compliment · conferences · conferring

Remember to Compliment

Twain QuoteI’ve noticed something when I sit in classrooms and watch teachers confer with kids. Often times they forget to comment the child. They go straight from investigating what the writer is working on straight to instruction.  When I ask, “What was the compliment you gave the child?” I often get a sheepish look.  There’s a pause and then I hear something like, “I didn’t,” or “I forgot.”  It’s easy to forget to compliment a student writer when you know you have a limited time to plow through five – seven conferences during independent writing time.  I get it.  I’ve been there, especially when I taught 32 fifth graders!

I would like to give a gentle reminder today as you head off to school today.  Take the time to compliment every child. Make it genuine.  Compliment them in a traditional writing conference, a strategic writing conference, a mentor text conference, or a coaching conference.  A sincere compliment will build a young writer’s self-esteem.  Plus, it will make the student more receptive to what you’re going to teach them in the conference.

8 thoughts on “Remember to Compliment

  1. Here’s what has helped me: for the past 8 or so years, I have kept a manilla folder in each student’s writing folder with lined paper stapled inside. They all know it’s for them to read anytime they want and me to write in whenever I confer with them. After we take a look at their writing, I always give them a verbal celebration. I write that right in the booklet after the date (Labeled “C” for celebration) and I also write the writing project they are working on beside that date. Then we discuss something they can work on….we label that “TP” for teaching point. They really look at these comments and I like it because I have a record of what I have taught them and I can look to see how that is going for them.


  2. I was just sharing with my students how the compliments I received when I participated in the March Slice of Life writing challenge really boosted my confidence as a writer and helped motivate me. I will work hard to remember to always compliment them first and then teach. Thank you for the reminder!


  3. What great advice. I’m not sure I always do this intentionally. Now I am curious. A little sticky note with the words “thank you” will be accompanying me and my clipboard today. Thanks for the reminder/nudge to take this important step to not only building the writer but the relationship.


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