11 September 2007

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide

I had a short conference with every single one of my biology students yesterday. This is something that I would like to do at least once a week, although I'm not sure at this time if I can make it happen. I don't want this to be a year where there are kids who can "hide," either by not speaking up during class...or just by doing okay - good work and behavior, therefore calling no attention to themselves.

Our conversations were brief, as you might imagine. But even 20 - 30 seconds of eye contact and some personal attention is a start. Every kid got a bit of an "atta boy/girl" about something good that they'd written. Some kids who had questions, but didn't want to ask in front of the class were able to receive some one-on-one guidance. It felt really good.

Why haven't I done much of this before? I think part of it was not being clear in my own mind about what I wanted to see kids do in terms of a targeted standard, and another part has just been learning a few protocols and questioning techniques to make those brief conferences more meaningful for both parties. It isn't that in the past that I didn't help kids or generally circulate while students were working; it's just a simple change in priorities. I won't wait until they raise their hands. It's all out in the open: they need to see that I'm learning from them, too.

3 comments:

siobhan said...

I try to meet with all my students personally at least a couple of times a semester, usually before big assignments are due. I have a post here about it if you're interested:

http://siobhancurious.wordpress.com/2007/08/11/the-root-of-all-evil/

I find the one-on-one contact, even for ten minutes, makes an enormous amount of difference.

Clix said...

Wow. What do you have the other students working on, and how do you monitor them??

The Science Goddess said...

They were all working on the same thing, but not at the same rate. So while some students were taking more time, I was able to conference with the ones who finished first. Those "early" students did some partner work to discuss their writing while I finished with my slower kids.

I will say that this was simpler in some classes than others---either due to size or students' attention spans. :)