When you write a story, poem, or informational text from scratch, what all happens? It’s more than you probably think. First, you probably brainstorm, from there you plan and research, then you start drafting. Once you start writing there’s, even more, to think about. It makes sense that for students, writing can be quite a challenge. A great way to help students through the writing process, teachers can use writing conferences to individual and differentiate the writing instruction. When doing a writing conference, you’ll want to follow a few simple tips to make sure it is meaningful.
What are Writing Conferences?
Before we get into how to make a writing conference meaningful, let’s talk about what a writing conference is. A writing conference is an opportunity for the teacher to show the student what they are capable of doing by asking important questions. During a writing conference, you will talk about the writing process, the writing rubric, as well as any other areas of concern. Remember your goal: show the student what they can do and push them to their full potential. They are a key component to your Writers Workshop!
Tip 1: Identify a Purpose
Anytime you are going through the writing process with students, you want to make sure you are identifying the purpose of writing for the day. You can do this by introducing the rubric first and working on each section of the rubric. For example, if you’re working on writing a great introduction, talk about what the rubric says an introduction needs and work on that.
Tip 2: Be Positive
When you sit down to work with your students, make sure to maintain a positive outlook throughout the writing conference. While you want to make sure you are productive and honest, you also want to point out what the student is doing well. These positive comments should be direct and precise throughout the conference.
Tip 3: Emphasize the Writing Process
With everything, there is a process. Writing is no different! During a writing conference, bring in the pre-work and the steps of the process along with you. if you see a student is struggling with a particular part of their paper, you can encourage them to have their graphic organizer, outline, or any other resource available to help them. When you emphasize the process, you teach students the purpose of the tools you created throughout this particular project.
Tip 4: Set a Goal
Whenever you are starting or ending a writing conference, you want to make sure you talk about a past goal and set a new one. Leaving students with something to work towards is vital to the success of their writing project. These goals should always be attainable yet challenging enough to push them to the next level.
Tip 5: Stay Organized
Help your student stay organized by having writing folders. These should be easy to access so you can use them in your learning centers, during group work, or during independent work time. Whenever you have everything together for your students and you expect them to keep it all in one place, you’ll find more success.
Writing conferences can be a blessing to teachers and to students. When you get a chance to sit down one-on-one and differentiate instruction, you help all students become stronger writers.