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    Student led conferences
    By Debbie

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    As mentioned, student led conferences take lots of planning, but it's a wonderful process. (It's metacognition or 'knowing what you know')

    For writing, students choose samples every two-three weeks. We brainstorm as a group what good writers do, and break this into process (ie. I plan my piece in different ways and product...Has a 'grabber' beginning-it hooks you). These were from their list generated this year. Then they complete a form to reflect on the following: I chose this piece because...'The day my dog died was one of the saddest in my life.' This what it shows I can do as a writer...ie. 'I worked hard to add words that convey my feelings.'

    They choose problems/activities from their math/science logs and brainstorm what mathematicians and scientists do...The form is similar. For social studies, they've usually completed some project and their self reflection is added to the works.

    We schedule the families in groups of perhaps three families per half hour. The kids have generated a list of the things they are sharing with their families (think Open House), and everything's ready to go as they arrive. They start at a table if one's available, or by viewing the artifacts around the room (author study responses, art works, etc.) My monitoring book is out and parents are able to glance at their child's current DRAs, benchmark writing samples, problem solving and other assessments. I take time with each family, but it is never very long because their child is so busy spotlighting his/her accomplishments. The 'unofficial' conference times (Winter and End of Year), we ask the families to bring in a dessert to share and we celebrate their learning together. There are several professional books written on student led conferences...go to Heinemann or Stenhouse or Christopher Gordon publishers for titles.



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