Having writing conferences with students allows them to talk about their writing and make it stronger. Today, I am going to share exactly how to perform and implement writing conferences to improve students’ writing.
This post is part of a writing series on teaching writing to upper elementary students. Read about more aspects of teaching writing here!
Why use writing conferences?
Writing conferences with students give you the opportunity to work with an individual or small group of students and discuss one aspect of writing. Writing conferences are not always the same as editing and revising. They are where you pick one aspect of writing, teach that aspect, and then allow the students to strengthen their writing using that information.
How do writing conferences look?
- Bring the small group of students up or just one individual student.
- Do a very quick mini lesson on the topic that you want to focus on. For example, if the writing conference focus was on the use of a topic sentence in an informational writing piece, you would review what a topic sentence is together. Then, you would create one or two topic sentences that are strong.
- Students read their writing to you or the group.
- Together you work on making that aspect of their writing piece stronger. So, if you are using the example above you would all be reading your topic sentences and then changing them and fixing them to make them stronger.
How often are you doing writing conferences?
When students are working on writing a masterpiece or a writing piece I would be doing the writing conferences daily. Pick one item you want to strengthen with your students and as they are working on their rough drafts you can be calling small groups up to work on that aspect of writing.
Use of Peer Writing Conferences
After you have done writing conferences with your students several times, they can start to do them without you.
For example, you could do a quick whole class lesson on closing sentences. Then, you can have peers get together and work on strengthening that part of their writing by conferencing together.
Grab an entire persuasive writing unit by putting your email below. Great writing conferences during this unit would focus on how to use reasons to persuade, interesting topic sentences, and what the difference is between reasons and examples.