I started videotaping my individual conferences this week.
No fancy camera with a tripod or person behind the lens, just the video recorder on my phone. I sat down next to Seana, a second grader, propped my phone up on a book, pushed Play, and nervously conferred with Seana. Nervously because I knew someone was going to watch it: me. Just knowing I was going to see and hear all my words—steps and missteps—made me nervous. I continued because I want to get better at conferring. I want to see the nuances that I may not otherwise see in those quick moments we have together. I want to watch my actions, my words, my questions, my teaching. I want to be able to slow down time, reflect on the path I took in the conference, and think about alternative paths to take in the future.
I am not taping every conference at this time, and I am not sure I ever will. For now I am choosing one child at a time to focus more deeply on.
If you are interested in working on your conferring, may I suggest you try using your camera too? Choose one or two students and start reflecting. See below if you are interested in the video I took and the learning that resulted.
Here are my takeaways:
I didn’t know her well, so I felt like I was stumbling with words and where to go. She was not bothered by that, and she continued to show what she knew.
By stepping back and watching this video, I was able to think through next steps, pull out the assessment and review the conference with that in mind. It helped me realize that she understands this strategy.
Seana understands author's purpose, gives examples from the text, and thinks like an author. I looked at the assessment for author’s purpose and I would give her a 4. She was able to identify and give evidence.
I will work with her 2–3 more times on authors purpose and see if she continues to understand and use the strategy and get a 3 or 4 on the rubric. I think the next strategy could be main idea, since she talked about that in the beginning of the video.