Gotta love this time of year! The kiddos are settling into the routine… bats and spiders are plastered all over the classroom and… I am shoulder deep into parent teacher conferences! 🙂
Parent/Teacher Conferences are a great way to keep the lines of communication open about student progress. (Remember: It takes a village to educate a child… or at least you and one caring adult!)
Now, I’ve seen conferences done a gazillion different ways. On the phone, once or twice a year… only the “bad” kids. I’ve even heard of districts having “Conference Days” where all parents can cue up and meet with their child’s teacher for about 10-15 mins, then are sent on their way.
In my district, conferences are left up to professional judgment of the teacher. I’ve had a few questions lately on how I structure my conferences with parents, so I thought I’d share how I “flex” my professional judgment on meeting with my parents.
I like to start planning conferences from day one.
As early as “Meet the Teacher” I have out my “Conference Time” Sign up sheet.
I use this sheet through out the year to help plan and schedule conferences. I use the suggested times and dates from the parents on this sheet to schedule our meetings at times and days that are convenient for them.
In years past, I have also used a FREE online meeting scheduling program called MeetingWizard.
What I liked about this program was I could set specific times and days and send out requests to parents via email. Then they could “sign up” for the available time and day. This website is a great way to go “Green” with your meeting scheduling.
This year, I am using my “Conference Time” request form.
They are super fast and easy to use. I print out a few onto bright colored paper and use the suggested times and days from my conference sign up form to schedule a date and time.
( don’t mind the shoes! :))
If the time works, they sign it back and I write the day and time on my calendar. If it doesn’t work, I look at their suggested time and try to find a date and time that will work for both of us.
About a week before our scheduled meeting, I send home a reminder and a parent questionnaire.
Parents fill out the questionnaire and keep the top of the sheet for their records. I use the answers as a guide for my conference. This is in addition to academics, behavior, goals, and over all social health of the student.
You can grab all the forms that I use in my School Forms and Checklists Pack.
I like to meet with my parents *at least* three times a year. To me, this guarantees a “touch base” with parents on their child’s academic focus and can serve as a lamp post on their progression of skills.
For the initial conference, I like to focus in on all my beginning of year data and discuss where their students is currently against beginning of the year benchmarks. I also like to discuss long term goals that parent may have for their child,
as well as the child’s long term learning goals for themselves.
(These are also in my School Forms and Checklists Pack)
We also set growth expectations for math and reading for the year.
Mid year conferences serve as a check in on student growth for the year. We review the learning goals and make any needed adjustments. It also provides a chance for parents to ask questions about their students success or to discuss strategies on how they can help their child from home.
The last Parent/Teacher conferences serve as a touch base for the end of the year. I like to discuss the students growth from the beginning of the year and capitalize on their child’s success. We also discuss any concerns with their child moving onto 3rd grade and review what their child should be working on over the summer so that they don’t loose all that precious knowledge they just gained.
So that’s my conference lay out in a nut shell! In teh future, I would like for the students to have a more active role in their conference. I encourage for students to attend our meeting, but I would like for them to have more ownership over the conference. I’ve read about student lead meetings and I think I *may* try to implement that “ownership” idea a little bit more this year!
How do you handle conferences?