Dean Haakenson

Dean, I’m able to keep the conferences somewhat limited because many of them are open to doing the letter or video option. But it is the hardest, most labor-intensive part of the whole process. I meet with them before and after school, during lunch, as well as during class over the course of a few days.

To make this work, I have to find some productive things for students to engage in on their own. I’ve developed a few ways of doing this. For example, another main focus of my class is student-led discussions. I get 4 groups going at a time, discussing this or that novel, and leave 4 Chromebooks recording those discussions using Screencastify (premium account, so no time limit). I post those videos later on Seesaw and tag all the students in the group. Students then self-assess and set goals.

Full disclosure, I am also blessed to have an intern from Michigan State University every year, so that’s another point in my favor. I think it’s perfectly fine to limit this option as much as your situation dictates. The letter and video option (with follow-up conferences if necessary) should be sufficient. As I just read recently, you are not a public utility!

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