Let the student shine!

Student-led conference including both parents: if a parent is absent, include via conference call, and/or record via video, post to YouTube.

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This year I had my 5th graders lead their own conferences, using their portfolios to reflect upon their learning and present to their parents how they had grown academically over the trimester. (I was their assistant, who sat quietly unless called upon for help.) If one  parent couldn't make the conference, we invited them to join via conference call. In the case of one child's parent who lives overseas, we videoed the conference and put it on a private link on YouTube. My students amazed me as they explained to their parents about their work. I learned so much about what was important to them about what they had accomplished. It was a delightful surprise to see how invested they actually were in their work, their enthusiasm, and how much pride they took in leading their own conference. This was the best use of parent-teacher conference time in all my years as an educator. Parents could see for themselves where their child was strong and where they needed more support. It took the spotlight off of me as the teacher and put it directly onto the child (where it belonged!). Smoothest, most meaningful and enlightening conferences ever.


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Photo of Margaret Powers

LK Henley It sounds like you and your students had an amazing conference experience this year! Could we can start a Google Doc with some FAQs to help other educators understand more about how you set it up and how it worked?

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