Student led conferences promote student engagement in the learning process. In the fall students meet with their teacher and parent to identify specific goals that they hope to achieve over the course of the year. Once the goals are identified, students, parents and teachers develop a plan to make each goal attainable. This allows students to see the “path to success”. It also helps parents and teachers to calibrate their expectations, and target strategies that may be helpful both at school and home.As the year goes on, students revisit the goals to check-in on their progress. At times, students will realize they have already met a goal and will then have the opportunity to set a new goal. It is an opportunity for students to recognize their own growth, without relying on external praise. Students may also notice that they are making less progress toward a goal and will then implement new strategies to keep themselves moving forward. This builds metacognition among students.In the spring, students, parents and teachers come together again. Students talk about their growth over the year, and demonstrate their progress using work samples from their digital portfolios. Parents are often amazed at how articulate and confident their children are during this process. This conference is generally a celebratory time because student learning is so visible, but it is important to note that it is also a time when persistent areas of weakness can be identified and planned for moving forward. SeeSaw plays an invaluable role in this process. It allows students to document their growth over time. Students use photographs, videos, and voice recordings to document their learning. They write reflections on “benchmark” pieces over the course of the year, and they use their self-feedback to improve their progress as a learner. It brings learning experiences to life for parents and it serves as a digital portfolio of the year that students take with them when they leave.

October 19, 2018