Friday, February 17, 2017

Student-Led Conferences - Students Take the Lead

Parent conferences always seem to sneak upon us before we know it. By this time of year, parents should have a clear understanding of how their child is doing academically, as well as socially. Students need the opportunity to take the leadership role and show their parents what they are learning. Since my students are the experts,  they were proud and excited to share their accomplishments and goals. When students take the lead role they become empowered and take ownership of their learning.

Another important aspect was to have student presentations tie in with district curriculum and objectives.  My fourth graders prepared, organized and led the conference with their parents.

Students created iPads out of construction paper. They included their favorite apps, as well as the QR codes for the sites they would share with their parents.  The QR codes were easy and quick to create. I used QR Code Generator

There were four to five families attending conferences each hour. The showcase of learning took place in the hallway and classroom. Once the student-led conferences started, I took the backseat, and it was wonderful watching my students take the lead. Maria Montessori's quote sums it up perfectly!

Conference Agenda

Goal Setting Presentations
Conferences started out with goal setting presentations. Students shared their successes and specific goals they set. They decided to create their presentations in either Keynote or Google Slides.  Rich conversations took place between students and parents. The link below is an example of one of my student's goal setting presentations.

Writing Station
Personal Narratives
Students wrote personal narratives for a recent reading benchmark test. At this station, each child and his/her parent used the state rubric to score the narrative he/she wrote. 

Math Station
One of our favorite apps to show our learning in math is Seesaw. It is a digital portfolio that we use in all curricular areas.  Fourth graders selected a math problem to solve. They showed their parents how they use Seesaw to record their thinking/learning of math concepts being taught. What I loved watching is parents helping his/her child solve the math problem selected. After the recording, parents who weren't currently enrolled in their child's Seesaw portfolio were able to do so on the spot with their Smartphones. Parents then had the opportunity to comment on his/her child's year-long digital portfolio.

Posters and ChatterPix
One of our recent genres in reading was biographies.  Each student selected someone they admired and created a biography poster. Each student shared his/her poster and wrote a brief summary. To add a techie twist, students created a ChatterPix of the person they researched and recorded the summary. Parents were amazed after scanning the QR code watching a video of the person with their child's voice on the recording. 
Nebraska football star and NFL Bengal's player, 
Rex Burkhead, reshared Andrew's poster and ChatterPix on Twitter.
Team Jack

Words their Way - Spelling
Stick Around
One of our favorite apps to use with Words Their Way is Stick AroundStudents create puzzles for their word patterns each week.  Students created and selected a puzzle for their parents to solve.  It was amazing watching my students explain to their parents what they needed to do. I loved seeing my students high five and congratulate their parents when they finally completed and solved the puzzle.

Reading - Fountas and Pinnell Level
Our district uses Fountas and Pinnell to track students' reading levels.  I love Literably and parents were very impressed with the information provided about their child's reading fluency and comprehension.  Students scanned a QR code which took them directly to their child's individualized reading site on Literably. Parents listened to their child read and were able to hear their child's fluency and view the comprehension data.

Overview of How Students are Performing

After scanning the QR Code parents commented on one of their child's writing posts. The link has been shared with parents each week, but it was great watching parents see what their child has actually published.

Greek and Latin Roots and Math Journals
Greek and Latin Roots are a large part of our curriculum. My fourth graders have been creating a year-long book of all the Greek and Latin Roots they are learning.  They are also creating year-long interactive math journals that they can refer back to throughout the year. Students had the opportunity to share the books with their parents during conferences. Book Creator is one of our favorite apps to use in all curricular areas.

Social Studies
For social studies, Nebraska history is part of our curriculum. Students created a ThingLink about Nebraska sharing important landmarks, the history, and interesting facts. Using ThingLink is a creative way for students to share their learning. They loved the fact that they can app smash to the links they shared about Nebraska. Click on the link below to view Rebecca, Drew, Bayer, and Alex's project.
                            Happy 150th Birthday Nebraska

You Matter
One thing my fourth grade team works on all year is spreading kindness. My students know that everyone has special talents and abilities. Students worked in groups and created You Matter Movie Trailers. +Angela Maiers is an inspirational educator to all, and she has a Choose2Matter websiteMs. Maier's message is a theme throughout my fourth graders' Movie Trailers. To plan for the trailers my students used +Tony Vincent's Movie Trailer Planners. Many shared their video creations at conferences. What an important concept for all, and my fourth graders shine! They truly know how to make a positive difference. 

Beckett and Dallin

Andrew, JD, and Gavin

Daytona, Leah, Macie, and Riley

Learning Management System
Our district uses Schoology, which is a learning management system to share content and resources with students. My fourth graders had the opportunity to show their parents how we use Schoology in content areas. They also shared how we start our day with downloading the Daily Math Spiral, Problem of the Day, and Daily Oral Language to Notability. 

Science Center
The last task on the agenda was to create a circuit board for their parents. This was one of their favorite science activities so far this year.
Scientists at Work

Celebrating student learning is what teaching is all about! I would love to hear how others are using student-led conferences to showcase their students' learning.