Writing Conferences


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This presentation includes research-based strategies and recommendations for conferring with students during Writing Workshop.

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  • This presentation includes research-based strategies for implementing writing conferences during writing workshop at the elementary level. This topic is important to me, because it is a personal weakness yet I believe that it can be a very effective way to help students grow as writers. In my district, teachers implement writing workshop on a daily basis. I feel very comfortable with following the structure of writing workshop and teaching students how to move through the stages of the writing process; however, I really struggle to consistently meet with students throughout the year to discuss their individual pieces.
  • Thestrategies and recommendations outlined in this presentation were gathered from a variety of scholarly articles. It was interesting to read about the importance of conferring with students. Writing conferences are important at all grade levels. Conferences enable teachers to meet students where they’re at and provide differentiated instruction for all learners.
  • The next five slides will provide research-based recommendations on how to effectively use writing conferences at the elementary level.
  • Writing conferences are the teacher’s main responsibility during writing workshop. I know this is what the research says, but my biggest concern is finding the time for this. Research suggests that teachers should make it a point to meet with each student at least once a week. It usually takes me at least two weeks to meet with every student. After reading about the importance of meeting with each student twice a week, I decided to put together strict conference schedule. I have to meet with three to four students each day in order to meet with each student every six-day cycle. During the conference, teachers should choose one important skill to focus on. Teachers should first evaluate content and then focus on mechanics. At the second grade level, we try to positively reinforce capitalization and punctuation and spend most of our time focusing on the content of student pieces (i.e. adding detail, strong opening/closing sentences, etc.). The ultimate goal of writing conferences is to guide students to draw conclusions about their own writing. It is important for students to be able to recognize their own errors and areas of weaknesses rather than always having an adult point it out to them. They will never be able to be critics of their own writing if teachers don’t give them the opportunity to have a voice. Conferences are a great way to provide students with an opportunity to draw conclusions about their own writing.
  • Conferences are the heart of writing workshop. They give students the opportunity to talk through their writing and better understand the steps in the writing process. Writing conferences enable students to share their intentions about their writing, which in turn, helps teachers understand their students as writers and plan for future instruction. Writing conferences are a way for teachers to build a positive relationship with students. Teachers need to ensure that students feel comfortable enough to make mistakes and talk about their writing. It is difficult for students to do this with the class. Once the teacher and students build a positive relationship, students become more comfortable. Teachers learn about students’ intentions and gain a deeper understanding of their students as writers. They can use conferences to identify individual strengths and weaknesses as well as class strengths and weaknesses. Conferences provide valuable information that can inform and guide instruction.
  • Conferences should be led by the students. Students should be given the opportunity to read their work aloud and ask questions. Remember, it is the students’ opportunity to have a voice. The teacher needs to let the student do the talking. Writing conferences should focus on individual writing skills. I always thought that conferences were most effective when held with one student at a time; however, the research suggests holding conferences with one to three students at a time. In order for these conferences to be effective, these groups should consist of students with similar weaknesses. Teachers must remember that this is not the time to point out every mistake that the child makes. Teachers should try to only focus on two or less weaknesses at a time to be sure not to overwhelm the student. Again, the ultimate goal is to guide students to become critical readers of their own writing. It is important that we are listeners and facilitators…not the leader of the conferences.
  • Since writing conferences enable teachers to meet individual student needs, it is important to consider what motivates students to write. Teachers working with younger students should focus on creative writing. At this age, it is important to instill a love for writing in each child. We need to let them write freely and find their own voices. Older students have a much better understanding of the writing process and who they are as writers. Those working with older students can start discussing writer’s voice and attitude when conferring with students. Teachers can start teaching students how to write from different perspectives and create argumentative pieces at the intermediate level.
  • This article discussed the link between teacher beliefs and instructional practices. Many teachers were consistent in their instruction they provided during writing workshop; however, their application of writing workshop varied. The teachers used different strategies for keeping students engaged, managing students during writing workshop, and providing instructional supports to meet individual student needs. Personally, this is exactly what it is like in my district. All of the teachers have been trained on how to implement writing workshop in the classroom, but each teacher uses his/her own strategies and instructional supports during writing workshop.
  • The research in this presentation was from five different articles. The photographs came from Flickr and Discovery Education.
  • The research in this presentation was from five different articles. The photographs came from Flickr and Discovery Education.
  • Writing Conferences

    1. 1. Writing Conferences Janelle Laub Strategies for implementing writing conferences in your classroom
    2. 2. Created by Janelle Laub 2nd Grade Teacher Mechanicsburg Area School District Based on research in the area of Writing Workshop
    3. 3. Review of the Literature What the research says
    4. 4. Improving Skills through Writing Conferences • Teacher’s main responsibility during Writing Workshop • Meet with each student once a week • Focus on one skill • Evaluate content then mechanics • Help students make conclusions about writing
    5. 5. The Functions of Talk Conferences… • are the heart of writing workshop • help students talk through their writing • help them better understand the process • allow students to share their intentions • help teachers understand students as writers
    6. 6. Improving Inadequate Writers Conferences should… • be student-led • focus on individual writing skills • be held with 1-3 students at a time • focus on two or less weaknesses • teach students to critically read writing
    7. 7. Transforming Young Writers’ Attitudes What motivates students? • Creative writing with younger students • Writer’s voice and attitude with older students
    8. 8. Linking Writing Instruction Practices & Beliefs • Link between teacher beliefs and instructional practices • Consistent in their instruction • Application of writing workshop varied
    9. 9. References Brown, M., Morrell, J., & Rowlands, K. D. (2011). Never more crucial: Transforming young wrtiers’ attitudes toward writing and becoming writers. California English, 17(2), 15-17. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED531021.pdf Christopher, N., Ewald, M., Giangrasso, S. (2000). Improving inadequate writers. (Master’s thesis, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois). Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED445343.pdf Cohen, S., Lin, S.C., Monroe, B., & Troia, G. A. (2011). A year in the writing workshop: Linking writing instruction practices and teachers’ epistemologies and beliefs about writing instruction. The Elementary Journal, 112(1), 155-182. Retrieved from http://emmerson.csc.wilkes.edu:2060/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=25&sid=271f08b6- 8117-4cf3-9c27-12afab54c438%40sessionmgr15&hid=9 Flickr. (2013). Writing santa. Image retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/10343926@N02/4151707061/in/photolist Flickr. (2013). US/LS Writing workshop. Image retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/37665914@N08/5225828409/in/photolist Flickr. (2013). US/LS Writing workshop. Image retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/37665914@N08/5226425264/in/photolist
    10. 10. References (continued) Flickr. (2013). Writing prompt. Image retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/46142663@N03/4307898742/in/photolist Flickr. (2013). Extra credit. Image retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/73645804@N00/1046033437/in/photolist Kolling, A. (2002). Improving student revising and editing skills through the use of peer editing and writing conferencing. (Master’s thesis, Saint Xavier University & IRI/Skylight Professional Development, Chicago, Illinois). Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED465189.pdf Laman, T. T. (2011). The functions of talk within a 4th-grade writing workshop: Insights into understanding. Journal of Research in Childhood Education. 25(2), 133-144. Retrieved from http://emmerson.csc.wilkes.edu:2060/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=8e5559f8-b694-4f77- a8fd-791d373e663a%40sessionmgr10&vid=6&hid=22