For our conferences, my cooperating teacher and I decided to conduct student-led conferences. We decided together that this would allow students to take responsibility for their work and would require them to set goals and articulate these goals to their parents or guardians. In order for the student-led conferences to be a success, my cooperating teacher and I gathered a variety of student work from throughout the semester, including weekly reading logs, a cold write essay, interactive journals, completed memoirs, close and critical writing assignments, and creative writing assignments. We sent a letter home with our students explaining how student-led conferences work.
A few days before the conferences, we gave these materials to the students, along with a folder and two forms. The first form required students to fill in information about what they have learned so far this year. This was meant to act as a guide during conferences. The second form was a goal sheet that required students to reflect on areas they have succeeded in and areas that could use improvement. Students used this information to set specific goals and to list steps for achieving these goals.
The conferences were an overwhelming success. Students came in to the classroom, found their folder and sat down at one of eight stations with their parents. My cooperating teacher and I circulated the room, answering questions and providing extra information when needed. It was great to see the pride most students took in showing off their work to their parents and explaining what they have learned. For students who struggled this semester, it was helpful to sit down with both the students and parents to discuss what could be done to help the students succeed.
Below are some photos of the student-led conference folders.