- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
Twice a year the school system demands we stop and reflect. This is not enough, but I love this time of year when I look at the growth all students have made. Not everyone is where I want them, but it is important to focus on how far students have come in the year and share this progress with parents. Parent teacher conferences are an important reflection period in our classroom.
Mentor Teacher: Lori Rice--I believe in showing growth and focusing on what students have done. I start each conference with a student written letter. The students are asked to include an accomplishment and proof of that accomplishment, a goal and how they intend to work towards that goal, and something important they want their parents to know. This sets the tone to show learning and effort during each conference. I spend the time during conferences looking at student samples and performance with parents. This is an important time to answer questions and provide evidence of where I need students to move next.
Teacher Intern: Lauren Laudan--This past week Lori and I finished up meeting with the parents of our 24 students.
Although exhausting, due to staying at school past 8 pm two nights and having to teach full days, it was truly an amazing experience to get to share each student’s growth and progress. We also were able to assist parents on how to better help their child succeed academically at home. It was neat to see the similarities between the students and the parents and match personalities together!
One of the best parts of conferences was the kindness and appreciation parents had for Lori and me. Getting to hear that their child looks forward to coming to school each day and wants to succeed was refreshing to hear. One parent even thanked us for pushing her daughter to think more critically in all aspects of life. Another parent also appreciated the responsibility skills we have helped instill in her child. Lori and I are fortunate enough to have parents and guardians who are willing to help their child in any way they can and that was definitely shown in the conferences.
Mentor Teacher: Lori Rice--Teachers understand education is about the whole child. We are not simply teaching math, reading, writing. We are teaching tomorrow's generation and leaders. We are teaching 21st Century skills. We are teaching students to be compassionate, caring, helpful, honest, giving, persistent. There are many things that are taught and growth that can be reflected upon that can not be found on the grade card.
Teacher Intern: Lauren Laudan--Although it is important that teachers focus on what their child has improved on throughout the year, parents and guardians want to know the honest truth and often are well aware of what that is before they step into the classroom. “Does my child participate in class? Talk too much or too little? Does my child have friends or does he/she play alone at recess? Does my child goof off and distract others or does he/she focus during instruction?” These questions require the teacher to understand the makeup of the class and be fully aware of each student’s needs academically, behaviorally, and socially. I am thankful that Lori and I have taken the time to truly get to know each of our students so that we are able to quickly notice if a student is having an off day and in this case need some extra TLC. This allowed us to answer questions parents had easily as well.
I am a big believer in involving parents in the learning environment and I understand they play a huge role in their child’s growth and development. By keeping parents up-to-date with daily or weekly emails, phone calls, and/or blog
posts, I plan to ensure that the parents of my students feel part of our classroom community. However, there is also something special about getting to meet with each parent/guardian face to face and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.
If this is your first year for parent teacher conferences or you are an expert, enjoy the reflection. Check out how we ran our conferences and find what works for you. These are personal connections. Reflections of each child. Celebrate the learning that has been done and celebrate each child.