Friday, March 13, 2015

Using Compass Points to Structure Student-led Conferences

Right now, teachers and students are busily preparing for the second round of conferences of the school year. This round of conferences are led by the students.

Because this can seem like a formidable task t
o such young learners, teachers provide structures that help support students as they reflect on their progress with their families.

One teacher in G5 used the thinking routine Compass Points (p. 93 from Making Thinking Visible by Ritchhart, Church, & Morrison) as the structure her students would use to communicate their successes, needs, excitements, and worries in fifth grade.

She started by providing the students with a Google Slides presentation template with just one slide that said: 

"Usually when you think of a compass, it helps you find directions: North, South, East, West

This set of compass points helps me reflect on the learning I’ve done and the learning that’s coming up: Successes, Needs, Excitements, Worries"

Students then reflected and documented their thinking on the subsequent slides. Here are some examples of what the students shared at conferences with their families. Many thanks to the G5 students who shared their thinking with us, so can learn from them!

Some of the print on the slides is small and hard to read. Click on the images to make them bigger to read the students' thinking more easily.

After reading about how G5 students used Compass Points as a structure to reflect on their learning, how could you or have you used thinking routines as a structure to help students' collectively and individually initiate, explore, discuss, document, and manage their thinking?


  1. An interesting article. A good way for the students to reflect on their journey and think upon the areas they need to work on.

  2. A good article on the students viewing their experiences, analysing their weaknesses and strengths and sharing their achievements.

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  4. Interesting! Compass points can work as an effective tool to reflect on their learning through school.

  5. The photos do not display... only an exclamation mark inside a triangle appears. Would be nice to be able to see the images.