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Parent/Teacher Conference Tips

Header for Parent Teacher Conference blog with photo of a teacher sitting.

Parent Teacher Conference time is quickly approaching in most schools, but don’t stress out! Conferences do not need to make you want to pull your hair out… I’m going to share 3 tips with you to help make conferences run smoothly and I also have a FREEBIE for you!

Tip #1 – Provide student work samples

It’s important to show parents student work samples so they can get an idea of what their child is doing in class. It’s also important when reviewing the work samples with parents to highlight strengths, but also point out areas for growth. For example, Jenny does a great job staying focused on her ideas and adding details to her story. One thing I’d like her to continue to work on is making sure her sentences are full and complete (not run-on sentences).  Having examples to back up your strengths and areas for improvement is extremely helpful.

Tip #2 – Provide suggestions for how to help at home

Parents are often not educators. They want to help their children, but aren’t always sure what to do.  In my conference notes, I always have a next steps section. Some of these next steps are things that will happen in the classroom, but some can also be suggestions for home.  For example, ask Jenny a few comprehension questions each night after she finishes her 30 minutes of nightly reading.  

Tip #3 – Provide resources for Parent/Teacher Conferences

Tip 3 goes along with tip 2. Parents want to help, but might not feel comfortable since they are not teachers themselves. Provide parents with resources to help their kids at home. This could be sharing photos of math anchor charts so parents can help students with tricky math concepts.  You could provide parents with a page of specific comprehension questions to ask their child when they finish reading.  If we give parents the tools, the parent-home connection is likely to be even more successful.

Parent/Teacher Conference FREEBIE

Picture of Parent Teacher Conference Form

To help make your planning even easier I have this simple, FREE parent/teacher conference page you can use! You can type your comments digitally (I often use bullet points) or print and write your feedback out.  Parents can then take this form with them when they leave so they have a reminder of what was discussed and ways they can help their kids at home.  Grab this FREEBIE >>> HERE.

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Keeping Parents Looped In to the Classroom

Back to School, Conferences
Blog header for Keeping Parents Looped In to the Classroom blog post.

As we know education has changed a lot since we were kids and it continues to change every day. It can be hard as educators to keep up with all of the changes, but it can be even more difficult for parents. Parents want to be involved and help their child with school, but sometimes it can be tough for them. The way we teach has changed and they’re not always sure what to do or how to help without reverting back to how they learned.

As teachers there are ways that we can help educate parents so that they are able to help their children. We are all a team in this – teacher, parents, and students. It’s important for parents to feel informed and valued so that they can be more engaged in their child’s education. Below are three ideas for keeping parents engaged and helping them help their kids.

Idea #1 – Keep Parents Updated

One way teachers can help educate parents is by keeping them updated on what is happening in the classroom. The more informed parents are the better prepared they’ll feel to help their child. One way I do this is by sending out weekly newsletters. In my weekly newsletter I include important announcements and I also include what content we are covering the following week. By doing this parents are in the loop and know what specific topics their kids will be learning about. This gives them a chance to ask their kids specific questions and have an idea of what might be coming up with homework and tests.

Picture example of a class newsletter
Example of a Class Newsletter

Idea #2 – Provide Resources

As I mentioned at the top of this post, education has changed a lot. Students right now in 2019 are not learning how their parents did and this will always be changing. I especially find this to be true in math. Math strategies have changed greatly over the years. Gone are the days of using the one standard algorithm and everyone doing it the same way. Now students are able to try and are exposed to multiple strategies. Most parents have never seen these strategies and it can make it difficult for them to help their child with homework and math practice.

I provide my parents with resources to help make this easier. I will often take pictures of the anchor charts we create in class for different math skills and post them on our class website under Homework Resources. This way parents can see the way we are covering the material in class so that they are able to continue with those strategies at home. Most parents have found this very helpful and it’s super easy for me to do! I’m already creating the charts with the class so making it accessible to parents is easy!

Picture of addition anchor chart strategies
Addition Anchor Chart that I would share with parents.

Idea #3 – Provide Informational Sessions

One of the schools that I was at had monthly parent information sessions. These sessions took place at night and covered many different topics including: homework help, math strategies, research ideas, AR, writing workshop, and more. The goal of these sessions was to provide parents with information on what and how their child is learning so they can support them at home. In Gerry Brooks’ new book Go See the Principal, he also suggests having informational nights to help teach parents. He also recommends telling parents – “Please understand that your child may learn differently than you did.” I love this! It’s a great way to simply explain that while all parents are very intelligent – learning has changed and it’s ok.

Even if your school does not have informational nights like above you can still squeeze them in to other opportunities. Back to School Night is a great time to share ways and strategies that you are teaching in the classroom. Parent/Teacher Conferences is another opportunity to share with parents on a one-on-one basis ways they can help their child.

Picture of a slide from slideshow about Homework Help for a parent's information session.
Part of my slideshow for Homework Help a parent information session.

I hope you find these tips helpful with keeping your parents plugged in to what is happening at school and how they can help their child!

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Parent/Teacher Conference Week

Conferences, Data

It’s the week that some teacher’s dread, but I happen to find very enjoyable…Parent/Teacher Conferences week.  For some reason, I really enjoy this week and having the time to sit with parents and chat about all of the great things their kiddos are doing and all of the progress they have made so far this year.  This year it’s even easier because I have all of my data in one place….my Data Notebook Binder.  In years past, I’ve had a binder with reading stuff, a binder with math stuff, and stuff in piles.  This year, I’m all organized. 

Of course, I had to make a cute cover. 
Inside, I have a tab for each child. I chose the dividers with the pocket in the front so I could have a place for papers that don’t fit so easily in the binder. 
Behind each tab, I have the following items:
-Quick Phonics Screener (by far my favorite reading assessment)
-High Frequency Word Assessment
-Phonemic Awareness Assessment (for students who struggled on DIBELS only)
-1st Quarter Math Counting Assessment
-Problem Solving Assessment for 1st Quarter
-Counting Items Assessment
This has made conferences so much easier so far…only 2 more days to go!