Some second graders at VES had the opportunity to use their voice at student-led conferences regarding an assessment of their work.
Teachers Missy Ricketts and Yvonne Sturdivant assisted second graders in their classrooms to assess their own work, assemble information and formulate a presentation regarding their work. Students, then, had to talk about their goals, accomplishments and short comings with their parents.
Students talked about their writing skills, not liking spelling, and behavior in class. One student said she likes to write but isn’t as good at it as she could be because she doesn’t care that much for learning to spell correctly. She talked about her goal to improve at spelling. However, she said, misspelling a few words doesn’t keep her from liking to write. Students also shared their journals and parents read their works.
The teachers sat on the sidelines during each slide presentation. Afterward, the parents and teachers discussed the process and the student’s abilities and needs.
The student led conferences, Ricketts said, gives the students a “voice,” as well as makes them accountable for their actions in the classroom.
We saw an opportunity to help them reach their goals by implementing student-led conferences, enabling students to be directly involved in their assessment process, Ricketts said. While second graders may appear young for making slides and “taking responsibility,” Ricketts said they are not.
“They are never too young to take responsibility for their actions,” she said. Also, she said, they are already learning technology at a young age and she and her fellow teachers are just taking it a step further. In addition, if a parent can not make it to the conference, Ricketts said, parents may log into their student's account and view the presentation online.
Typically, some parents may attend the conference without their child and discuss their child's performance with the teacher. However, Ricketts said, that is not always a good thing.
At times, what the parents hear at home, from their child, may be quite different from the picture painted from teachers' reports. Parents may then be in the difficult position of either believing their child or the teachers. This generally placed them and the teachers on the defensive, blocking open communication and better understanding.