Conferring Walk Aways
I wrote this quote from Patrick in my notebook today, "I hope I'm building the capacity for my students to think independently without me there guiding them (p. 157)." AHA! We are strong readers who need to teach our students to become thinkers, readers and writers. Very few students can manage this on their own. I have always believed that my developing readers will eventually grow into stronger readers. I know I can do a better job of moving them on the reading continuum if I commit to conferring with them.
I really liked the transcripts that Patrick shared in this chapter, especially his thinking bubbles. These transcripts are the next best thing to being in his classroom (which would be a treat!). I saw the difference ways Patrick nudges one reader, Jacob, and listens intently to another reader, Mikayla. The "walk aways" I learned from this section are: 1) ask opened ended questions and listen to the answers with an open mind, 2) give nudges to readers ("conferring is teaching, not fault finding"), and 3) give children time to think. Many children will use think time to develop deeper ideas, when we give them the time!
Conferring Ain't Easy... but it's worth it!
This statement is catchy and true! It ain't easy to confer, but I think reading this book has made conferring
less of a mystery to me. I plan to start with building a strong culture of reading and responding in our notebooks during each session with my groups. We will build our stamina and our strategy learning s..l..o..w..l..y. We will take time at the beginning of the year really focus in on why we're working together and what we need to do. That hard work (if I can really stay focused!) will pay off during the year, as I confer with individual students.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around how this is all going to work in my little resource room, as I have 40 minutes of focused instruction time to respond to the different needs of each student. Thankfully, I've had the benefit of learning with all of my #cyberpd tweeps, and I hope we'll bring our classroom conferring experiences back to the discussion table throughout the year.
"We need to get back in the business of knowing children, of knowing readers...They need time to develop as readers with us sitting alongside them, nudging them over the hurdles and celebrating their successes" (Allen, p.181)
* * * *
Want to join in the Cyber PD? Check it out:
Part I: What Brings About a Good Conference, Anyway?
Hosted by Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine
Part II: What Are the Essential Components of Conferring?
Hosted by Jill Fisch at My Primary Passion
Part III. What Emerges from Our Reading Conferences?
Hosted by Laura Komos at Camp Read-A-Lot
Join us for the final conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #cyberPD.