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    Student-Led Conferences
    By Anna

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    I did student-led conferences last year with great success with my 5th graders. This is what we do:

    1. I have them choose samples of work to show their parents. I want them to choose some "bad" work that they are improving on doing better, and some "good" work that they are proud of. I also make them include at least one journal entry for a writing sample.

    2. I have an outline for them to follow. They make a list of goals for the next nine weeks, and then goals to work for the entire year. For each subject they list one thing they learned, and one thing they need to continue working on.

    3. We peer-practice conferences all during the week before conferences. They have their outline to follow (introduction, thank parents for coming, show them their work samples, show them their goals, show them subject lists).

    4. I also make a copy of the report card where I get to give them marks for study habits and conduct. I have them give themselves grades on how they think they are doing, and then we compare those to the marks I gave to them on their report card. Most of the time they are harder on themselves than I am on them.

    This approach works well for me. It makes the student take ownership and repsonsibility for their work, and their parents are usually very proud that they conduct the conference. I have the children set the timer when they come in (it makes it seem less rude than when I do it) and they run the conference (with input and guidance from me).

    Good luck (I think you should be able to get it all done in a week, if you spend a good deal of time during school day preparing your students).

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