Conferring with Students 1-on-1

As I explore transitioning into a reader’s workshop model next year, I am interested in adding conferring with my first grade students 1-on-1 during their independent reading time. In our building, many teachers, including myself, use guided reading groups to meet with students. I group kids together if they are approximately at the same guided reading level. Although this is great instruction and I will still include this in my literacy block, I feel conferring with students 1-on-1 would provide me a lot of insight to my students as readers.

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What is conferring?

Conferring with students 1-on-1 means that the teacher goes around the classroom and meets with students during independent reading. Conferring can be as short as 3 to 5 minutes. The time is spent discussing the book that they are reading independently. The teacher takes anecdotal notes while conferring. During this time, you can see the student’s strengths as well as point out a goal for that child to work on.

What will this look like in my classroom?

Going around the room and meeting students where they are at (at their desk, on the floor, etc.) can be an adjustment from the typical way we meet with students, at the kidney table. When I picture myself doing this in my classroom, I can see this as a way to increase accountability. Students know I may be checking in with them at any point during that independent reading time. This independent time will follow a mini-lesson where a strategy is introduced for readers to apply to their own books. Conferring is a form of assessment that I can use to see the strategies readers are applying independently as well as teaching students a new strategy to focus on as a goal.

Videos are always a helpful tool to see how other teachers have found success in their own classrooms. I chose three videos that encouraged me to want to do conferring in my classroom.

1st Video: Conferring in a kindergarten reading workshop. I like how this teacher meets the kids where they are around the room, and discusses how she differentiates instruction based on her anecdotal notes.

Conferring Notes: Gathering Data

2nd Video: This video is a great introduction to conferring and shows two conferences with 2nd graders and one with a 5th grader. I like how this shows the difference of what conferring will look like at as reader’s progress.

3rd Video: This video shows the whole reader’s workshop time. At around 9:40, the teacher starts conferring with her students. The part I like about this video is part of her conferring is setting goals with students.

I am excited to research more about conferring with students and start integrating this into my literacy block come fall!

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5 thoughts on “Conferring with Students 1-on-1

  1. I love 1:1 on with my students! Whether they admit it or not, I think the students enjoy that too. It is a great way to gain insight in many aspects of the students life. 🙂 I enjoyed your videos-your correct, videos are a great way for teachers to see new strategies in practice!

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  2. Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree. Since we work together, we are able to talk about these types of observations and changes that we intend to make! This hits it right on the head. I have been brainstorming bigger and better ways to hold students accountable and this is just one more way to do exactly that! I think it is important for teachers to understand that there are more ways than JUST guided reading to connect and guide students in their reading. Thanks for the post! I look forward to brainstorming more with you this year to make some rock solid changes for our students!

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  3. Such a great practice! I started conferencing with my students during writer’s workshop last year. I hope to do it for reader’s workshop this year. The students love that they get to meet with me one on one and I get to know them way better than in a small or large group. Great post with awesome resources! Thanks!!

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  4. Hi Lindsey,
    How exciting for you to have the freedom in your classroom to change to a reader’s workshop model. I am curious if this is the norm? Or do many schools/districts dictate what kind of model will be used for literacy. Where I student taught, there was no freedom, the lessons were actually scripted (ugh!) and teachers were required to keep with the model that was given. As for the 1 on 1 conferencing–I don’t think there is any better way to really get to know a student and his/her strengths and struggles. The time you spend with each student may seem small, but they will grow to look forward to your conferences, and hopefully it will lead to both growth in reading, but also in a love for books!

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  5. Yes! I love 1:1 conferencing with my students. I feel I really get to know my 8th graders as well it helps really build a relationship. Once I started doing this I will never go back, I know who they are as a reader, how to help them select the perfect book, and I catch on quickly when they are struggling. Good luck and have fun with it!

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