I am writing this post during a break in my long day of third grade parent-teacher conferences. But during these (almost) spring conferences, we add in an extra ingredient, and have student-led conferences. For twenty-five minutes, a third grader gets to fill in their parents about their learning – Use a multiplication strategy! Explain the writing process! Demonstrate how to use a dichotomous key to identify different conifers! Read sentences in Hebrew!
Sometimes a student led conference is a little bit like doing a high wire act without a net. What if they can’t solve that math problem? What if they freeze up in front of the map of Portland? This was my biggest fear when I started to hold this type of conference. And then I realized that if that was the case, it was important for the family to see.
The reward for having students lead conferences is the joy and exuberance that radiates off of them as they show what they know. And the satisfaction from knowing that we’ve actually taught them a thing or two!