Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Family-Student-Teacher Conferences: Fall 2019

What started as an effort to create showcase portfolios has led to the use of a family-student-teacher model for conferences. During the next two weeks students will lead their own teaching/learning conferences and use a showcase portfolio as their guide.

Essentially children will begin the conference by introducing their parents to the teachers at the table. Then children will tell parents that they are going to share some of their signature studies and assessments during the conference.

Each child will begin the conference by sharing their happiness survey--a survey that shares the sights, sounds, smells, touches, and tastes that make them happy. This begins the conference on a positive note. After that students will share a brief reflection about the start of the school year. Then they will share some or all of the following:

  • SEL/teamwork surveys and academic/SEL goal sheets
  • Pictures of active learning
  • Reading list and reflection
  • Fall survival stories
  • Writing reflections
  • Math reflections
  • Examples of science labs, science study sheets, math homework, math tests, and other examples of their learning
Teachers will have a list of test scores and collegial comments available to share as well during the twenty-minute discussion. At the end of the discussion, families are welcome to bring home the students' showcase portfolio to look more closely at students' signature learning examples and assessments or they can choose to leave the book at school.

These conferences are a good way to put a child in the driver's seat of their education and a good way to demonstrate that families, educators, and students are a team working for the best interests of the child's academic and social-emotional welfare. 

Although it's extremely taxing to add twenty-plus student-family-teacher conferences on top of the typical teaching schedule, we value what these conferences due with respect to developing a strong teaching/learning team that works to positively develop student capacity and success.