The school district that I teach in uses student-led conferences as a way of show-casing student work and achievement with families. Our students get to present their work, their learning and their classrooms to their families. It is run by students after a week of practicing and prepping for the big day. We spend a lot of time preparing student portfolios for student-led conferences. It takes a lot of preparation ahead of time by the teacher. I love spending the time to get things ready because it gives me the opportunity to reflect on how far each of my students has come during the year. This post guided you through creating portfolios, setting them up, and preparing for student-led conferences.
My favourite way to display student work is in a work portfolio. I prepare these at the beginning of the year and add to them throughout the year so they are ready to go for the conferences. I select and put aside work pieces that the kiddos worked especially hard on, as well as a few great pieces of artwork. I keep their samples set-aside by month and later file them in a tub that is separated by name.
Before conference time, I put together their portfolios by stapling and gluing in their work samples. I also made this cute cover page for them to write their names (in fancy writing or block letters) and to color before I glued them on the cover.
**HOW-TO MAKE A PORTFOLIO**
1. I cut a large piece of bristol board in half to make a front and back (each piece should be 14″ x 22″).
2. I cut large pieces of construction paper into 13″ x 21″ pieces. I like to have 2 pieces of paper for each month of the school year (20 pieces of paper). I like to use black paper because it makes for a nice backdrop, but you could use any colors.
3. I bind them together with a ring. If you do not have a binding machine, you could staple it together with a heavy duty stapler.
4. You are now ready to add student work! Once it’s been bound together, it is easy to open and flip to the next page. There is room for 1 or 2 things on each large page.
I have created this simple writing paper for my students to use and they always turn out great. I will also add a photograph of them at school to go next to their writing.
**STUDENT-LED CONFERENCE PREPARATION**
The week of the conferences is focused on preparations. We practice and prepare what our families will see. We complete a reflection and goal sheet and a student-self assessment.
1. Reflection Sheet
This is usually surprisingly hard for them as young children live in the NOW and often forget what they’ve already done. Reminders are necessary!
I wish for them to share things they are good at. I boast about how they have learned to READ and WRITE and ADD and SUBTRACT!
I get them to share their favorite part of school.
They also need to come up with a goal for the rest of the year.
Finally, I request a “powerful” picture that will “WOW” our families that is neat with lots of details and careful coloring. We hang these up on our “WOW Work” board for families to see.
2. Student Self-Assessment
We sit together at the carpet with a clipboard, pencil and eraser in hand. I explain that I need them to be honest about their answers and to think about themselves personally, but not too critically. I tell them it is okay to not get all smiley faces and that no one is perfect. That there are things that everyone works.
We go one question at a time, reading the questions and coloring in the faces to show if they do something all the time, some of the time, or needs work. It’s nice to see how honest my students are about their strengths and areas to work on.
3. Conference Practice
4. Classroom Preparation
**STUDENT-LED CONFERENCE FREEBIES**
I would love to hear how you have students share their learning with their families.
Do you use student-led conferences at your school to showcase student work?
How does your school share student work and achievement with families?