The teachable moment is what we live for - is there anything more magic than reaching a reader or writer with exactly the right words at exactly the right time? We've bottled some of that magic in the resources that follow, with print guidelines and scores of video examples from master teachers.
Bitsy Parks opens her conferring notebook and shares powerful ways to use conferring notes to differentiate instruction for students in reading and writing.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills guide us in determining what to teach in a writing conference. Included is a template to use for conference notes.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Erica about her reading response to 13th Reality. She helps Erica consider character motivation.
Ruth Metcalfe is determined to make teaching points from writing conferences visible for her young multi-language learners. She offers a how-to guide for all teachers to do the same and make the teaching accessible to students even after the conference is over.
Josie Stewart and Hannah Tills ponder the importance of energizing writers with feedback. They offer tips to ensure feedback uplifts writers.
Bitsy Parks shares a simple three-part conferring kit that will position anecdotal notes to guide instruction.
Deb Gaby confers with Riley about The Lemonade War. They talk about the writing about reading that students are doing for this whole-class read.
Tammy Mulligan encourages students to support their peers as writers by being a “roving student conferrer.” When we enable students to take on the role of the teacher, it helps solidify what they know, as well as take pride in their writing skills.
Matt Renwick offers advice on how to use feedback as a tool to support and reinforce what students are doing well. Sincerity and positivity will always give students more confidence in themselves as writers.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Carson about his connections to sports in his reading.
Stella Villalba confers with Esmeralda about her information writing on blue jays.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Griffin over his reading responses. They consider the differences between dystopian literature and realistic fiction, as well as what motivates characters.
Balancing small groups and conferences is essential for transferring learning from lessons and units, and it’s one of the trickiest tasks for teachers. Dana Murphy explains how she works toward balance in her classroom, weighing everything from the timeline of the unit to the intensity of the minilesson.
Fifth-grade writers in Franki Sibberson’s classroom encourage each other and suggest revisions to their opinion-writing drafts in partner teams.
Max Brand uses the “big table” in his kindergarten classroom as a communal spot for writing. You can see how he interrupts students naturally to make quick suggestions, and allows some interruptions of his own writing as he works with his students.
It would be easy to zip quickly through a writing conference about a vacation story, especially one about a trip to Disney. In this video, Franki Sibberson slows down with Ben to explore how he is meeting his goal of adding descriptive language to writing, using digital tools to assist.
Students can claim who they are as readers and writers by designing and presenting minilessons to their peers. In this week’s video, fifth grader Reagan from Franki Sibberson’s classroom presents a lesson on annotating reading with sticky notes.
Bitsy Parks confers with Aubrey early in the year, using books from whole-class lessons as a scaffold for understanding key text elements like title, author, and illustrations.
Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Allen by celebrating all he is doing well in his writing. She highlights his language and details in writing before moving on to new strategies to try.
Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Ava by having her share what she learned from a picture walk through a simple text, and then she helps her use pictures to decode text while reading.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Olivia about the principle of cause and effect in the novel she is reading.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Omar, who is reading The Rock and the River. The book is a fictional account of a tumultuous time in civil rights history, considering protests through a child’s eyes.
Estelle shares a poem she has written about lost friendship with her teacher, Katherine Sokolowski. She captures the fickle nature of fifth-grade relationships among girls. Katherine connects the cadence of the writing to the style of The Crossover, and helps Estelle find possibilities for more writing.
Christy Ruth-Levine confers with Edith, who is tracking character changes in the novel Room.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Jadev about how the title of a book often gives clues to its theme.
Justin Stygles questions his conferring routine during writing workshops, and the value of interrupting students early in the drafting process.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Cam, an eighth grader who seeks to understand the complexity of war through the experiences of main characters in novels.
Ruth Ayres explains why conferring records that stay with kids are useful for teachers.
When it comes to conferring notes, form needs to follow function. Dana Murphy quit looking for the perfect template, and started focusing on what kinds of notes are most helpful.
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