Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Analyzing Model Conferences- Read, Code, Make Meaning, Reflect

Are you looking to refine your conferring skills? Often we wonder, How can I improve my craft? What can I do to empower my students and help them understand at deeper levels? I recommend starting by Reading, Coding, Making Meaning, and Reflecting on your own practices. 
What's similar? What's different? What can I do to improve? Then NAME that next step. 

Below are three teachers' (from Primary and Intermediate classrooms) conferring notes for individual conferences with students during reading workshop.

1) Begin by noticing the flow of the conference- What are the main parts of it?
 Is there a routine that you could follow?

2)    2)  Now, take a minute to dig a little deeper to notice the more thoughtful and intentional components of the routine:                 
§  highlight thinking strategy language
§  Put a ? when the teacher probes with a question so the child will dig deeper
§  Put a P when the teacher paraphrases (repeats back (in slightly different words) to the reader what he/she said)
§  Box out compliments and positive feedback

3)    Mark the text with all other noticings.
*These transcriptions contain ONLY the Teacher’s part of the conference. When you see a ________ it means that the teacher finished the sentence with specifics. Know that for every question the student did reply with an answer.

Classroom A-  GQ- How does asking and answering questions help you understand economics? 
Conference #1
How’s it going?
Why did you write _____ right here? (child explained verbally)
Instead of just writing “Right!” can you expand on it- like you just did?
So, what is your goal?
Thank you for working so hard and setting the goal of ______.
Do you need anything else from me?

Conference #2
Can I interrupt?
How’s it going? Have you had any questions? (strategy of focus)
I’m not clear about _____. (names and notices part the student coded)
Do you have an answer?
So, what could you do?
So that means next time I come to you, I’m going to expect to see (names instructional focus and what the child said they would do)_.
Where you think you’ll write these questions and answers?

Classroom B: GQ- How do schools from the 1700s compare to schools today?

Conference #1
Check in:
How’s it going?
That’s great I’ll look for (names student’s noticing).

Conference #2
Tell me how it’s going with your visualization?
Why do you think that?
Where did you get all of this great information about (names specific point)?
So, you took information form the text? (paraphrase, restate)
What I really like is you did what good readers do- you merged your schema with your reading to understand ________. (student shares more)
So you connected it to____.
You did this really great visualizing…
How will your visualizing help you answer this question (points)?
I love the way you’ve used your thinking language_____ (names it).
I like the way you showed how different life was for the colonial students.
What are you going to do when I come back?
What do you mean?
Can you give me an example?
What would you do then?
I love that idea. What I hear you saying is_____.
You’re going to ___restates goal____.

Conference #3
Wow! You’ve done a lot of thinking!
I noticed that you _____________.
Why did you do that?
What else did you do? (student’s name), think of  (points to the students visualization)___. How is this compare going to help you?
I love the way you ________.
What will be your next step?
As a thinker, how would it help you get more information?
What about this? (points)
So, when I come back I’ll see (rephrases student’s goal).

Conference #4
How’s it going? Want to tell me a bit about your visualization (points to it)?
I love the (points to part.) You bring information from the text into the visualization.
Where did you get your information for school today?
I have a question- What’s this? (points).
How do you know that? (child explains)
Oh, so you made a Text to Text connection. (she names thinking)
Why did you draw these two pictures?
Tell me about this (points). (child names and tells it’s an inference)
So you can make an inference? (restates student’s ideas & names thinking)
I like the detail you put in. What are these things? (Points)
I noticed you picked (names) Why? (share’s details and that it’s an impt. idea)
So, you think that’s an important idea?(restates student’s ideas; names thinking) Why?
I love (names specific). What would you want your next step to be? 
If you were to add deeper thinking, what would you do?
What you’re saying is ____(names student's plan).
When I come back I’ll expect to see _____.

 Classroom C: GQ- How can visualizing help us understand the story?

Conference #1
How’s it going?
The last time we met you were working on______.
How do you say that word when you’re exact?
What about when you’ve already seen it? (child sees the same word they just sounded out)
Can you visualize (character’s name)? We figured out or inferred that he (the character) was scared through the pictures.
(stumbles on a word) Pick the word that sounds right to you.
What will you do the next time you read this word?
Read a bit more. Ok, so what will you do when you come to a word you don’t know and I am not here?
Great! You said you would use the beginning letter sound and the pictures to help you. Plus, you’ll make sure it’s a real word you know. Great job.

Conference #2
How’s it going?
What kind of book is this?
Great, you think you’ve chosen a just right book. Last time we met, you were working on uncovering a word that you didn’t know so you could sound it out.
Can you read a bit to me?
Oh, I noticed that you stopped at this word (points) What strategy will you do to figure it out?
 As you uncover the letters what sound do you need to make?
When you were reading that word, how did you know which sound to make?
Yes! You know that the letter b makes the /b/ sound.  What will you do to figure out the rest of the word?
Uncovering the word is a strategy that good readers do. What sounds will you make next? How did you know that is the word?
Now that you know that word, how does it help you to visualize the story?
What do you see in the movie in your mind?
What does that help you to understand?
Oh, so knowing the word bark helps you to see the trees in the woods. You’re seeing the ??
Yes, the setting! Great job. So as you continue to read, you will want to keep uncovering words you don’t know and making sure they are real words. That way you can visualize-make that movie in your mind- so you’re sure that you understand the story.
I can’t wait to come back to you and watch you use your reading strategies!

I think it takes a lifetime to perfect this art! I am certainly still working on it,  myself. There are plenty of books and resources to read, colleagues to observe, and video footage to take and use for reflection!  Let me know if you want to work through this journey together. :)

Favorite Resources:
 ref=sib_dp_pt.jpgref=sib_dp_pt.jpgCHIT- CHAT model (see archived post)
                                                                                                                                       Flip Cam Footage

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