Thursday, March 24, 2011

Student-Led Conferences!

I am officially on Spring Break!!!!!!!  YAY!  We had Student-Led Conferences tonight, and now I can RELAX (as much as I can relax a week before report cards go home).  If you're interested, you can check out the resources I've put together on TpT.  I have revamped the pages a bit, but I haven't uploaded the new thumbnails yet in my preview file.  (I promise I will do that tomorrow since I have the day off!  I've been SO BUSY this week!) I took lots of pictures tonight to give you an idea of what Student-Led Conferences look like in my classroom (minus photos of families).  Prepare for a photo overload!  Haha!

I won't sugar-coat the process. It is a pretty serious undertaking, because for the conferences to be really successful, my students keep track of their data and set goals all year long in their Data Folders.  {Luckily, I had two FABULOUS mentors during my first year, so they walked me through the process of setting everything up!}  They have to prepare a checklist and paperwork ahead of time earlier in the week, and then I always meet with my kiddos for mock conferences before they're expected to run the conference on their own.  I have found that this sets them up for success, boosts their confidence, and helps them plan ahead. (I should note that I do regular conferences in the fall, because I want that face-to-face meeting with parents initially.  In the spring, I feel that the kids have had the time to track their progress and set various goals, so they are very capable of communicating with their parents.)  Honestly, I will never go back to the traditional spring-time conference. Ever.  Even though it's time consuming, the kids have so much more ownership and a deeper understanding of their own learning.  It is so worth the time up-front, because it is such a magical thing to hear your students talking about their phrasing, their fluency, how they were developing round characters, how they followed the engineering design process, how they planned to meet goals, and a plethora of other statements that make you melt as a teacher.
The Fraction Spongebobs are a lesson from the LessonPlan S.O.S. ladies!

The students wrote I Am poems and drew portraits to create identity puzzlers!

Another shot of Spongebob!

Look at those double-stuffed data folders!

Files from my TpT kit in black and white.  I'm saving colored ink, because I'm running low!  :)

An idea adapted from Littlest Learners with student names blurred out!  The each say "Just the Facts" with student names typed underneath.  I'm definitely not very good at airbrushing, so I'm sorry the clipboards look a little on the ugly side!!!

UPDATE:  I've had some questions asked about the format of the I Am Poems, so I'm including a download for you to use from my Poetry Unit!  The kids used the template, and then the poems were typed to fit inside of the magnifying glass.  :)


  1. I love your "Guess Who" posters and "I am" poems! Does the poem follow a certain format? I have an "I am" poetry frame but it is more for older students. Just curious?! I am thoroughly impressed with all your work! Can my 3rd grade son come be in your class?! Keep up the good work!

  2. Love it, girl! The student-let conference idea is great - is it a school-wide thing?

    I need to learn from you - I think my admin would eat this idea up!

  3. Thank you for being the first teacher I have ever heard talk positively about student-led conferences!

  4. Abby, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have, but I am not an expert my any means! This is my second year doing it, so it's still pretty new to me. :) I LOVE it though, and highly recommend them. It's not a school-wide thing. In fact, there are about 60 teachers in our building, and only two classrooms do student-led conferences. Email me if you have any questions!

  5. Thanks for posting the "I Am" template!

  6. What font is the title in????

    I see lots of people using that font and I want it!!

    Where did you get it?


  7. I just wanted to thank you - I used this poem (found on pinterest) to start our (homeschool) year off. We put the page in the front of our binders. Now, as a way to close I am printing it again to let them fill it in a year older. I love this poem! Thanks for sharing!

  8. The "I Am Poem" is one I've been doing for years! I have my students complete it on the first day of school, and then again the last week of school. It's great to see how much more creative their writing becomes! This poem is also done in my class to assist with comprehension and character analysis. My students "become" characters from stories we read together and complete the poem from the perspective of a character.

  9. Looking for 15 minute poetry classes....Love "I Am A Poem."

    thank you!!!!!!

  10. This is an excellent resource to help kids develop self-worth. Thanks for sharing.