Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday- Confer

I am excited to do my first link up with The First Grade Parade for

This is actually going to be a throwback and an update to a guest post I did last year that is no longer showing on the other blog :(  and a follow up post I do on the Confer app. First the throwback post :)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Original posted at LMTree June 30, 2012 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Hi! Welcome to the Blog Swap and Hop! I am excited to be here at Arlene's blog today. This is my first ever guest post so I hope you forgive any typos :)  I'm Melissa O.  from Transitional Kinder with Mrs. O. I will be teaching Transitional Kindergarten this fall in California after 11 years teaching in elementary technology, first grade and kindergarten. In every grade I have taught I have always been amazed at how much differentiation is needed and how much growth is possible in one year. It is awesome when that struggling student becomes a top student. Today I wanted to share with you a tool that has helped me the last 2 years keep track of differentiation, the Confer app.

The Confer app has helped me so much in my planning, conferencing with students and meeting with parents because I can take notes quickly during Reading and Writing Workshop on individual students, small groups or even whole class lessons. I even track behavior with Confer. The Confer app is for iPods, iPhones and iPads and can be found at I have no affiliation with the app or its maker but love that he is a teacher sharing something that he created for his classroom.
Here's what you can do with Confer:
  • take notes on individual students and small groups
  • view your students by the "tag", "strength", "teaching point", or "next step" in your note
  • view your students by date, level, group or flag
  • search through student notes
  • create flexible small groups 
  • upload your data to your gmail account as a spreadsheet
  • export and import your data on any iOS device via email

I started with the free Lite version then upgraded to the paid after I saw what I could do with the app. With the Lite version you are limited to 2 subjects, 10 students per subject and 5 notes per student.  You can export data through email but not import so it really is just to see what the app can do. When I used the Lite version I found 2 ways to make it work since I had 20 students. The first way was to track 10 students in subject 1, the other 10 students with subject 2 and export the data each Friday. I would then copy and paste the data into a new excel sheet to look at all the data of all the students. This gave me the data with a few extra steps. The second way I used the Lite version was to track small groups and whole class lessons. 

After a few months cutting and pasting I decided to upgrade and it is much easier :) I have all my students and can take as many notes as I like. I use the CAFE approach to notes based on The Sisters' work you can find at My Tags are Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Vocab. For Strength I list what the student is doing well on and the Teaching Point is the CAFE Strategy the student is working on. I often fill out Next Step after conferencing with students as I sort the data. With the paid app I usually sort data during lunch or in the evening during commercials because all I need is my iPhone :) I can quickly see who needs to work on the same skill, who I haven't met with in a while, who is ready for a new skill, which groups are working, which groups need something new and what needs to be taught whole class again. It is also great during parent conference week because I can show parents the notes for their student.
If you want a visual of all that Confer can do here is the video about the app :)

I hope that some of you can see that Confer is an easy and fast way to track during and after Reading and Writing Workshop and give it a try. If you do decide to purchase the paid version please stop by my blog at
Transitional Kinder with Mrs.O
Be sure to post a comment with your email and I will email you my Confer spreadsheet to help get you set up :) I hope you will visit even if you decide Confer is not for you for Teacher Tech Tuesdays and Whole Brain Teaching Wednesdays. Thanks for hopping with Arlene and me! Enjoy hopping to all the other great blogs!

NOW the update for July 2013!
It is now much easier to share files, all I need is your Confer id and I can send you my Confer file with my Tags, Next Steps, ext based mostly on The CAFE by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  I also have included my Behavior file based on a clip chart system and Whole Brain Teaching rules. You can import this file on Confer Lite or Confer :)
When you have downloaded Confer you will see one of these screens when you open it  

If you see the screen on the right click on the little gear at the bottom of the screen and you will get this screen. 
When you click on Enable Syncing you will get the Cloud screen and from there you can create an account. Once you have your account name come back here and leave a comment with it and I can add you to the list  of people that can download the file and message you that you have been added. Once added you will see the Behavior and Reading CAFE subjects when you open Confer. Remember you can only have 2 subjects with Confer Lite but you should be able to take a look at both files if you haven't created your own subjects in Confer Lite.

 If sharing works well I well share my current files for the other CAFE menus and more WBT goodies :)


Unknown on July 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM said...

Hi this looks so great an easy way to keep track without all those post its i constantly lose. I'd love to see the files you have to share my account name is kinderjoy. Thanks Kathi

Melissa Ortuno on July 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM said...

Thanks for being the first comment! I have shared the files and emailed you. Please let me know if it works :)

Laura on July 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM said...

I downloaded confer this morning (I am on the D5 group) but it wouldn't let me upload your files. Will you add me? laurarieben

thanks Melissa!!

Laura on July 11, 2013 at 4:53 PM said...

I got it! Thanks again!

Hannah on July 11, 2013 at 7:19 PM said...

Hi, I have looked at buying this app many times and finally did it today after reading your post. I think it will be great to use with my third graders.
I would love to have the files. My username is hpalmer.

pcklucas on July 12, 2013 at 9:01 AM said...

I have had the lite app for a few years but never used it much. I hope to use it more this year and your post was helpful. I would love to sync your files. My username is purpledragonfly. Thanks!

Ms. Crimarco on August 1, 2013 at 8:30 PM said...

Hi, I don't know if you got my earlier message because I don't see it here. I am really excited about this app and its potential to make my life easier. Please add me so that I can see your files. My user name is KarenCrimarco (I think the caps make a difference) and my email is Thanks!

IbPammyB on August 5, 2013 at 5:06 AM said...

After reading your post and several other reccomendations, I downloaded Confer! I'm hoping to similify my life this year and this may help! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your files.

Unknown on February 23, 2014 at 7:38 PM said...

would love to have your files. Your post here was very informative! megshuman is my user name

Sarah on July 11, 2014 at 2:29 PM said...

Thank you for sharing your knowledge of the confer app. I am hoping to use to get me better organized and simplify my life. Would you be able to share your files with me? My username is Scans525. Thanks again!

Sarika Choudhari on July 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM said...

Thank you for sharing about Confer app. I would love to see your files, could yoou please share them. My email id is

Aarika Staceyhill on September 12, 2015 at 8:45 AM said...

Than you for sharing...I am going to spread the word to all my k teacher friends. I would love your files for username is Aarika127

Post a Comment


Transitional Kinder with Mrs. O Copyright © 2009 Flower Garden is Designed by Ipietoon for Gossip Celebrity Flower Image by Dapino

Blog Widget by LinkWithin