You Can Run, But You Can't Hide

11 September 2007

I had a short conference with every single one of my biology students yesterday. This is something that I would like to do at least once a week, although I'm not sure at this time if I can make it happen. I don't want this to be a year where there are kids who can "hide," either by not speaking up during class...or just by doing okay - good work and behavior, therefore calling no attention to themselves.

Our conversations were brief, as you might imagine. But even 20 - 30 seconds of eye contact and some personal attention is a start. Every kid got a bit of an "atta boy/girl" about something good that they'd written. Some kids who had questions, but didn't want to ask in front of the class were able to receive some one-on-one guidance. It felt really good.

Why haven't I done much of this before? I think part of it was not being clear in my own mind about what I wanted to see kids do in terms of a targeted standard, and another part has just been learning a few protocols and questioning techniques to make those brief conferences more meaningful for both parties. It isn't that in the past that I didn't help kids or generally circulate while students were working; it's just a simple change in priorities. I won't wait until they raise their hands. It's all out in the open: they need to see that I'm learning from them, too.



Blogger siobhan said...

I try to meet with all my students personally at least a couple of times a semester, usually before big assignments are due. I have a post here about it if you're interested:

I find the one-on-one contact, even for ten minutes, makes an enormous amount of difference.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Clix said...

Wow. What do you have the other students working on, and how do you monitor them??

4:26 AM  
Blogger The Science Goddess said...

They were all working on the same thing, but not at the same rate. So while some students were taking more time, I was able to conference with the ones who finished first. Those "early" students did some partner work to discuss their writing while I finished with my slower kids.

I will say that this was simpler in some classes than others---either due to size or students' attention spans. :)

4:54 AM  

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