This is our first writing conference of the year, so I will explain to the students how it works. I pull each of them back to the horseshoe table and let them explain their writing to me. For this conference in particular, I want them to show me which poem they are most proud of, and which poem they think might need a little bit more work. They need to look over their work and be prepared when they come to the table. I will pull the kids back and discuss the great things I observe in their writing and offer suggestions where they may need help. I have allotted 5 minutes per student (this will take 2 days) to conference with the students. Most of the year I hold writing conferences during our small group reading time (which we have 4 times per week) and I just meet with a couple of kids per day. With this project however, time is of the essence and I want to be sure to meet with every student in a timely manner. I may need longer than the 5 minutes with some students and with other students I may need less time. I try to adjust my time accordingly.
While I am conferencing with students individually, the rest of the students will be working on a first draft of illustrations. The book kits that are sent by studentreasures.com have glossy paper that requires water-based (Crayola or similar) markers. The marker smears very easily and it can turn the project into a mess very quickly. We have found that if the students have a plan for their illustrations in the book, they turn out much more nicely than if we let them create the illustrations on the book kit pages for the first time. So while I am conferencing individually with students, the rest of the class will be working on the first draft of their illustrations.