Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chapter 13 Reflection

Chapter 13
                The conference is something that I myself, as a teacher, find overwhelming about teaching writing to my students. I have read my students’ paper and I am overwhelmed by them. I am even more overwhelmed by their struggle to write. I am so ridiculously careful not to be harsh that I often times don’t say anything at all. This is not the way a good or decent teacher should teach writing and I would like to think that I fall into one of those categories. I have long understood that my students struggle with the school and learning environment, often times hating it and even being court ordered to attend. They have not had positive or successful experiences in the classroom and I don’t want to add to those negative learning experiences. The behavioral challenges are enough as it is. This does however bring up another challenge even “regular” teachers encounter…what do you do with the other students as you conference with one? I am open to suggestions.

                I like the idea of the Collin’s writing program where only one to a few things are focused on. This truly reduces teacher and student anxiety. I also found the idea of a 2 minute conference to be less daunting. This, too, would reduce teacher and student anxiety. I think it could also be used to build a positive rapport between students and teacher. Through this process you could be honest, specific and help guide the student in how to fix what ails their writing without being harsh or negative or further damaging to their school experiences.


  1. Erin, I agree with you. I often find myself avoiding the one-on-one conferences. When I do have them, I find I don't have them with everyone, for the same reasons you mention in your post. I did really like how Figure 13.2 on pg. 356 gives some specific suggestions for conference topics. My initial thought that was perhaps the student and /or teacher could select one or two of these topics, after reading the rough draft, to set a purpose for the conference.

  2. Erin, I am not a classroom teacher, but I agree with Brandy with keeping it limited to one or two topics to conference about. If possible, you could even let your students know what the topics will be before hand. Bethany

  3. I admire your care and concern for your students -- a special population. It might seem that there are "bigger fish to fry" than a comma out of place! From what I have heard you are off to a great start. I would suggest that you continue what you have been doing, celebrate small successes, and praise the quality of their ideas even when there are many errors in the writing. I have admired the approach of the author in a book I'm reading, "How's it Going?" It is all about the conferences he has with each student one on one. I don't know if I could do it. He somehow has the class trained that they are all working and know what to do, so that they aren't interupting him while he does that. I guess I would say, we have to start somewhere, so I'm trying to implement his approach a little at a time. I also wonder if we think we have to cover the entire writing with the student. What if we touch base with each student on one aspect of the writing, such as the lead? We know that kids LOVE individual attention. If we could find a way to occasionally touch base with each one, even for a short time to make positive, constructive comments on their writing -- I believe it's worth working toward that goal.