In this section, Patrick Allen talks about walk-aways or the things he wants his students to have as they walk away from a conference. So for this final post on Conferring, I think I will share my walk-aways from reading this book and participating in this blog book chat.
- First and foremost, I need to decide what notes I want to take at each conference so that I can spend my time listening to a student during a conference rather than thinking about what notes I might take.
- I am currently doing a modified type of guided reading group with my students. After a book introduction and/or a quick lesson I move around the table to read with each student. I have been making these quick reading times with the students have more of a conference feel than a guided reading feel and I want to continue and improve upon that. I am not sure which of Patrick's categories this fits under - Capital G Guided Reading or small g guided reading. It may be closer to small g guided reading. This will be in addition to my regular conferring during independent reading.
- I have been experimenting with Evernote on the iPad and think that I might be able to use that for my notes. I will need some additional type of form to keep track of when and how often I confer with each student but that can be in Evernote, too.
- I want to remember to leave my students with a walk-away of their own after each conference. The few times that a student and I have been very explicit about their new plan or goal, it has been very successful. First graders love to try new things and they are open to suggestions from me. I need to end each conference with a "P" - plan, progress or purpose. I need to make sure this is in my notes so I can follow up with the student later.
- It is important to keep in mind that "laughter is a natural sign of inferring". (p. 167)
- So many of the "Conferring Ain't Easy" premises struck me and are things that I need to keep at the front of my mind as I confer. These include: Conferring is Teaching, Not Fault Finding, Shut Up and Listen, Nudge Thinking Deeper, My Knees Are Killing Me and You Need a Mint. The first three are the ones that will help me change the substance of my conferences while the last two will help me make conferring more comfortable for everyone involved.