My lesson material is presently housed in a Haiku Learning LMS. My Class Content Can Be Viewed HERE.
I am at a new post teaching Grade 7 English Language Arts in a private international school in Mexico. It's like visiting a dear old friend and building new friendships all at once. Those of you who know me well are aware of my preferred pattern: every few years it's important for me to step back a bit from my ed-tech-first focus and return to the content area classroom to be sure that I retain a realistic and accurate perspective as both a teacher and a teaching coach. At my last post I learned an enormous amount yet there were no professional growth opportunities left for me there, so I cast my net wider.
Professionally and specifically these first several months my heart is beating best practices in ELA and learning all about my new students, language, families, culture, country (and cuisine). I am embedding technology daily, of course, and so thankful that we are a 1:1 school with excellent T.I. and I.T. teams, yet I am not an ed tech specialist at the moment -- I want to concentrate on staying relevant and effective in this critical content area (ELA) for a season or two.
My colleagues are gradually moving to standards-based grading under the Common Core State Standards and most teachers are using Understanding by Design concepts. It's wonderful to teach in a block system again and be a participant on a large cross-curricular team which does significant projects incorporating every subject + outdoor education. It's been a fascinating transition! For updates, subscribe to my blog at this site.
The below entries are from prior to July, 2014 as I taught Information Technology from July 2014 to June 2016, not Language Arts.
Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 4:34PM
WHAT ARE WRITING CONFERENCES?
There are hundreds of great resources on the web about Conferring in Writer’s Workshop. Here are some basics:
WRITING CONFERENCES ARE
- Conversations about the work the child is doing as a writer
- Conversations about how the child can become a better writer
FIRST THE STUDENT IS IN THE LEAD ROLE
- Student: You set the agenda for the conference by describing the work you’re doing as a reader or a writer.
– Teacher: I listen carefully to what you’re saying about your reading or writing work. I will ask you questions to clarify what you’re saying so that I can totally understand what you’re working on.
THEN THE TEACHER IS IN THE LEAD ROLE
- Teacher: I will share an assessment of your reading or writing work based on what you told me at the beginning of our conference.
– Student: You listen carefully to the assessment. You should ask me questions if you aren’t sure of what I’m saying to you.
- Teacher: I will give you a strategy to help you doing better reading or writing work.
– Student: You try to figure out how to do better work. You should listen carefully to what I’m telling you about how to do better work. You may often have the chance to try out the strategy I’m presenting to you in front of me so that I can see how you’re doing with what I taught you on-the-spot.
THE TEACHER’S ROLE IN A CONFERENCE
In the first part of the conversation the teacher will:
• Invite the student to set an agenda for the conference
• Get on a line of thinking about the student’s writing work by asking research questions and reading the student’s writing
• Decide what to teach the student
In the second part of the conversation the teacher will:
• Give the student critical feedback
• Teach the student
• Nudge the student to have-a-go
• Link the conference to the student’s independent work
THE STUDENT’S ROLE IN A CONFERENCE
In the first part of the conversation the student will:
- Set the agenda for the conference by describing her writing work
- Respond to her teacher’s research questions by describing her writing work more deeply
In the second part of the conversation the student will:
- Listen carefully to her teacher’s feedback and teaching
- Ask questions to clarify and depend her understanding of her teacher’s feedback and teaching
- Have-a-go with what her teacher taught her
- Commit to trying what her teacher taught her after the conference
Thanks to MSU English Education’s presentation on their Wiki and “Two Writing Teachers” for their excellent blog. I would recommend that anyone interested in learning more about conferring should check out Carl Anderson’s work on the topic.