focus on how they can meet these goals.  The students’ favorite part when preparing for these conferences is finding out that they are in charge.  Yes, even though their teacher and parents are in the room, they are running the show!

The conferences are scheduled for 45 minutes with 3-4 families in the room at a time.  Students welcome their parents to the classroom and hand them a checklist which gives the parent some insight into what their child will show them.  The student finds a table and begins teaching their parent about their learning.  There are five different tables! (The writing, reading, math, goals, and survey/treat tables.)  At each table there are a few activities or resources to explain to their parent.  Students take pride in their learning and are held accountable when they need to teach their parents about their learning.  This also allows parents to have a better idea of how their child is doing in each subject area as well as ideas for activities they can continue to help with at home.  During the conference, I walk around and help students to explain (which they hardly ever need!) or answer questions from parents.  A week prior to the conference, parents were given a form to ask any questions they had prior to the conference.  I answered their questions and gathered some additional resources for each child prior to the conference and popped into each conference to share the file with the parents.  During this time parents could ask more questions or discuss their student further.  The conferences were a great success and parents and students were very enthusiastic about the process!  I look forward to continuing Student Led Conferences with kindergarteners in the years to come! 

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