Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Feedback, PLEASE!!! :)

So I realize this is a second post in one day, but I REALLY need you all's expertise!  As I have posted before, I have taken on a new job this year.  I am a Teaching and Learning Coach and will be working as an instructional resource to teachers grades K-5.  Starting this school year, my district is using a Balanced Literacy structure to teach reading and writing.  My schools are fairly new to this style of teaching so I want to provide them with as many resources as I can to help ease the process of this transition.

My district is providing all K-5 teachers with the units of study to teach throughout the year.  So their teaching points will be provided for them.  Suggested resources, instructional ideas, and student activities will be provided as well.

The piece of reading and writing workshop that appears to be the most difficult and/or intimidating is conferring.  So after talking with one of my principals, we decided that in the beginning it would be helpful to provide them with a conference form.  As they gain experience, they can tweak it to best fit their needs.

So I created a form at work today and want feedback from all of you.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help me out with this.  I am always open to suggestions.

Here is the form I created!  You will notice I included the TAG acronym from my earlier post.  Click here to read that post.  I thought if all else fails, they could at least remember that. :)  My principal wanted it short and sweet at first!  So here it goes...

Click here to access the document.
For some reason Google Docs separated the book title and focus lesson into 3 cells.  The original document looks like the image above. 

Thank you so much for your help with this!  :)


  1. We use the CAFE model which begins with the student reading (just a little) while you observe (I would write what I see under comments). Then you ask the student about their strengths/weaknesses (help if needed) and choose one goal to work on together. Are you wanting something written beside each strategy, or are they listed as suggestions?
    I found it interesting that you have almost all of the cafe strategies (was that on purpose?) - just missing accuracy!
    I love the TAG part!

    The Dalton Gang

  2. Hi! I think your form looks really good and the addition of the TAG on the side will be helpful for teachers to remember. If this is for conferring with students, will there need to be a "Name" or "Name(s)" label at the top, in case teachers are filling out similar ones for different students? Also, in the middle section (Teaching Point), if teachers are only filling out one or two (I'm not assuming all 5 all the time for one workshop conference)maybe the words in that middle section could be smaller or written horizontally across the top of that section and then circled by the teacher to indicate which one(s) and have more room for writing underneath. Hope that makes sense. Great job!

  3. I like the layout and the TAG acronym! It's so user friendly. If I were a teacher being handed this, I would wonder what types of things I should write in the comments section. I also think the space to write in the teaching point is a bit small between each one. I know you wouldn't use all at once, so maybe you could make the top part of that column list all of those categories (for the teacher to circle one) and then empty space at the bottom for details? I don't know if that would really be any better though!

    Your teachers are lucky to have you! This is such a great resource!

    A Place to Thrive

  4. Melissa- Thank you so much for your feedback. :) I did not intentionally include the CAFE strategies, but have taken classes related to Daily 5 and CAFE, so something from them obviously stuck. lol I thought about adding something about listening to them read first, but I'm thinking I might just tell them that when I pass the form out to them. I am still debating that.
    The teaching points are meant to be options, so I am going to play around with that column a bit. In my head I was thinking to write notes under the teaching point for that conference but they definitely need more room.
    Thank you again! :)

  5. Jen- Thank you so much for your feedback. :) I am new to the world of Google Docs and it didn't transfer over that well. There is a spot for names at the top, outside of the table. I was thinking to have separate sheets for each student. I've seen some great ones with multiple students on one sheet.
    I love the idea of making the words under teaching point smaller as my intent was for them to be options. I am going to play around with that column a bit.

    Thank you again for your feedback and kind words. :)

  6. Dani- Thank you so much for the feedback. The teaching point column definitely needs some tweaking. If you read my posts, I am long-winded so would struggle that amount of space. lol I am also going to provide my teachers with a cheat sheet with questions or discussion starters for each teaching point. I could include suggestions for the comment section. You can't assume they know, so thank you for bringing that to my attention. Comments is where I would kind of summarize my thoughts on that student and jot down where to go next. Do you have any other suggestions for that column.

    Thank you again for your feedback and your kind words. :)

  7. I love the TAG!! That is a great, especially if you get stuck on what to say!

    Since you are introducing balanced lit and conferring to your teachers for the first time, I think this might be overwhelming for them. I remember when we first started BL, everyone was worried about the time especially during conferencing. Here's what we use: Column 1-positive, column 2-needs to work on, column 3-teaching point. This is how our conference notes are structured and it makes the actual writing of the notes easier. My coaches also put together a little cheat sheet for us--it had the format of a conference and possible teaching points for different deficiencies. I kept that in my binder until I had it memorized. It is going to take awhile for your teachers to feel comfortable with this, but once they do, they'll see conferencing as a valuable assessment tool. Good Luck!

  8. Jen- Thank you so much for your feedback. I started my teaching career with BL and conferring was definitely an area where my school felt overwhelmed. That's why I wanted to make something for them to ease the process.
    I am creating a cheat-sheet as well. It will have questions and discussion starters for each teaching point. I haven't started that yet, though. I am also thinking about including more information about the structure and thanks to Dani's suggestion, the comments column.
    I am planning to tweak the Teaching Point section to where it is obvious those topics are options. I appreciate your feedback as one of the goals is to keep it short and sweet. Your conference form sounds like a version of the TAG on mine. I love that idea.

    More than anything, I want them to see what you mentioned, "conferring as a valuable assessment tool.

    Thank you again! :)