Chapter 13 discussed a very important topic, communicating with students. I think many teachers tend to forget the impact they can have on a student with only writing or speaking a few words or the lack there of. Even now, I can't wait to see what a professor thought about a paper I have turned in. Waiting for an assignment to be returned can be torture, especially if the assignment is returned late. Also, a grade with no comments at all can be equally frustrating. With that said, I have been guilty of leaving only a few words when I have been rushed to return journals to my students. I try not to write negative comments, but instead I will write, "come see me".
Negative comments can stay with students for a long long time. I can remember my 6th grade teacher being frustrated with me for not understanding how to complete a writing assignment. Compounded with the fact that I was extremely shy and soft spoken annoyed her even more, because I did not ask for help when I should have. Previously, she had taught my sister, who was very outgoing and honestly tended to pick things up academically faster in those days. She seemed to be rushed and finally barked out something about how I would never go to college and it didn't matter anyway. For the rest of my life, I will never forget that experience and it is what I remember the most about that teacher. While going for my undergrad in education, I used her as an example of what a teacher should not be like.
The chapter also pointed out that teacher comments, especially when they are very vague, can be misunderstood. Positive comments can actually be taken in a completely negative way. I think the example on page 354, 13.1, involving what a kindergarten student enjoyed about the school year is excellent.
I love the two minute conference idea as well as the conference topic suggestions. Conferencing with students about their writing is definitely something I need to do more of in the library. The two minutes conference will give me a way to do it, but I still think I may struggle. I will not be able to conference with every student on every writing assignment, as I only see them once a week for about 40 minutes. That does include book checkout time. Peer response groups may also be another way I can go to save time, but I also must model it correctly and define the student roles clearly!
Parent involvement with reading and writing is always a good idea and I like how the chapter encourages parents to read and listen to their children. A parent writing with their children is probably not as often practiced, but something parents should still do. Teachers can help guide these experiences by sending home good examples and suggestions for writing at home. Maybe this could even be a topic for open house or parent teacher conference night.