CorePlanner Blog


Tips for Conferencing with Students

Conferencing one-on-one with students can be an extremely effective way to differentiate instruction and address needs unique to specific students. For conferencing to be effective, you’ll need to establish some routines and guidelines. Here are a few I’ve seen work:

1. Give the rest of the class work they can do independently and with which they have practice. If the other students are raising their hands during your conference, it won’t be effective or focused. Practice independent work before you begin conferencing so that the rest of the class knows what the expectations for independent work are. Give them a checklist for times when they have questions. That checklist might say: step 1: ask a shoulder partner; step 2: write the question on a post-it, step 3: move on to next section of work

2. Choose students ahead of time and let them know you’ll be conferencing with them. When students know the agenda they’re more successful, period. Some may be nervous about conferencing while others can’t wait for that one-on-one time. Calm everyone by laying out the plan for the day.

3. Have guidelines for your conference. Decide before students begin the assignment which points will be discussed in the conference. Maybe you are checking in on reading fluency and you’ll be asking students to read aloud? Perhaps, you’re checking in on an essay they are writing and you’re going to check their spelling. Whatever it is, know ahead of time what your emphasis is. Oh, and share it with the students so that they know what matters most!

4. Begin with a compliment – and end with one, too.

5. In between applauding a student’s work, explain how they can improve the part of their work you are emphasizing (see #4). Compare their work to a rubric or exemplar and explain what steps they can take to improve. Write those steps down in a tracker so that last week’s conference can build on this week’s conference, etc. etc. Progress may come in small chunks, but skills taught last week should be evident this week, too.

6. Keep conferences short. Use a timer if you need to. Otherwise, the process will become unruly and too burdensome given the other classroom constraints. See if you can do it in 3 minutes!

What tips can you share with me?


-¬‐ Annie Krut, M.Ed.

Annie is on a mission to teach kids the skills they need to be happy. She’s using neuroscience, the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. Get the curriculum at and join the conversation on Twitter: @eighthugs