S is for Student-Led Conferences

Steps to a student-led conference

steps to a student-led conferenceSome of my most poignant moments as a teacher occurred around the table of a Student Led Conference. Truly. My eyes have welled with tears at the sheer emotion shared. I’m a believer in giving students the voice and the power to be at this table.

It requires a strong level of planning and structuring by the teacher, though.

I think at the start, teachers and administrators need to envision what they wish to see as a final result. If you wish to see students leading a conversation with their teachers and parents about who they are, what they are working on, and what they have accomplished, my advice may work for you.

I hesitate to simplify the process for readers, because it can be complex. But, after doing SLCs for years, I feel like it can be broken down into a few steps.

(Abbreviated) Steps to a Student-Led Conference

  1. Establish Methods and Format (Google Doc, Slideshow, Binder with Papers)
  2. Planning Materials to be Shared (Goals, Evidence, Reflection)
  3. Communicate with Parents (Schedule, Ask for their goals for child & questions for you)
  4. Student Collects Evidence and Builds Reflection
  5. Teacher Monitors and Guides Student Evidence
  6. Set Agenda for Students’ Use at Conference
  7. Student Practices for Conference

For those that are visual, I’ve shared this slideshow consisting of similar information.

What’s the bigger picture for student-led conferences?

the ABCs of edtech

What does it look like to bring other parties into the portfolio process and to the conference table? Mentors, distant collaborators, community partners, family members…

And what if students really do carry a portfolio with them K-16 and beyond?

There are many ways to do a successful Student Led Conference. I’m suggesting one option. The heart of the matter is that students have a voice at the table, and they are in the driver’s seat.

Need to catch up on your edtech ABCs? Check out the full series here.

Rachel Mark

Rachel Mark joins the Tarrant Institute as a Professional Development Coordinator in the southern part of Vermont. Prior to working with TIIE, Rachel was a middle school literacy and social studies teacher at Tarrant partner school Manchester Elementary-Middle. As a teacher, Rachel loved exploring new content and new methods with inquisitive young adolescents. She thinks middle schools are the most dynamic learning centers in the state. Rachel is passionate about supporting teachers and helping them overcome obstacles; it’s her mission to break down the barriers that teachers face in implementing change. She is interested in student reflection and portfolio based assessment, inquiry and project-based learning When she's not reading, researching and supporting teachers, Rachel loves to play. She balances her life shuttling three busy kids around by getting sweaty and zen - yoga, exercise, and being outdoors are how she recharges her metaphorical batteries.

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