The next time you are conferring, try this neat little tip that one of my wonderful colleagues shared with me. There are two parts to it.
Here’s the part you probably already know:
Start your conference with some research (ask open-ended questions, take a tour through the child’s folder or notebook, figure out the child’s intentions and plans), search for strategies that the child has already been using, as well as ideas for next steps.
Here’s the second part, the part that might be new for you:
Before you give the compliment, say the words, “I want to give you a compliment.” You might see the child lean in a little closer and you might feel yourself become a little more focused. Your compliment might come out a bit clearer, a bit more explicit.
Try it right now. Whoever is nearest to you, decide on a compliment to give them. But before you give the compliment, say, “Hey, can I give you a compliment?”
The best part is that you can’t help but smile when you do this. And we can all use a few more smiles in our day.