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.
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.
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.