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When Students Lead Parent-Teacher Conferences, Everyone Benefits – EdSurge News

Jacob Scott

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It’s conference season—the time of the year when parents and teachers meet to discuss each student’s progress.

In most schools, this is a private conversation between the child’s teacher and parent(s). It usually starts with pleasant introductions. The teacher offers an overview about the student’s performance, and then they explain the report card or other set of data. The teacher may point out a few areas in which the child could improve. The parent may ask a few questions. It is brief.

The teacher goes on to have 20 to 30 strikingly similar conversations, and the parent may or may not relay some of the information to the child.

This long-held routine is often transactional, and it reinforces a power dynamic: The teacher is the expert. The parent is a passive participant, just sitting there listening and learning about their child, as if they were not there from birth or during last night’s tantrum or for all the hand-holding in-between. The subject—the child—is not even in the room. For lack of a better comparison, it would be like your boss and your boss’s boss discussing your performance and upcoming goals without you even being present.

There is another way. More and more schools, including my former school in Oakland, Calif., have switched from parent-teacher conferences to “student-led conferences,” in which the student, whether 7 or 17 years old, facilitates the conversation with their teacher and parent.

Typically, the student begins by sharing what they’re enjoying in school, as well as what they consider to be their strengths and challenges. They might read their own writing aloud. They often review their own report card or data set, explaining what it means to them and why.

This arrangement does not have to be fancy or formal. In my school, we used graph paper and binders. Kindergarteners used smiley faces to indicate skills they had learned. Third graders made simple bar graphs to capture their improved reading levels. Eighth graders got a little more sophisticated with Google Slides.

Regardless of format or delivery, the important thread is that the student is always leading the conversation. The teacher might chime in to provide more context and the parent might ask clarifying questions or offer input, but it is the student who does the majority of the talking.

At the end, the student often concludes by sharing the next steps they will take to reach the goals that they set. The student, in student-led conferences, is an active presenter and participant—quite different from the role of the student in a traditional parent-teacher conference.

Many educational reforms are criticized for being too expensive or trendy—and rightly so. Yet here is an approach that is free, efficient and has huge implications. It puts the student in the driver seat. It allows them to share, reflect and take ownership of their learning. It sends a clear message to the student: We trust you, we believe in you and we are here to support you. It also gives parents an opportunity to ask questions and offer input to the person who they know best, without potentially feeling ostracized by a teacher-parent power dynamic.

I have seen this approach work beautifully for non-English-speaking families, especially. I remember watching a 7th grader lead a bilingual conference. They sat in a circle. The student shared her portfolio, explaining her progress to her father in Spanish and then to her teacher in English. The student was able to leverage her bilingualism to facilitate the conversation such that all languages were honored and equally valued.

Another favorite memory of mine was attending Mateo’s spring conference. Mateo was a 5th grade student who had not experienced a lot of success in school up to that point. During his fall conference, he had shared that he wanted to improve in reading and multiplication. In the spring, he proudly presented his growth, showing his parents that he had climbed two grade levels in reading and had learned his multiplication facts. His face beamed as he saw their tearful reactions. Not only did he reach his goals, but he was able to explain how he got there and see the pride that brought his family.

Are there instances where the teacher and parent should communicate without the student present? Sure, there are circumstances that are more suitable for an adult-only conversation. But when it comes to student learning, how can they not be there?

Does this work for young children, too? Yes—I’ve seen it for myself. They may require more scaffolding and teacher guidance, but ask a kindergartener what they have learned, and they will proudly tell you just how high they can count and which letters they know. Here are great examples of these conferences in action at different levels: kindergarten, middle school, and high school.

To give students ample time to prepare for this conversation—a project many of them are excited to lead—we would devote a class period or two to it prior to the conference week. Every K-8 student would have the chance to make their portfolio or “data binder.” They would select their favorite writing piece, color in their bar graphs, reflect on their progress, and write their goals. Now there are many templates, tools and resources available for educators to help guide the process. This does take instructional time, but it also teaches the valuable lifelong skills of goal-setting, reflecting and action planning.

Some school systems like Achievement First Greenfield, a charter network in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, are taking this even further. They know that students, especially teenagers, are greatly influenced by many people in their lives. Therefore, every student has a Dream Team—a group of adults, from coaches to pastors to relatives—who are committed to supporting the student’s success. They come together more frequently than the typical twice-a-year-conference, giving the student the opportunity to share progress, challenges and goals with the people who matter most to them.

If we want students to feel motivated and excited about their own learning, then the very least we can do is to invite them to the conversation.

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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