Sunday, December 4, 2011

How is Conferring Going?

My conferencing/conferring is going well. I have been able to meet with 12-15 students a day. I've currently put small groups on the back burner so I can focus on practicing and improving my conferring skills. After winter break my plan is to incorporate both conferences and small groups.

Even in the past two weeks I have seen tremendous growth with my students, especially in their ability to select good fit books and defend how they are good fit books. Good fit books (not too easy, but not too hard) are the crucial element to independent reading and conferences have allowed me to have meaningful conversations on how to select such texts.

On a good day, my class completes four rotations. I've noticed that most of my students do read to self in either the first or second rotation. This has made it harder for me to meet with more students, especially because this means in the fourth rotation I normally only have one or two students doing read to self! Without interrupting my students' choice, what can I do to more evenly balance the number of students doing read to self?

My second struggle is the few conferences where I am not really sure what to suggest for the student to work on! In these cases I've either picked a comprehension strategy that I feel the student would benefit from more practice or told them I'd be back in a couple days to do more research. What do you do when you are unsure of what to suggest for the student?

Scheduling conferences in a way to see who I need to work with each day is one last area I'd like to work on. It is very easy to sort by student name and see when I met with that student, their goal, etc. However, it can be a lot to go through all the data before I meet with anyone to see who I've said I need to meet with that day. Does anyone have a great calendar app on the iPad that has helped them with scheduling?

The google form I created for my conferencing is very useful. I am able to reference it during a conference, at home, and can sort the data in meaningful ways very easily. I added behavioral goals (from our I-chart) because many of my students need to focus on these before we venture into other strategies.