Conferring:  The Art and Agony of Letting Go Conferring:  The Art and Agony of Letting Go

Conferring: The Art and Agony of Letting Go - PowerPoint Presentation

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Conferring: The Art and Agony of Letting Go - PPT Presentation

Christa Phillips ResourceInclusion Teacher Inman Intermediate School When a writing conference works well it is a beautiful thing You talk with a student get a dialogue going make a suggestion and exit ID: 458875

student writing questions conference writing student conference questions piece guide conferring teacher students heinemann read conferences teaching writer cont




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Conferring: The Art and Agony of Letting Go

Christa Phillips

Resource/Inclusion Teacher

Inman Intermediate SchoolSlide2

“When a writing conference works well it is a beautiful thing. You talk with a student, get a dialogue going, make a suggestion, and exit.”

-Ralph Fletcher and



Writing Workshop: The Essential GuideSlide3

Testing the Waters

The purpose of the writing conference is to fix the student’s piece of writing.

I always have plenty of time to confer with each student.

My students always come prepared with questions or concerns about their writing.

I always keep thorough records to help plan my future writing instruction.Slide4

My Personal Roadblocks to Great Conferences

My perfectionism and “pleaser” personality

Overwhelmed by how much my students need—easier to teach to the piece of writing than to the writer

My teaching philosophy and/or expectations differ from those of the regular education teacher

Special education background


Central Questions

How can I give my students the support and help they need without taking over?

What are the teacher’s and the student’s roles during the conference?Slide9

The Art of Conferring

Teacher initiates the conference by asking about the student’s writing.

Questions should be conversational.

Nurture a genuine connection through eye contact and body language.

Praise something early on.Slide10

Conferring cont.

Student sets the agenda for the conference by describing the work that he is doing and by responding to teacher’s questions in the conversation.


student also asks questions about the piece that focus on his specific weaknesses.**

Try to guide the student to talk about his challenges with the


of writing instead of just the



Use writer’s talk.

**Prior to the conference the student has to do some work!Slide11

Now You Try!

You will have an opportunity to have a conference this afternoon. Choose one of your pieces that you would like to share.

Come up with 3 questions/concerns that you would like to discuss with your mentor.Slide12


Teach students how to prepare for conferences, how to become an internal critic; model for them. Immerse them in “writing language” so they can focus on the


of writing and understand and participate in the conversation more fully.

“Fishbowl” conferences for them so they can develop clear expectations. Or allow them to “eavesdrop” on other conferences.Slide13

Conferring cont.

Read the piece of writing.

Either the student reads, or the teacher can read to allow the student to hear it in a new way.

You don’t necessarily have to read the entire piece. You can read just the part where the student has questions/difficulties.Slide14

Conferring cont.

Teacher listens to student’s concerns and decides on


particular skill, technique, or strategy that will best help the student.

Provide or refer to mentor texts.

Refer to mini-lessons.

Keep anecdotal records to use for later instruction.Slide15

Conferring cont.

Student listens carefully to teacher’s feedback and instruction and asks questions as needed to clarify.


student should make notes to help guide them as they go back to continue work on writing.Slide16

My students aren’t cooperating!

Some students really don’t know how to ask for the help they need. You will have to guide them with your expertise and further questioning.

Using the student example on the center of your table, create a list of questions that you would ask this student.Slide17

The Agony?

Which part of the writing conference seems to give you, as a teacher, the most trouble?

How do you think you can improve this?Slide19

Things to Remember!

When we finish the conference, we should be able to name


thing we taught to help the student become a better writer.

The student should be the one holding the pencil and writing on his paper!

The bottom

line is the student decides if or when to use your advice.Slide20

Final Thought

When we read a child’s writing, we can always tell what needs to happen to the piece to make it better. If we were to do just that, help the student make this piece better, we will have changed the writing not the writer. It is our job during these conferences to teach the writing strategies that will help the writer not just for this piece, but for all future writing.”

Judy Davis and Sharon Hill

The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing Slide21


Anderson, Carl.

Assessing Writers

. Heinemann, 2005.

Anderson, Carl.

How’s It Going?: A Practical Guide to Conferring with Student Writers

. Heinemann, 2000.

Davis, Judy and Sharon Hill.

The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing

. Heinemann, 2003.

Fletcher, Ralph and




Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide

. Heinemann, 2001.

Lane, Barry.

After the End: Teaching and Learning

Creative Revision

. Heinemann, 1993.