Student Led Conferences

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Students will identify areas of physics content proficiency and areas of growth as background information for upcoming student-parent-teacher conferences.

Big Idea

Student-driven goals lead to engaged students who share authority over their learning outcomes in physics.

Setting the Stage

5 minutes

The goal of this lesson is to help students learn that setting and evaluating progress toward a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (S.M.A.R.T.) goal is an essential skill for learning physics. This lesson addresses the W.11-12.4 and SL.11-12.1b  standards as a way for students to effectively evaluate current progress toward proficiency in basic physics concepts. This lesson also addresses the Cross Cutting Concept of patterns by asking students to use empirical evidence of their current understanding of the standards from this unit to explain their current physics understanding to their parents during a student-led conference. 

Student Led Conferences are a part of my school's culture. Each marking period we encourage students to identify points of strength, areas of potential growth and ways to bridge the gap between them. Students begin this lesson by looking back in their notebooks at the S.M.A.R.T. goals from a previous lesson. Then students assess themselves and create a summary of the class content and skills they have acquired in physics so far this semester. Next, students check-in with their peers to determine ways to support their table mates. Finally, I wrap up the lesson by asking students to create a summary sheet to guide their parents through a conference where students lead a discussion on their current understanding of physics concepts.

I believe in the Jhumki Basu assertion that students who share authority are more engaged and more likely to reach and exceed learning objectives if they help craft their educational path. Dr. Sreyashi Jhumki Basu was an alumni of Columbia University's Teacher College and professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education and Culture. While she was alive, Dr. Basu championed the idea that students who share authority over the delivery and context of scientific content internalize scientific content in a manner that is transformative to learning communities. This is related to (SP1) because students ask themselves questions on how to reach their physics content-specific goals.

Goals Check In

30 minutes

As students enter the room I ask them to find their S.M.A.R.T. Goals from the first part of the semester and to read them silently. I choose this type of Warm-Up activity because I want students to have a starting point of their own making for their student-led conferences. After 5 minutes have elapsed, I distribute progress reports that I generated using our digital standards-based grade book and a Goals Check In Physics. Students complete them based on their mastery of standards and areas of proficiency. Click here to see an example of student work. 

After students summarize their proficiency on three standards of their choice I ask them to rate themselves on a 5.0 scale from "Not Yet Ready" to "Highly Proficient" on the habits of work and mind of punctuality, collaboration and independent work ethic. I choose these habits of work and mind because I want students to have a way to quantify the connection between these habits and their ability to attain their goals. I then ask students to identify and write down some ways to improve their proficiency levels and provide them with some helpful hints that they might want to try in case they do not have any ideas of their own. I add the helpful hints section because I want students to know that there is always room for growth in understanding regardless of their proficiency at any given point in their learning process.


10 minutes

After collecting student goals check-in sheets, I distribute a Student-Led Conference (SLC) Packet. I ask students to create a summary of our semester so far making sure to highlight the major projects and understanding goals. To wrap up, I have students identify ways to improve their overall proficiency and our interactions with each other for the next marking period. Students add this information to the SLC packet which I will collect at the beginning of the next class. After students complete both the SLC packets and goals check-in sheets, I deliver them to the students' advisors so that students will have them for parent/teacher conferences at the end of the week.