We had our second set of Student-Led/Parent-Teacher Conferences on Tuesday. I know that title seems like a mouthful, but I’m not sure how else to describe it. It is student-led, but it’s also led more like a team – with student, parents, and teacher all giving input on the child’s progress. Since this is our winter conferences, students have more control over the conferences and a larger part in it.
Before I get into the student-led info, I need to explain a few things about my school. At my school, each child gets their own personalized, differentiated, Personal Learning Plan (PLP). Each teacher comes up with two goals for the child based on academics, data, observation, etc. The third goal is a goal based around Think Like a Disciplinarian (this is a whole year-long project where the kids learn about different professions and present their findings at the end of the year). For these goals, each teacher comes up with an action plan of how the child will work on the goal and then creates a specific goal broken down throughout the year. I know this seems like a lot…it is. They take a long time to craft, but they are great for the kids. We make sure they fit the kids needs and this is where we are able to differentiate and really focus on where each child is at. So, while it takes a lot of time – and these progress report updates take a lot of time – it is worth it!
To help the students out, I created this simple sheet. A few days before the conference they filled it out. I met with them one-on-one to discuss/review their specific goals and they then wrote how they thought they were doing. It can be quite tricky to get kids to reflect. I’ve had a lot of “I’m doing good,” in the past, but this year most students had some thoughtful reflections. Then, after I reviewed it they were ready for their conference. The pre-made sheet is helpful because some kids get a little nervous in conferences so this helps calm their nerves since they can just read off the page.