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Mrs. English

I am a big believer in student conferences, though I'm also a big commenter as well. I haven't required students to meet with me for brief conferences during writing workshops for their drafts, but I'm going to start requiring it. It really helps them to be able to talk about their topic and what they see as their challenges. I try to remain in responsive mode and resist giving suggestions of "what I would do." Sometimes that's a challenge in itself!


Sometimes in a conference, I will tell a student, "I'm going to read your paper to you. I'm going to read exactly what is on the page so that you can make sure that what you wrote is what you meant." When I read, I pronounce their spellings, follow their punctuation exactly. The student hears errors that would go right by without hte oral reading. They are quick to fix mistakes that they hear. This is especially effective with auditory leaners.

I can also ask questions about the parts that don't always connect so that they can see how to explain more thoroughly or more clearly for the reader.

One other thing that has been helpful for students in "hearing" their grammatical mistakes is a PVC elbow. We call it our "editing phone"...it looks like a big piece of elbow macaroni. The kids read their writing into the phone (which allows them to read it over to themselves before bringing it to a peer or teacher) and it's amazing how much their ears pick up errors that their eyes did not see! They are available in the plumbing section of any hardware store or Home Depot, usually for less than 2 dollars each!

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