A Simple Way to Boost Your Conferring


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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:

About Me:

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.


About Seana:

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.


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