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Hello Colleague! If you found your way to this site, you might have been looking for answers to some of the questions below. That's what we are hoping to provide. As teachers ourselves, we have created this site to share what we are learning and trying as we confer with our students.

NOTE: This software is in beta testing and will be free for use until January 2013. At that point, a subscription will likely cost $35/year or $4/month. If you don't have an account yet, you may do one of the following:

  • If your organization is already using this software, have your administrator create an account for you, OR
  • If not, click Log On in the upper right, then "Register" on the page that comes up. This will walk you through creating a new organization and an associated user.

What Is Conferring?

  • The individual conference between a teacher and student is a powerful teaching method that moves the student toward independence with skills and strategies as writers, readers and thinkers.
  • As vibrant reading and writing workshops are growing more prevalent in schools across the world, the act of conferring with individual students is becoming a common and essential practice. Across subjects, grade levels, teaching education resources and professional associations, conferring is finding its place among the most effective teaching methods to best differentiate for all learners.
  • A one-on-one conference typically lasts 3-5 minutes and is structured to best assure transfer of the learning into the student's independent work.
  • Most conferences include:
      A time to connect with the child and research what they are doing as a learner.
      A time to decide on and explicitly teach a specific strategy that the learner is ready to add to their repertoire.
      A time for the learner to practice that strategy with the teacher coaching as needed.
      A time to connect the conference to the student's further work, possibly setting a goal for the student until the next conference.

Why Should I Confer With My Students?

  • Conferring regularly with each student provides a structure to scaffold learning for the individual.
  • Best practices in education speak to the need to balance our instructional delivery models across whole class lessons, small group instruction and teaching students one-on-one.
  • Conferring is an example of formative assessment wherein the teacher assesses in the moment and adapts the instruction to meet the individual's need.

How Can An Online Tool Help Me Confer?

Currently, many educators utilize paper methods of record keeping during conferences. If you confer with your students you may be juggling your conference notes, sometimes collecting data by students, sometimes by class, sometimes by checklist. You may have tried several systems and are yet to find the perfect one. You may wish that you could have one easy place to keep and organize your notes. The Conferring Companion has been created for just such a purpose by providing things like:

  • immediate access to all instructional goals
  • view past conference data with a single click
  • at-a-glance potential teaching moves
  • guidance for group conferring
  • touch screen capabilities for speed and ease
  • sharing of instructional information with colleagues

The Conferring Companion was named as such because it is just that: a companion, a helper, a resource. It is not intended to replace educator judgment, but to inform it. YOU are the expert professional in your classroom, with the wisdom and experience to best guide your learners. The Conferring Companion was created to walk beside you and organize the information that you gather to help you better guide your instruction.

Suggested Further Reading

Conferring with Readers by Gravity Goldberg and Jennifer Serravallo
The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins
One to One: The Art of Conferring with Young Writers by Lucy Calkins, Amanda Harman and Zoe Ryder White
How's It Going by Carl Anderson
Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop by Patrick Allen