Student-teacher conferences play an essential rose in conducting a successful writing workshop, but fitting them in can be tricky. How do teachers find the time? Should they be planned? What strategies make them most effective?
Mark Hardy gives his third graders an open-ended writing task to encourage them to put pen to paper. Giving students so much freedom is empowering for some but paralyzing for others. Hardy initiates informal conferences with students who need help.
Writing specialist Sheryl Block helps fourth graders in Kentucky write about what they have learned about nutrition. The kids have several choices regarding what to cover within this broad topic, and Block checks in with them to ensure they have a workable plan.
Nicole Outsen’s class in North Hampton, New Hampshire works on newspaper articles based on what they have learned about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The kids are free to choose a specific subtopic that interests them. Outsen has a clear conferencing structure to help.
Lindsay Dibert’s class drafts multiple leads for their personal narratives, using opening passages from popular children’s books for inspiration. Dibert huddles with students individually, asking them questions and affirming their choices.
Credits: Conversations with Student Writers
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This program demonstrates how teachers incorporate conferences with students into their writing instruction. Viewers will see how teachers structure conferences, choose a teaching focus for the conference, and keep records of their interactions. The emphasis is on practical strategies and on the fundamental benefit of responding personally to student writing.
Length: 29 minutes
Copyright date: ©2007
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