Today has been busy, but it’s a good kind of busy. The conference has gotten off to a great start. I presented at ten this morning and then attended some wonderful sessions. One session on conferencing with writers was led by Kelly Boswell and she validated a lot of my thinking about how to interact with my young writers. Ms. Boswell reminded us that “your words are either bullets or bricks.” We as teachers have an incredible amount of power with the words that we use when working with our student writers and that is something that we cannot forget.
Ms. Boswell also encouraged us to remember that coaching writers requires listening so that the students are doing most of the talking. She illustrated the power of listening by presenting us with a typed copy of a student’s piece of writing and read it aloud. After reading this piece and identifying all of the good things that the author did, she showed us the original draft in the student’s handwriting. Spelling errors and handwriting issues would have distracted from the message of the piece and all of the positive things that the student was able to demonstrate. If we let our students read their work to us first, we will not get bogged down by trying to address all of the errors that will jump out at us when they are right in front of us.
I left this session with a lot to think about when considering how I conference with students. I am so glad that I chose this session!