Challenge #9: Get organized for conferring.

Challenge #9: Get organized for conferring. Start out by treating yourself to a few new conferring materials that you’ll be excited to pick up and carry around every day of the school year. A colorful new clipboard? Some funky pens in your favorite colors, ink types, or styles? Perhaps some fun sticky notes to use as “leave behinds” with students. Then, organize your conferring materials in a place where they are easy to grab and go.


                           “To make the most of every minute, you’ll want all your tools                                 and supplies at your fingertips and ready to go.”

-Yates and Nosek 


How Does This Help Grow A Community of Readers?

Getting organized for conferring, means getting organized to take your teaching on move. It means keeping a few simple, but critical supplies organized and ready to grab at a moment’s notice, so that what you need is at your fingertips when you need it. 

 There are a few items that we return to again and again for conferring. For instance, we love sticky notes, and couldn’t imagine setting out to confer without them. We leave simple jots and visuals behind on Screen Shot 2018-07-25 at 6.04.41 PMsticky notes for students as a reminder of their learning. We offer them to students to make reminders for themselves or to leave thinking tracks in their texts as they read. And of course we couldn’t confer without a trusty clipboard, fun pens, and some type of storage system, like a zipper case to keep all of our our conferring materials organized and ready on the go.

Having all of our materials gathered and in one consistent place, ensures that when independent reading time begins and we’re setting off to confer. No time is wasted searching for that green pen or the blue pad of sticky notes.

The more organized we are, the more time we can spend with our readers. The more time we have to spend with readers, the more impact we can have through conferring.  The more conferring we do, the more we can support readers in developing skills for book finding, building reading lives, making meaning, solving problems, and connecting with other readers.

Ideas to Get You Started

  • Follow your instincts. Find tools you love and are excited to carry around and spend lots of time with.  
  • Screen Shot 2018-07-25 at 5.59.29 PMThere are as many preferences for conferring tools as there are conferring teachers. Christina writes in pencil. Kari loves a gel pen tied to her clipboard with a long piece of colorful string. You and your teaching colleagues may have different tool preferences, and that’s ok. It’s important you find what works for you.
  • Functional tools are critical. So figure out what really works for you on the go. If you find your tools aren’t working for you, don’t be afraid to experiment a bit until you find a better fit.
  • Find a special spot to keep your conferring materials. Label it. Once school starts you’ll want to let all your students know about the importance of these tools and how you use them to support readers. 

Treat Yourself to A Shopping Trip 

Kari thinks getting organized to confer is a legitimate reason to go shopping for some supplies. Christina sees it as opportunity to go scavenging through the school looking for castoffs or district supplied materials. Either way, our short list of essential tools for getting started includes:

  • Clipboard or binder – This provides a hard writing surface and means to keep notes together. Some of you might opt to use a digital tool, instead. 
  • Writing utensils – We like to keep a few different options at hand on the go.
  • Sticky notes – A a variety of shapes and sizes can be used to jot notes to yourself and leave behind as reminders, visuals, or annotation tools for your students.
  • Paper – We’ll offer a few different tools for note taking that can be downloaded in our next post, Challenge #10: Select a tool for taking notes while you confer. 

Questions for Reflection

  • What’s your favorite tool to write with?  How can you make sure this tool is always at your fingertips while you confer?
  • What other conferring materials have you tried in the past?  What worked for you? What might you experiment with to help yourself stay more organized? 
  • What have your colleagues tried? What has worked and not worked for them?
  • Where might you keep your conferring tools, so they’re always ready to grab and go when independent reading time begins?

We’d love to hear what’s on your list to buy or find to get yourself organized for conferring?  Come on over to on our Facebook group and tell us about your ideas! We want to see what you’ll be carrying with you as you set out to confer this year. 

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