Individual Conferences: Session 7

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1. Thinking about the consequences of underachivement (From Vernon, 2002).

In this activity, we are going to create a mock underachievement chain reaction.


15 strips of paper
A stapler
A pencil


  1. Have the student take a strip of paper, identify one consequence of underachieving, and put a number one on that strip.
  2. Have the student take a second strip, and identify a consequence that could happen as a result of the first consequence.
  3. Follow the same procedure until the student has completed all 15 paper strips.
  4. Discuss the consequences listed on each of the rinds of the chain.
  5. Have the student staple each of the papers into a circle and interconnect 1 with 2, 2 with 3, etc. so that he/she makes a paper chain out of the 15 paper strips.
  6. Talk about the wisdom of beginning a chain of underachievement. Have the student take the paper chain home to as a reminder that today’s actions have a ripple effect and have real consequences on the future.

2. Review whether the strategies that you and the student developed for increasing the task value of the class are working, and make any necessary modifications.

MODIFICATIONS to Strategies from session 3:

Ideas for increasing the Interest Value of ______________ Class:

Ideas for increasing the Utility Value of ________________ Class:

Ideas for increasing the Identity Value of ______________ Class:

Ideas for increasing the cost of doing poorly or decreasing the cost of doing well.

Can you and/or the student might realistically incorporate any of these ideas into class or school?

4. Closing:

  • Give the student the opportunity to talk freely about anything class related that might be on his or her mind.
  • You and the student should close by summarizing what the student accomplished between last week and this week, and what the student will try to accomplish between this week and next week.
  • Call attention to any progress or positive steps that the student has made. Also mention any areas that continue to need attention, and relate those areas to the students stated goals.

This week’s accomplishments:

Next week’s goals:

Progress or positive steps:

Areas that continue to need attention:

Next Section: Session 8
Previous Section: Session 6