Clanin's Corner

March Newsletter

Why is Conferring so Important...Let Me Count the Ways!

Conferring is so powerful because it ensures that differentiation takes place in ALL classroom(it isn't just a reading and writing thing) on a daily basis! The following ways show what it does for the students, the classroom and for YOU, the educator!

1. Helps You Know the Students

a. Get to say hello to students daily

b. Know everyone in your classes on a different level

c. Learn everyone's name quickly

2. Builds a Community

a. View other perspectives

b. Grows everyone beyond passive participant

c. Empowers student voice

d. Builds trust

e. Builds empathy and understanding

f. Makes a safe place to express individuality

g. Create challenges by offering choice

3. Establishes Assessment FOR Learning- Formative

a. Identify individual needs

b. Identify individual strengths

c. Progress monitor skills/strategy or comprehension

d. Check for understanding of the teaching point

e. a through d establishes teacher lesson planning and learning outcomes

Explore one or several authors to find a style that works for you!

4. Easy to Differentiate

a. Content

i. Use familiar vocabulary

ii. Prior knowledge varies, so set the stage for learning

iii. Let students select content/topic

iv. Use familiar content and formats

v. Implement content that reflect similar themes

b. Student Interest

i. Relate content to student interest

ii. Demonstrate connection

iii. Apply knowledge of student ability

iv. Match student roles with interests

c. Classroom Management

i. Set Individual goals and expectations

ii. Adjust the physical space based on needs

iii. Teach to different learning styles

d. Instructional Process

i. Use thinking maps and other scaffolds

ii. Practice with a variety of examples and demonstrations

iii. Present material in new, interesting and different ways

5. Allows for Authentic Summative Assessments OF Learning

a. Create a variety of assessments-products, projects, speeches, debates, Socratic seminar, inquiry, project based learning, published pieces, monologues, scene or play writing, and/or presentations

b. Express and maintain high expectations

c. Assessments should reflect standards and higher level thinking

The Good, The Better, and The BEST

The Good: Conferring is a skill that develops over time through careful listening and purposeful talk by the teacher and student. Learning for adults is just the same as it is for our students...unless you are a natural at the art of conversation with students, it takes time to develop the skill of conferring. Be patient, reflect, fine-tune, and try again.

The Better: There are several books and videos on conferring in your professional development libraries(or you can borrow from me).

The BEST: Conferring follows a predictable structure:



Decide on what and how to teach.

Teach the writer and reader not the writing or reading- what you teach should carry over into other pieces or stories.

Link your teaching to what the students are doing already.

Leave an Artifact for the student to refer back to on a regular basis.

Document your conference.

Use the instructional coaches or me to help you grow in the different parts of conferring!

Ways to Document Conferences