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It’s true what Lucy always said about speaking loud enough so other students hear you while you confer… they do learn by listening in! I’ve known this for awhile, but was reminded of it yesterday when I brought six of my students up to my classroom at lunchtime to further assist them with creating solid thesis statements and sub-categories for their literary essays.

I was conferring with one of my students when I overheard one of my students who was sitting within earshot, say, “Listening to Ms. Shubitz talk with her is helping me with my categories for Chrysanthemum too.” In fact, this student repeated that to one of her classmates two more times. By the end of lunch, not only did she NOT need my help anymore, but she felt like she had further developed her thesis and categories just by listening in!

Ah! The power of conferring!


Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

2 thoughts on “Conferring Leave a comment

  1. I remember one day that Ruth taught about time passing marks to one boy. He shared with his group that day about them. I told the group that Austin could teach it tomorrow and one of the girls exclaimed, “Yay, that means I get to try it.” I love it when they get it! Now, they can all find the marks!

    We have moved onto noticing dashes in writing…who would have ever thought about teaching time passes marks (real name???) and dashes in second grade?


  2. This is so smart and so true. Interestingly, Nancie Atwell totally disagrees. She prefers absolute silence in her workshops, and only confers in a whispering voice with one student at a time. Kids who want to confer with one another have to go out into a little stairwell. I was surprised by this, since I agree with you as to how much students can “accidentally” learn from eavesdropping on our conferring with others. I just found your blog today–I love it!


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