I need to take note of a successful happening today. Classes are wrapping up, and most classes are working on their final essays or projects. Next week will be chaos. Students scrambling to get things in at the end of the semester. The stress of finals. All-nighters. Tears. Frustration. ...For both students and staff. But today I had a calm moment before the storm. My AP English students have already written their final essays, and I met with them one-on-one today to pass back their essays and talk about their growth, strongest areas of improvement, and things to focus on next year. And after meeting with all of them and reflecting on their progress, they have all grown so much! Every student has now nailed developing a clear thesis and organizing their ideas into a cohesive essay. This year, many of them were able to move into the aesthetic world of writing...playing with syntax and alliteration and metaphors, weaving artistry into their writing. And the reason I think they've come so far is because we've done so much writing, so many one-on-one conferences, so much revision. And I just wanted to make a note to myself that one-on-one conferences are the way to go. Students get individualized instruction, the teacher knows what each student's strengths and struggles are, and it builds that relationship. I am vowing to do more one-on-one conferences in all my classes, during worktime, on small assignments, etc. Not just on big projects or papers. I'm always milling around while they work in small groups anyways, but I don't get great interaction with them that way. One group member acts as spokesperson and I get to hear everything they know, but not what their quieter classmates know. More one-on-one conferences across all classes - not just with upperclassmen anymore - and for more and smaller types of activities. Quick, on-the-spot, formative assessments. My brain might be as fried as the students' this close to finals, but at least some of that reflective practitioner is still in me!