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How to Organize Student-Led Conferences

Use student-led conferences to help students recognize their achievements and next steps towards their learning goals.

Student-led conferences are a great format to use to help students showcase their learning and outline their next steps. Where I teach we do not use the traditional Parent-Teacher Interview format. Instead, we use the Student Led Conference format.

In this format, students prepare assessment materials that they are proud of and need to improve on. They share these materials with their parents and explain what their action plan is to improve in their self-selected areas of need.

Why Use Student-Led Conferences?

This format takes the pressure off the teacher to talk for fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes about the student and put the responsibility on the student to know themselves as a learner, and to be able to express their thoughts and opinions.

Use student-led conferences to help students recognize their achievements and next steps towards their learning goals.

How Do You Conduct Student-Led Conferences?

  1. Students search through their desks, binders, and locker to collect all of their assessment materials (success criteria, rubrics, feedback sheets, tests, and assignments).
  2. Students file this work into their assessment folders (I use a plain file folder).
  3. Students examine each piece of work in their folders and select 2 items to demonstrate their successes and 2 items for their next steps (depending on the number of subjects in your curriculum students might select more than 4 pieces).
  4. Students use reflection sheets to think critically and analyze their chosen pieces.
  5. After these reflection sheets, students use a Student Led Conference graphic organizer to, jot down their ideas about what they want to share with their families during the conference.
  6. Students rehearse showing their “parents” (other students) their assessment folders and explaining their thoughts about their progress thus far in the year.
  7. On the day of the conference, the students use the assessment folders and graphic organizers to explain to their parents their academic progress.
  8. During and after the conference the parents can ask their child or the teacher questions they may have about their child’s progress. I usually have very few questions because the students have outlined in detail their strengths and next steps.
  9. Once you have done this format for a few years, ask your principal if you can have multiple conferences going on at once in your classroom. You move from group to group saying with each family for about 5 minutes. The rest of the time the student is presenting their work to their family. This format is different from the traditional parent-teacher interview, but it works really well to help students take ownership of their learning.
  10. If you need a more detailed explanation of student-led conferences check out this article “Leaders of Their Own Learning: Chapter 5: Student-Led Conferences” from EL Education.

This student-led conference video outlines the rationale behind using this format and student examples.

Student Led Conference PDF Pre-Made Resource

Allow students to take ownership of their learning when they present this learning to their parents. Help prepare your Grade 6, 7 or 8 students for their Student Led Conference with this package of resources. Find this resource in my Shopify CAD store or my Teachers Pay Teachers USD store.

Student Led Conferences

Resource Includes:

  • Student-Led Conference teacher instructions
  • Goal setting sheets (Progress Report, Term 1, Term 2, Term 3, Term 4)
  • Learning skills self-reflection
  • Learning skills anchor charts
  • Portfolio evidence checklist for students (Public and Catholic school options)
  • Portfolio evidence reflection strips
  • Conference reminder sheets (parent/guardian contact form)
  • Conference reschedule sheets (parent/guardian contact form)
  • Conference outline for parents and students
  • Student-led conference graphic organizers
  • This Is Me Portfolio Cover Assignment (Art & Media Literacy Assessment)
  • A student-led conference reflection sheet
  • Progress report reflections graphic organizer for bulletin board display
  • Star student reflections for bulletin board display
  • Individual PDFs

Teacher Feedback

“Well organized and easy for students to follow. Student-led was a success this year because of this resource. Thank you for sharing.”

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