While jumping from blog to blog, I stumbled upon a post at Learning and Laptops. It immediately caught my interest because I am still exhausted from our parent-teacher conferences last week. We have 3 nights of conferences and one afternoon and we make appointments with parents for 15 minutes each. Ninety-nine percent of our parents come to the conferences and they normally focus on grades and a lot of small talk. It always bothers me that conferences seem to serve as nothing more than a face-to-face reading of the report card (or the report card to come!). Learning and Laptops has taken conferences in a new and exciting direction!
Instead of reviewing grades, Learning and Laptops discussed what students were actually learning. Her students filled out assesment where they answered the following:
Assess your learning in class so far this semester. Look at your participation, growth in writing, comprehension, etc..
Where, in terms of your learning, do you want to be at the end of the semester?
How are you going to get there?
What can I do to help?
Write a message to your parents.
What an amazing concept! Students filled out the assessment and brought a copy home before conferences so parents could read them. Then, the parents and teacher were able to discuss that student’s actual learning and feelings at the conference. What a valuable use of time! Parents were able to take the time to react to the assessment at home and then reflect on it with their child’s teacher. Many parents and students took the time to reflect on the conferences and their thoughts regarding the new format right on the blog- most of the comments are positive!
This is definitely something I am considering for the next set of conferences, in the spring. I would have to rework the student assessment slightly for my grade level, but my students are definitely capable of reflecting on their learning. I think metacognitive thinking is so important for learning at any age and a habit that students should get into. I already build metacognitive strategies into my reading and writing workshop, and would love to bring into more areas of the classroom.