I love spring student led conferences. It’s what I affectionately like to call, ‘The Big Show’ because it takes us weeks to prepare and practice for the day. In addition to getting all our materials together (it’s a long extensive list of items, including work from the first day of school to compare against recent work and entire Goldilocks and the Three Bears setting and puppets for retelling), we have to psych up the little sprouts to share their work.
No doubt, they’re excitement and exuberance is bubbling at the surface, but we want to make sure they feel ready to do all the sharing independently… this takes practice, and lots of it. By the time the day actually arrived yesterday (both Monday and Tuesday they all came in asking, ‘Are the conferences today?’), we were more than ready.
We spent the day gathering all the hard work we’d prepared and then, like all good hosts do, cleaning our room so it looked the best it could for our guests. When, at the last minute, I tried to find a hiding place for our laundry basket of art shirts (as my mom says, I’m a ‘stacker’ and a ‘hider’ – my bedroom closet and underneath my bed were all ways busting at the seams as a kid…), Mrs. D. reminded me ours is a ‘working classroom’ and should look as such. Knowing our custodian wouldn’t have time to clean our room before conferences began, everyone pitched in to wipe, sweep, and tidy our room.
And then they began. It never ceases to make my shirt buttons bust with pride to watch little kindergartners bring their families in, take their hands, guide them to their seats, and just show off. That’s basically what our conferences are… Mrs. D. and I do very little. We walk around prompting, praising, and patting (as in heads), but that’s about it. We answer the occasional question, but really, this is a chance for our sprouts to show how far they’ve come since school began.
Everyone came. The few we weren’t sure about came. The mom who is on bed rest because she’s about to deliver any second came (I told her I had my cell and was prepared to call 911 if needed). Most of the families found childcare for siblings to they could give their kindergartner their undivided attention. I saw more smiles on children’s and parent’s faces than I could count. Our journey is winding closer to a finish and I couldn’t be more proud.