Student-Led/Parent-Teacher Conferences

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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.

Then, on the back students reflected on their school year.  Students wrote their strengths, areas where they can improve, and goals for the final trimester of the school year. I was proud to see them really identifying some of their strengths and weaknesses and again coming up thoughtful reflections.
Each student also has their own portfolio. I’ve been collecting different pieces from reading, writing, and math throughout the year and we’ve compiled them in their portfolio. Students shared their favorite piece with their parents at the Winter Conference and will then get to take the portfolio home at the end of the year.
In addition to the progress report mentioned at the beginning of the post (which I didn’t take pictures of for confidential reasons), I also created this quick reading update page for each child.  While many goals were focused around reading, many student’s goals were not.  So, since we have multiple reading assessments and we are past the halfway point of the school year, I thought a little reading update would be a good idea to keep parents in the loop. I included their recent STAR data,  where they are with receiving AR Awards, data from the Quick Phonics Screener, and information from their fluency assessments.
So, that is a sneak peek of what I included in my Student-Led/Parent-Teacher Conferences! We have them three times a year, so one more to go!

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