Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Assignment Seven: Student Writing Conference

ASSIGNMENT SEVEN: Student Writing Conference - Choose one or two children (classroom students, relatives, neighbors...) to conduct an informal conference with. You may choose to use one of Regie’s formats, your own or the one below, which I use in a conferring notebook. You need to find a system that will work for you. Example 1 (and below) is the format I use for each writing conference that I hold with students. Keep in mind that while you are conferring with students, the majority of other students should be writing!

(Note: If you aren’t currently teaching please find a school-age child to do a conference with. We believe you will find it is worth the effort.) 

Student Name:                                                     Date:

? (Question- Teacher asks)- “What are you
working on today in your writing?”

C (Compliment)- Compliment the student on one
strategy they are using well.

TP (Teaching Point)- What is one
strategy/point/goal you can teach this student to
move them forward?

FNT (For Next Time)- What needs to be a focus
during the next conference/what were set goals?

ASSIGNMENT SEVEN: After completing your one or two conferences, please reflect on how well they went and how they will impact your whole group, small group and independent instruction in your classroom. Post your reflective response to the blog.


  1. I have been teaching a third grade student who is in a bilingual program (Chinese / English) at a local elementary school about twice a week in a one on one situation for more than two years. English is her second language. From what I can tell, the school does a lot of spelling, grammar, and reading comprehension. Not much emphasis is placed on writing.

    Since I have started working with her, I have used writing as a vehicle to get her to use the English she knows and to write summaries based on her school science, social studies and language arts textbooks. So in essence, I have been conducting a student writing conference twice a week with her for two years now.

    We use tools such as graphic organizer, sticky notes, and cartoon templates to help with comprehension and organization. In addition, we have used color markers, big paper, writing notebooks, computers, and an iPad to help keep the actual writing interesting.

    We always read and discuss the selected material and look at contextual clues like pictures, italics, headings, and charts. We usually do some kind of pre-writing exercise, but not always.

    Initially, I did a lot demonstrations and she basically copied what I wrote. I think that helped with her conventions, but predictably she came to rely on me too much. Eventually, via shared writing and guidance, I got her to write on her own. Now, we both write our own paragraphs and compare final products. When she began flying solo, she often just copied the textbook. However, she has become much better at using her own words especially in regards with her language arts reading book.

    What’s next? Obviously, I am going to continue to encourage her to use her own words. Then I think it is time to clean up her spelling. It is not a big problem, but I want to foster good habits. I plan to try Regie’s ideas about how to teach spelling. “What words don’t look right?” I think it will help her think more and become more independent. I always monitor her work for teaching opportunities and keep it positive.

  2. Hi Tom,

    When you worked with your student, did you follow the conferring format, where you complimented the student and pick one or two specific points for the student to focus on? In the classroom, time is a big factor, in order to get to the most students possible; so conferences need to be short and tight. When we work individually with students it allows us the luxury of having more time and being able to connect with the child on a different level.

    It sounds like an incredible experience to be able to work with this student for years and see her progress and growth. :)

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