One-on-one conferences have become a cornerstone in many language arts teachers’ elementary classrooms as an effective method to foster individualized student growth. But how do educators make conferences manageable, meaningful and student-driven in the secondary English classroom? In this practical, teacher-friendly text, we consider strategies for managing the logistics of conferencing with 100+ students, and moving the preparation, and direction of conferences from teacher to student. Readers will walk away with specific tools to create, develop, or revise their practice of conferencing leading to greater student ownership.
Anita Abraham has been a high school English teacher in NYC public schools for 15 years. She has presented at the National Council of Teachers of English and semi-finalist for the Big Apple Awards and recipient of the Fund for Teachers Fellowship. She lives on Long island with her husband and three children.
Amy Matthusen has been a high school English teacher in NYC public schools for 17 years. She presents regularly at the National Council of Teachers of English and has been published in English Journal. She has received teaching awards from the Fund for Teachers, The New Teacher Project, and the NYC Teaching Fellows, and has worked as a Coach for teachers with the National Math Science Initiative.
Foreword- Carl Anderson
Part I: Broader Context & Getting Started
Introduction- Christina Ponzio
Chapter 1: Building a Culture of Conferencing
Chapter 2: Getting Organized and Overcoming the Biggest Hurdles
Part II: Tools & Examples for Specific Types of Conferences
Chapter 3: Before Writing: Brainstorming and Outlining Conferences
Chapter 4: During Writing: Drafting Conferences
Chapter 5: Revision Conferences
Chapter 6: Reflective and Portfolio Conferences
Part III: Reflection
Chapter 7: Challenges, Time Constraints, and Next Steps
Conferencing with student writers can empower students to take ownership over their writing, target specific writing goals, and develop practices that will last beyond any given assignment or task. But conferring can be challenging in secondary classrooms, where teachers often work with over 100 students per day. In this book, Matthusen and Abraham offer a long-awaited resource for middle and high school teachers who are committed to holding writing conferences in realistic and sustainable ways. Packed with specific strategies and classroom examples, Conferencing in the Secondary Classroom is a necessary tool for implementing meaningful writing conferences across the school year.
Giving effective feedback is one of the most high-impact moves we can make as a teacher. In the English classroom, writing conferences can serve as the best way to give meaningful feedback that will move and empower our writers. But how to do conferences in the middle or high school classroom, when we see over one hundred students a week, and perhaps have never tried this kind of instructional practice? This book will show you the way. Matthusen and Abraham give specific, practical, and authentic guidance so writing conferences are doable and they make a difference in every writer's growth. The authors are public school teachers who speak from experience. They break down all the steps in creating a strong classroom culture for conferring, getting organized, understanding different kinds of conferences, and trouble-shooting along the way. This book shows us how to increase all writer's skills, confidence, and independence so their writing identities thrive. What could be more important as we send them off to be citizens of the world, their voices ready to be heard by the world?
Conferencing is an absolute must-make move of guided inquiry and cognitive apprenticeship approaches to teaching and learning, which is the most powerful way to teach if we care about each student actualizing her full potential, to achieving equity, to teaching in culturally and personally responsive ways. In this book, you’ll be apprenticed into the use of conferences by two great-hearted teachers speaking from the authority of their expansive experience. They know the pitfalls and the productive struggles. And through it they’ve developed tools that make conferencing work for teachers and learners. What’s in it for you? Empowered teaching and deeper and more joyful learning in a culture of deeply interpersonal engagement. I highly recommend this book as a must-make read!