Educator Resource: Have Students Lead Their Conference!

Khan Lab School
April 22, 2021 / 5 mins read

Try This is a series of blog posts geared towards educators that features smart but simple tips from KLS teachers. Our hope is that these bite-size ideas are something you can implement in your own classroom right away. We'd love to hear how it goes. Leave a comment or tag us on social media @khanlabschool if you try any of these strategies!

Allowing space for each student to have voice and choice in their learning is key to the KLS model. One specific way we encourage students to take ownership of their education is by having students lead family conferences threetimes each year.

Instead of doing the typical parent-teacher conferences, students are the main presenters at these meetings. Teachers lead students through reflection activities during the weeks leading up to these conferences. KLS students of all ages prepare slide decks thatshowcase their growth over the last term, with presentations becoming more in-depth as students get older.

We recentlyfinished our Spring 2021 conferences and thought it might be helpful to share out the templates we use to help students prepare their student-led conference presentations.

As you might imagine, the younger students start with simple and specific template slides. See an example of the slides they used this spring here, and make a copy to edit for your students by clicking here. This template is likely to be most useful for traditional K-1 students.

You'll see that the IL1Math Specialist Julia Doscherhad students demonstrate mastery of a specific time-telling skillon the math slides. IL1 ELA Specialist Sharifa Khan helped students upload an exampleof a recent opinion writing assignment in this presentation. Of course, you can edit the slides to match your class content and encourage students to show offtheir favorite recent assignments in this presentation.

If you teach a second grade or third grade class, our IL2 student-led conference template might be a betterstarting place. Click here to see the presentation, or go here to make an editable copy of the presentation to use in your own classroom.You'll notice that this presentation is less specific than the IL1 templates, but IL2 advisors still spend a lot of time in class going over examples of what finished student-led conference presentations should include.

For example, my ELA 3 class spent twodays working on the presentations in class, and then spent a day reviewing classmates' presentations and giving each other kind but helpfulfeedback. I also reviewed each student's presentation. IL2 students then revisedtheir presentations based on the feedback they received and practiced using confident speaking with their presentationsone final time in small groups. I generally reserveabout a week of ELA class timefor students to prepare and practice their student-led conference presentations. We don't spend ourentire ELA block that week on student-led conferences, but students will spend a few minutes working on it each day. This helps them practice their writing, feedback, revision, and speaking skills so they feel prepared to present to their parents.

If you're working with fourth or fifth grade students, you might want to look at the template our IL3 group used. You can see an example of the slides here, and make a copy to edit for your own class here. IL3 Advisors reviewthe instructions and examples with their advisees. Since most IL3 students are familiar with the student-led conference process, they're able to completethe highlighted sections independently.

As you might guess, our HighSchool students are even more independent when it comes to preparing for their student-led conference.

See an example of the reflection guide they use to prepare for their conferences here, and make an editable copy for your own use here.