Writing Conferences Made Easy!

Once upon a time, I wasn't really a huge fan of writing conferences. To be completely honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew that they were important and what part of my writing block to do them, but I really didn't know what to do! It's not like I had this amazing class in college that taught me how to confer with my students during Writer's Workshop.
Even though I'm still not a professional, I feel that over my ten years of teaching I definitely got better at conferring with my students about their writing! I actually fell in love with writing conferences and getting to watch my little writers grow throughout the year! Here are three tips to {hopefully} help make writing conferences a little bit easier for you!
One of the most beneficial tools for me for my writing conferences was my Writing Binder. It kept everything in one place-from my anecdotal notes, to my lesson plans, to writing rubrics.

My binder also had a separate section for each student. This really allowed me to keep up with
the habits and goals my students had throughout the entire year, and for each writing focus. It also made report card comments and parent-teacher conferences a lot easier!

Having a designated form to complete during my conferences helped keep all my notes accurate. I would try writing things on sticky notes or index cards, but it helped so much to have an actual form to keep in my binder. I kept extra forms in front of all my student dividers so they were easily accessible!

One of the hardest things for me at the beginning of my career was knowing exactly WHAT to help my students with during our conferences and HOW to make sure they knew not only what they were doing well, but what they needed to work on. I would write different things on their papers or in their notebooks. I tried using sticky notes, but they would end up getting lost in their notebooks. I also tried drawing little pictures for my littlest writers to really understand what they needed to work on. None of these things worked extremely well for me, so I was so excited to finally start using Conference Companions!

These writing strategies work best for students in Kindergarten through second grade. They can easily be printed on address labels, so you'll always have them at your fingertips! Each strategy features a visual and a statement for students to easily recognize their habits and goals. They can be used on a Habits and Goals sheet, your students writing notebooks, or their writing folder. And, the best part- they won't be falling out!

It really is that simple. Even if things don't go as planned, it's so important to have a plan. At least some type of plan for your students and/or groups. Whether it's WHAT students you are planning on working with each day, or what you want to focus on throughout the week, make a plan! I also kept these plans in my writing binder

In my classroom I usually completed drive-by conferences with my students. These conferences were ways that I could work with individual students and check-in with them on what they were working on. I tried to plan out who I would meet with each day so that I made sure to meet with ALL students throughout the week. I wouldn't necessarily be able to plan exactly what I was going to be working on with the students, but I knew who I wanted to work with each day. 

For me, it was easier to plan out my writing groups. I would use previous writing pieces to guide my writing groups and their focus. Writing everything down on a planning form helped keep me make sure I was meeting with all my students and focusing on what they needed! 

I hope these tips help your writing conferences become easier and help your writers flourish! 

If you are interested in the resources I use, click on the images below!

Want to save these ideas for later? Pin the image below! 


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