CONFERENCES: Today you'll be meeting with your students at their assigned times to discuss their essays. Make sure you allow about 15 min per person. Some will probably take less a few may take a little more. Some general conferencing tips:
- For this conference, you'll want to focus on the following three aspects of the assignment:
You might not get through all of these with every student. One student may just need help on focusing their claim, or clearing up their purpose. Another student might come with a clear claim and purpose, but need some assistance with their evidence. But make sure you cover these three in order of importance. Remember that without a focus and purpose, it's hard to use evidence effectively.
Remember it's their paper. Try to help them make choices and decisions rather than making those choices for them. To that end, the more they talk the better. Try to ask questions that can help them make decisions.
Try to stick to your schedule. Don't go over with anyone unless you have to. If they need more help, ask them to come back at another time.
Don't write on their paper. Let them do the writing. In fact, encourage them to write during the conference to keep track of what you've discussed so they can remember it easily when they go to write their draft.
- Their overall claim - is it focused? Does it focus on a hidden message?
- Their purpose (why the audience should care) - do they have clear sense of why they're writing this analysis? Why should their audience care about their analysis?
- Their evidence - what claims will they need to support? What types of evidence do they plan to use?