Student-Led Conferences: Empowerment and Ownership

November 18, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs

>>Marissa: Hi, mom, welcome
to my Student-Led Conference. First, I’m going to tell
you about my goals.>>The conferences here are different. Most schools, the teachers talk to
the parent, but in our school here, Wildwood, the students
talk to the parents. We actually get to tell our
parents what we’re doing.>>Rebecca: I think the greatest impact that I see is them taking
ownership of their growth process.>>Jonathan: Pretty much
it just changes everything about parent-teacher conferences. They get to see all your work
and everything that you’re doing. And actually get to learn a few
things about what you’re doing. So.>>At the beginning of the universe, creation of stars, creation
of the earth. We mapped that onto a
football field as a timeline.>>Rita: Wow.>>Mary Beth: I think student
ownership of learning, and what that means is students
being 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 relevance
and connection to the curriculum, sense of relevance and connection
to each other, to the teacher, and to the broader work
of the community. To actually make student
ownership a reality in the school is very challenging. So what we did is we just started
very small, and we just said, “Just figure out how students are
going to have a little more presence at the conference,” and I
think just creating that sense that the student is the center of
the conference, so the student gets to be the one that facilitates
that conference.>>Maddy: And here’s the table
of contents for my binder. So first, there’s an introductory
letter, 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 to
conference with the parents.>>Rebecca: It’s their turn to shine. We provide enough resources for them, so that when they lead the
conference, they feel confident.>>Marissa: Well, this year we wrote an
essay, to know what we’re going to say to our parents, and not
just keep pausing.>>Now I will tell you my
strengths and then my weaknesses. My strengths are math. So, for example, this is exponents. And this is long division.>>Maddy: During the quarter, you really
have to like work on each assignment, ’cause you know you’re
going to like want to tell your parents something about it.>>Brigid: There’s a lot of pre-work
that’s done before conferences happen. The kids have got to practice, and
you also have to really let them think about what they want
to be in their binder. It’s a combination of things that
they chose, and things that we chose.>>Maddy: So when I was
preparing 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 each
document, and disconnected them.>>The purpose of the student led
conference is to who her where I was at, where I am at, and where
I want to be at.>>So, for Quarter 2, I want to get
better at like literary devices and analytical paragraphs, and to better
on the vocabulary tests that we have. So like you could help
me study for those.>>I really got to show my mom
like the work that I was proud of. And I also included some work
that 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, and
towards the end of the quarter, I’m like kind of looking at like how
I’m doing, because I know that I’ll have to talk about, not just
the teacher, but I will.>>Jonathan: It gets people
used to be able to like review their
work, like a reflection.>>Brigid: Reflection is
part of our school culture. You know, as teachers
we’re expected to reflect.>>Jonathan: I’m going to
need to work on these traits. So, the first take, it would
be like raising my hand more. Or like going into activities
where 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 to
showcase, makes me so proud of him. He also have a good grasp
of what he’s learning. And that depth is what I
really was able to get today. And I couldn’t have got
from him at home.>>Good job.>>Teachers: Good job.>>Jonathan: Yeah, thank you.>>Brigid: It helps parents to see
their kids in a different light, too. This is what my child is as a student.>>Jonathan: Like you can see like
the little details of how I draw.>>Christine: Through Student-Led
Conferences and through the reflection, and emphasis on applying what you
know, and articulating what you know, and sharing what you know, it’s been
really cool to see the expression of what someone’s learned
about themselves.>>Maddy: Loving events and people in
my life have helped me become who I am. No matter how many things change
in the future, I’ll still be me.>>Christine: I hope so. Good job.>>Maddy: Thanks!