Conferring Notes 101

Everything you need to know to establish and use conferring notes in writing workshop

Tired of feeling overwhelmed and confused when it comes to conferring with student writers?


It's okay, I've been there too.

Whether you're new to conferring with students

or a veteran writing teacher,

chances are there are some

hard to reach student writers in your class.

No one will argue that conferring is

the best way

to help students become stronger writers.

The problem is how do we do it in a

manageable and effective


Get the step-by-step guide for conferring with student writers and how to keep meaningful notes.

Ruth Ayres brings her her vast knowledge of writing and conferring with students and has shared it in such a manageable, reflective way! Actually, watching the videos gave me the same feeling I get when I'm lost in a book. And for that reason, I had to watch the videos twice - once to soak it in, and once to take notes on my new thinking and learning! -- Karen Terlecky

Get started now!

*If you are interested in several registrations for your school, please contact me ([email protected]) about bulk pricing and specials.

When I first started conferring with students about their writing, all of my conferences went the same way...

Me: How’s it going with your writing?
Student: Good!
Me: Great! Keep going!

Then I moved to the next student and the same “conference” ensued. The outcome was students felt “Great!” about themselves as writers, but they didn’t grow very much.

Today my conferences still have a predictable structure and they grow students as writers.

Me: How’s it going with your writing?
Student: Pretty good.
Me: I notice you are [name strength].
Student: *smile*
Me: One thing you could try as a writer is [offer a teaching point]. Writers do this by [teach].
Student: Okay, I’ll try it.
Me: Great! I’ll check back in a little bit to see how you’re doing.



students feel more than


They feel

affirmed as writers

and gain confidence in themselves.

They also grow as writers.

Teaching writers shouldn't happen on a whim, rather we can be intentional about teaching to the most pressing point of need for each student.


Lifting the level of our

conferring skills is the

golden ticket

to increasing students’

growth as writers.

So how do we

do it?

I've learned a formula for conferring with student writers and how to keep meaningful notes...

  • Organize a recordkeeping system personalized for you.
  • Track affirmations and teaching points for each student.
  • Individualize teaching points and celebrations to the most pressing points of need.
  • Identify patterns across the class.
  • Develop and follow next steps for each student.

These strategies worked for me. More importantly, I’ve coached and supported hundreds of teachers to establish systems that work for them.


I didn't just get lucky,


conferring isn't magical.

It's intentional.

These strategies will work for you.

This course is a compilation of the best strategies and proven principles that work for conferring with student writers and keeping notes.

Get started now!

*If you are interested in several registrations for your school, please contact me ([email protected]) about bulk pricing and specials.

When you enroll in Conferring Notes 101, here's what you get:

  • 5 course sections to organize the complex topic of conferring with student writers into manageable portions.
  • 20 step-by-step video lessons that will help you establish a personalized note system, develop your skills during a conference, and analyze your notes as data.
  • Videos of primary and intermediate writing conferences with thinking highlighted for each move and how to write conferring notes.
  • A 40 page handbook filled with ready-to-use conference records, notes and quotes, and cheat sheets to help you put this to use tomorrow!
  • A private Facebook group just for course participants so you can get the encouragement, feedback & extra help you need.
  • Instant access to everything right away at a "go at your own pace" schedule to fit what works for you.
  • Forever access to everything because sometimes summer is the best time to dive in.
  • Unlimited email access to Ruth for one month.
  • Discussion questions for teams at the end of each section so you can discuss ideas deeper and create a culture of encouragement and support.
  • Earn up to 15 Professional Growth Points for professional development.

I enjoyed your relaxed teaching and how you are encouraging each of us to begin with a system to help writers. Conferring is the heart of teaching. The connections made with our students allow for meaningful teaching.

-- Mary Helen Gensch

It's time to stop floundering and start flourishing.

We are all busy doing the most important work in the world -- educating children. We don't have time to waste, which is why taking the time to refine the art of our instruction is imperative. This course won't waste your time. It is designed to lift the level of your writing instruction through meaningful and useful conferring notes.

It's even better than attending a conference!

You don't have to make sub plans and you have access to the content forever. You get to learn the information at your own pace, and there's a group cheering you on and figuring it out together.



is divided into 5 sections

in order to create an

easy-to-follow roadmap

so you can implement what you've learned.

No guesswork.

Just follow the plan.

Get started now!

Your Instructor

Ruth Ayres
Ruth Ayres

Hi there! I'm Ruth Ayres. Teaching young writers can be manageable and enjoyable. I write a lot about teaching writers, but at my core I love teaching most. That's why I made this online classroom, so educators around the globe can come together to learn and share ideas about teaching young writers. Welcome, brave teacher!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
How long will I have access to unlimited email to Ruth?
The unlimited email access to me does have an expiration period of 1 month. This is only because life is unpredictable, so I can’t promise unlimited email access to me for an unlimited amount of time. I can promise that I would love to hear from you and if I’m able, I will respond.
How much time will this take? How often should I work on it?
This course is designed to get you up and running with conferring notes in 10 -15 hours. I’d recommend dedicating an hour a day and completing this course in 10 days. The nature of the topic makes it best for you to be faithful in daily working to establish your recordkeeping system. This is how you will see the best results.
Does this transfer to the conferring I do in reading?
Setting up the recordkeeping system definitely transfers to reading. In fact, many teachers I’ve worked with keep the same system for reading and writing conference notes. You would also be able to transfer how to use the notes for future planning and as data/student evidence.
I’m an instructional coach. How will I be able to use this to support teachers?
First, it's awesome to be you! I'm also an instructional coach, so I've definitely envisioned using this course with teachers. In fact, most of the lessons were inspired by teachers I work alongside. By having the step-by-step guide, it will help coaches support teachers in setting up their own record keeping systems. This course provides different options for recordkeeping systems, so it will give a coach a well-rounded perspective of possible systems. The record keeping reflection is also valuable for a coach.

Get started now!

*If you are interested in several registrations for your school, please contact me ([email protected]) about bulk pricing and specials.