How I Run Student Led Conferences in My Classroom - The Learning Effect

How I Run Student Led Conferences in My Classroom

When I moved to NC and began teaching 5th grade I was introduced to student led conferences. I quickly fell in love.

It's hard when you're required to hold a conference for every student, but have those who are doing great and you don't have much to report about. This is where student led conferences allow those students to shine!

The empowerment that my students get from running their own conference is incredible. Parents really enjoy student led conferences, too, because they get to see a new view of their child's educational journey.


I, personally, like to use an online scheduler so parents can choose the time that works best for them. (It also makes life easier for me!)

I use for my PTC sign-ups. It’s free and easy to use. They will even send an email reminder to parents a few days before.

With student led conferences, I schedule 4-5 at a time for a 20-30 minute block. Students lead their parents through the conference and I walk the room, meeting with families about the questions they have.

You could also hold student led conferences with the traditional type of time blocks where you only have one family in the room at a time. The student still leads the conference, but you would sit with them rather than walking the room.

Set Up

I send home a questionnaire two weeks in advance and ask for it back a week prior to conferences. This allows me time to gather any information/data to answer parent questions during the conference.

All student forms that I use are put into a manila file folder that students decorate at the beginning of the year. We use these folders all year for conferences and they can take them home after the last conference of the year.


The questionnaire (above) asks parents what they would like to discuss at the conference.

The self-evaluation allows students to reflect on their behavior, work habits, reading, writing, math, and science progress.

The student led conference script leads students through the order of events that they need to talk about.

The conference report is something I fill out for each student with DIBELs scores, progress through school programs (such as Accelerated Reader), subjects that need additional practice, behavior and work habits, etc. My conference reports change each year, depending on what time of year it is and what I feel is most important to focus on.

Students create goals with their conference guest based on areas they feel they need to improve on.

I give students goal setting ideas in their folder in case they need some extra help deciding.

Other Things to Consider

Data Binders: My first year with student led conferences I did not keep a data binder for each student. The second year I did at the suggestion of the other teachers I am working with. Personally, data binders were more of a pain for me to keep up with and make sure students were taking them home regularly. I don't necessarily see a benefit to having them just for student led conferences.

Require Students To Attend: As part of my email to parents that has the Sign Up Genius link included, I let parents know that students are required to attend due to the nature of the conferences being student led. If parents can't attend with their child, I offer for families to go through their conference folder at home and return it to school.

Offer an Incentive for Students: This is helpful to get students to attend with parents or for them to bring back their folder with everything completed if they have an at home conference. My team offers students a No Homework Pass for attending.

Display Student Goals: Keep student goals in view by having students write them on pennants to hang in your classroom. This is an example of my students' goals one year. Get these SMART Goal Pennants FREE here.

Want the specific forms I use?

Click here to purchase the forms I use in my classroom. They are editable, so you're able to customize them to fit your exact needs.

How do you run your student led conferences? Let us know in the comments!

student led conference forms


  1. We are implimenting Student-Led Conferences next month and the forms you've created are perfect! Just one less thing I need to stress about.
    Thank you!


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