Student-Led Conferences: Empowerment and Ownership

>>Marissa: Hi, mom, welcometo my Student-Led Conference.

First, I'm going to tellyou about my goals.

>>The conferences here are different.

Most schools, the teachers talk tothe parent, but in our school here, Wildwood, the studentstalk to the parents.

We actually get to tell ourparents what we're doing.

>>Rebecca: I think the greatest impact that I see is them takingownership of their growth process.

>>Jonathan: Pretty muchit just changes everything about parent-teacher conferences.

They get to see all your workand everything that you're doing.

And actually get to learn a fewthings about what you're doing.

So.

>>At the beginning of the universe, creation of stars, creationof the earth.

We mapped that onto afootball field as a timeline.

>>Rita: Wow.

>>Mary Beth: I think studentownership of learning, and what that means is studentsbeing able to say, "This is who I am as a learner, this is what I'm learning, this is why it's important to me, " you're building that sense of relevanceand connection to the curriculum, sense of relevance and connectionto each other, to the teacher, and to the broader workof the community.

To actually make studentownership a reality in the school is very challenging.

So what we did is we just startedvery small, and we just said, "Just figure out how students aregoing to have a little more presence at the conference, " and Ithink just creating that sense that the student is the center ofthe conference, so the student gets to be the one that facilitatesthat conference.

>>Maddy: And here's the tableof contents for my binder.

So first, there's an introductoryletter, to introduce you to thee Student Conference, and what I'd be talking about.

Look at that.

>>Brigid: It's not about us.

It's the kids' turn toconference with the parents.

>>Rebecca: It's their turn to shine.

We provide enough resources for them, so that when they lead theconference, they feel confident.

>>Marissa: Well, this year we wrote anessay, to know what we're going to say to our parents, and notjust keep pausing.

>>Now I will tell you mystrengths and then my weaknesses.

My strengths are math.

So, for example, this is exponents.

And this is long division.

>>Maddy: During the quarter, you reallyhave to like work on each assignment, 'cause you know you'regoing to like want to tell your parents something about it.

>>Brigid: There's a lot of pre-workthat's done before conferences happen.

The kids have got to practice, andyou also have to really let them think about what they wantto be in their binder.

It's a combination of things thatthey chose, and things that we chose.

>>Maddy: So when I waspreparing my binder, you know, the whole time I was thinking, "Oh, I can tell my mom like all the new things I learned.

" >>Probably my favorite thing is this.

We like found three things for eachdocument, and disconnected them.

>>The purpose of the student ledconference is to who her where I was at, where I am at, and whereI want to be at.

>>So, for Quarter 2, I want to getbetter at like literary devices and analytical paragraphs, and to betteron the vocabulary tests that we have.

So like you could helpme study for those.

>>I really got to show my momlike the work that I was proud of.

And I also included some workthat I kind of struggled with.

>>And then here's a vocabulary test.

I was very confused on this one.

>>While I'm doing the work, andtowards the end of the quarter, I'm like kind of looking at like howI'm doing, because I know that I'll have to talk about, not justthe teacher, but I will.

>>Jonathan: It gets peopleused to be able to like review theirwork, like a reflection.

>>Brigid: Reflection ispart of our school culture.

You know, as teacherswe're expected to reflect.

>>Jonathan: I'm going toneed to work on these traits.

So, the first take, it wouldbe like raising my hand more.

Or like going into activitieswhere I wouldn't feel like comfortable, like my comfort zone.

Like working in groups, kind of.

>>Rebecca: That's a good reflection.

>>Jonathan: Yeah.

>>Rita: What Jonathan was able toshowcase, makes me so proud of him.

He also have a good graspof what he's learning.

And that depth is what Ireally was able to get today.

And I couldn't have gotfrom him at home.

>>Good job.

>>Teachers: Good job.

>>Jonathan: Yeah, thank you.

>>Brigid: It helps parents to seetheir kids in a different light, too.

This is what my child is as a student.

>>Jonathan: Like you can see likethe little details of how I draw.

>>Christine: Through Student-LedConferences and through the reflection, and emphasis on applying what youknow, and articulating what you know, and sharing what you know, it's beenreally cool to see the expression of what someone's learnedabout themselves.

>>Maddy: Loving events and people inmy life have helped me become who I am.

No matter how many things changein the future, I'll still be me.

>>Christine: I hope so.

Good job.

>>Maddy: Thanks!.

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