Guided Math Book Study: Chapter 7

"In many ways, conferring is the heart and soul of teaching.  As we confer with students, we sit alongside them at their levels and listen intently to their words, trying to follow their reasoning and probing to determine the extent of their understanding." (p. 207)  This chapter was extremely powerful for me.  A few weeks ago I went to a Balanced Literacy training where Dr. Gravity Goldberg was one of the keynote speakers.  After hearing her speak, I picked up her book Conferring with Readers.
This book was perfect to read along with this chapter!  Sammons uses the structure of conferences that was originally outlined by Lucy Calkins: research, decide, teach, link.
  • Research: talk to students, listen to their explanations, see what they can almost do independently; find out what the student can do and where their understandings and possible misconceptions lie; observe
  • Decide: reflect on the research, identify what students can do well and give them a specific compliment; choose a teaching point
  • Teach: pick a method to teach the teaching point (guided practice, demonstration, explaining and showing an example)
  • Link: help the student see how they can use the strategy in the future
Once you've conferred with a student, be sure to use the data to drive your future instruction.  To do this, you need to keep good records of your conferences and analyze any patterns you see.

One of the things that prevented me from conferring with students as often as I would have liked was a lack of Workshop management and a lack of an idea of how to effectively confer.  I would often work with students individually to help move them from their current understanding to a higher level, however I did not have a tool to record and later analyze this.
To help improve in this area, I created a Conferring Notes organizational pack:

I am very excited about this pack because it includes PDF and editable forms, as well as labels that can be used during small group work!  There are forms for individual student conferences where you can list the compliments and teaching points; forms for unit/skill/standard goals; forms for class analysis and at a glance; and forms to record when you met with individual students.  I've also included labels for math and literacy that you can use during small group instruction:

My goal with this is to create a conferring binder where I house all of this information.  I'm thinking of getting 1 binder then using different colored paper for math, reading, and writing notes.  That way all of my forms for each child are in one place and it's easy to analyze the data!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments

Back to Top