23 Guiding Questions to Make Student-Led Conferences More Informative

So you’ve decided to implement student-led conferences.  Congratulations!  You are well on your way to empowering students to own their 21st century learning.  If you’re still new to the process (or want fresh ideas), be sure to begin with our student-led conference practical starter guide and resources.


Credit: Marc Wathieu via flickr
Credit: Marc Wathieu via flickr

Here, we focus on guiding questions for all parties concerned during conference. After all, student-led conferences are new territory for most of us, and providing all possible support will help everyone leave feeling their time was well-spent. Share these questions with parents and students a day or two beforehand, and leave a stack of printed copies by your door during conferences. Note: many of these questions are geared toward elementary grades, but they can be easily adapted for older students!

Guiding Questions for Parents

  • What made you decide to share this piece with me?
  • How did you feel as you read your guided reading book out loud?
  • How might I better support you as a reader at home?
  • What’s the hardest part about the writing process for you? Why do you think so?
  • What’s your favorite part about the writing process? Why?
  • How you do feel when you’re asked to explain your math thinking?
  • How do you feel during math practice time on your own?
  • What do you think about where you sit?
  • What makes you most excited about coming to school?
  • How do you feel about your overall learning so far in [subject/topic]?
  • How might I better help this team that’s dedicated to your learning? (can ask student and/or teacher)

Guiding Questions for Students

  • What growth have you seen in my reading so far this year?
  • What do you enjoy most about my writing?
  • What growth have you seen in my math thinking so far this year?
  • I’m having a hard time with (anything you wish your parents or teacher knew). Can we talk about ways to help?
  • What materials can I use to better organize my learning space?
  • How might I better help this team that’s dedicated to my learning? (can ask parent and/or teacher)

Guiding Questions for Teachers

  • How often do you feel in charge of your own learning?  How can I help you better take charge of your learning in [subject]?
  • How comfortable do you feel with the reading materials I provide in class? (too challenging, too easy, or just right)?
  • How might I better model the writing process for you?
  • What’s your favorite way we learn new math concepts and why?
  • How comfortable are you with sharing your ideas with classmates? Why do you think that is?  How can we help?
  • How might I better help this team that’s dedicated to your learning? (can ask student and/or parent)

For a printable single page copy of these questions, click here (page 1 has all the questions; page 2 has just the parent and student questions).

Photo Credit

Published by

Mary Wade

I taught 5th grade at a PYP International Baccalaureate school in Utah for 4 years, and am currently on extended parental leave until my kids start school. In between the roller-coaster adventures of motherhood, I enjoy educational blogging so I can stay in the loop and keep learning! Snapshot favorites: Student voice & choice. Twix bars. Global classrooms. Calvin & Hobbes. Outlandish sewing projects. Teachers learning from teachers. Modeling daring to students.

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