Sunday, October 2, 2016

Let Kids Share with Student Led Conferences

We all know parent teacher conferences (PTC) as being one of the longest days for teachers. With a tight schedule, teachers must meet with parents to discuss student goals, strengths, and areas for improvement. For so long we've always just sat down with parents to discuss their child, but why have we never included the child in this discussion? So many teachers are taking a swing at student led conferences (SLC) and now I know why!

Last Spring I was realizing how independent my students had become over the year. They had developed a tremendous ownership and pride for their learning and there was no better time for us to try SLC. Here's why I use student led conferences:

Student led conferences are achievable with any grade level. I teach first grade and have had success with SLC and intend to continue to use these method. I use the Seesaw app to organize and guide our SLC. Here is the run down:
  1. Create goals for yourself and your students. What do you want to get out of SLC? What do you want students to share with their parents?
  2. Create a folder titled "SLC" on your class Seesaw account. 
  3. Post the "Behavior Self Evaluation" to your Seesaw account for each child to "copy and edit" to evaluate their own behavior. Parents will possibly see this on Seesaw, but this will also encourage conversation at the SLC.
  4. Create a checklist so students know what to add to the "SLC" Seesaw folder. Students were only allowed to add items to the folder if it was a post of their own work from the months up to the conferences. Parents may have already seen these items pop up in their Seesaw notifications, but they most likely haven't heard their child talk about each item. 
  5.  Provide students with a practice checklist and allow students to practice SLC with a partner. Model how they should show what is in the "SLC" Seesaw folder and how they should share and discuss items. This is a great opportunity to teach appropriate speaking skills (clear voice, eye contact, etc.). Students will discuss what they are good at and what they think they could get better at.
  6. Inform parents that their child will be leading the conference. This will encourage parents to come! I post this on Seesaw the day before conferences. 
  7. ENCOURAGE parents to ask questions of their child. This opens up discussion on success and areas for improvement.

    Want these documents? They're right here!

    Let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to collaborate!

    Thanks, Andrea