As the Spring break was winding up my thoughts turned to upcoming Student Led Conferences (SLCs). ‘My burning question was How will I prepare the students for them?’
Monday morning arrived and like I have for several years broached the topic of SLCs with the class. Fortunately, most were looking forward to them. Those who were not, were worried about being ready, the parents testing them and being worried they would forget the answer or what to say. The discussion moved on the ‘why’ and ‘when’ of the SLCs and then onto “So what it is it you want to share with your family?” As you can see from the photo below we had quite the brainstorm about his. I ended the session with “ Great start, we will leave this here for a day or 2 and come back to when we have had more time to think.”
I was thinking about this session and the direction we were heading in well before the day ended, but not in the way I first thought I would. It was similar to what I have done for a few years now, but that wasn’t the problem I had with it. While I knew I was going to be giving my students choice I knew it was still really going to be happening on my or the teaching teams terms.
The next morning as I entered my classroom I saw the brainstorm chart and thought these are really just the ‘liked’ activities/ engagements based on curriculum and learning needs, but what are they showing about each student as a learner? They had already likely to have been discussed and shared when they occurred to.
As I arrive early to school I use this time to check twitter -and to have my coffee- and discovered SLCs were are a current topic for many right now. I follow Taryn BondClegg @makingoodhumans and her current post was intriguing …but I didn’t look- yet!
I was getting notifications about this tweet, being involved in conversations about SLCs and student voice for days, but still resisted opening and reading the blog post as I really wanted to go through this process myself (or with my team) without influence, just yet. I didn’t want blurred lines about was it me and my thinking or was it another person who I copied who got 3TS to the point of more voice in their SLC. When I reflect on my and 3TS’s process and look at Taryn’s post I will make the adjustments that I know are needed and why and be happy to be guided and influenced by a great practitioner.
By Wednesday I had come up with a new plan to help my class get the best out the SLCs, meet my school’s requirements and honour my student’s choices and voices better. But first I needed to share my idea with the class and see if we could try the process together. They were willing – if I helped and gave extra ideas if they didn’t know what to do. This seemed fair to me.
We talked about them showing themselves as a learner – their parents know them their child; a musician as they hear them rehearse and watch their concerts; a soccer player as they either coach or drop them off to training and them watch their games…etc. Here is the opportunity to show themselves as a learner and not just talk about their favourite units, activities or new game.
Here is the planning following a 35 min session (by the way I really didn’t need to give many prompts):
So as I sit here a week later I am ready to post my first professional blog (other than the class one!) and tackle Part 2 of this SLC process – The students deciding on and collecting the evidence that will show them as a learner to their family.
Stayed tuned for P2- finishing the planning and engaging in the SLC Day.