How To Confer Like A Boss: Ironclad Active Engagement

Use these active engagement strategies during your workshop conferences

The active engagement of your conference gives students a chance to practice skills in a supportive environment while allowing you to gather data about each student. It is critical, and it's often shortened by teachers talking and coaching too much. Keep in mind that an active engagement shows up in mini-lessons too, so you can use these any time during the workshop block!

We all know the turn and talk, but have you tried some of these other ways to get kids practicing skills?

Turn & Talk

Ideal for: reader's and writer's workshop

Turning and talking gives your students a chance to do exactly that--stop and talk about what they are thinking with their partners. 

It can be even more powerful when you emphasize how important listening is. Can your students repeat what their partner said? Sprinkling this in to quickly debrief after a turn and talk is important.

Stop & Jot

Ideal for: reading comprehension and trying new writing strategies

Whether students are jotting what they are thinking about a book on a post-it or trying out the newest revision strategy you taught, you will get a chance to see how everyone is understanding the skill you just taught. 

Turn & Teach

Ideal for: behaviors in reader's and writer's workshop

This is pretty similar to a turn & talk, but I find it especially useful when teaching behaviors. If you just taught a strategy group on building stamina, now students should be teaching what that looks like to their partners. It gives students a chance to envision what good behaviors should look and sound like before going off and doing them.

Act It Out

Ideal for: reading comprehension and elaborating in writing

If partners are reading, they can act a scene out to build comprehension. If they are writing, they can pay attention to how they are acting things out and then add more details into their writing from what they just acted out.

Stop & Coach

Ideal for: fluency in reading, editing writing, and writer's workshop

Students can coach each other to read more smoothly, read with more expression, or read the punctuation.

Similarly, students can coach each other to edit. Rather than giving away all of the answers, students might ask questions like, "What punctuation could you add to make this sentence make more sense?"

Stop & Think

Ideal for: reader's and writer's workshop, especially reminding lessons, goal-setting, planning, or decoding/MSV work

I like that this gives everyone a chance to think at their own pace. I often follow these up with another form of active engagement like turning & talking or stopping & jotting.

If you've been sticking to one type of active engagement in your conferences or even your mini-lessons, try one out! Which one are you most interested in trying? Comment below!

By the way, if you bought my Editable Back To School Night Presentation, click here or on the picture below to re-download it. I added a watercolor succulent design option, and the pumpkin chalkboard option is still there too. Have you ever run your Back To School Night like a morning meeting? If not, I highly recommend checking out this product--you'll get your families actively engaged!!

Also, make sure to follow me on Instagram for more classroom inspiration if you're not already.

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