Sunday, November 18, 2012

Report Card Conferences

Like many of you, I just finished my first round of report card conferences.  While I enjoy talking to the parents and keeping them informed about the goings on in class (I must, since I send home this Weekly Report each week!) I do find it quite draining.

Don't get me wrong...The parents are great.  They work with me, as I do them, and we almost always come to a consensus as to how to help their child succeed.  But the sheer number of conferences is just overwhelming sometimes.  And the thought of thinking of things to say to that are on point and helpful also falls into that overwhelming category.

So I thought I would link up with Tammy at Teaching FSL and tell you about a few things I did to make conferences a little less daunting (notice I said a little, because, let's face it...they are daunting regardless)

Click here to take you to the form.
But this year, I found this FABULOUS gem from fellow blogger The Go To Teacher. (and I know I mentioned it in the linky post a few days ago...but I thought I would go more in depth as to how it helped me so)  It is such a simple form, but because it has the main areas covered with both successes and areas to improve....it really made the process of conferences less daunting. 

I found that this also gave me a jumping off point for the conferences.  In the past, I had always just started with the report card.  Then, if there were some undesirable grades, I had to work my way backwards from the shock.  Using this form, I was able to brace everyone for what was to come.  Since I had already told the parents what the student needed to work on, when the grade was actually revealed at the end, they were contented with it.  It really wasn't anything out of the ballpark for them anymore.  Make sure you head over and pick up the form!

Another thing I did this year was give the parents a packet of the released test questions from our state test.  The packets were put together by my school and I found that they were particularly helpful in showing the parents just what those standards the kids needed to work on were.  For example, if I said that decimals were a particular challenge, I showed the parents how to find the decimal standards and then the corresponding questions.  By explicitly showing them this, it made it more real and doable for them to help at home...instead of just saying "Work on decimals." 

Here is a link to ALL of the states and their corresponding education websites.  Most states have released questions.

OK...so what do you do???  I would love to hear how you make conferences run smoothly for you.  I am always on the look out for a better way!

8 comments:

  1. Great idea about handing out the released questions. I have the link on my class website, but I haven't thought to start pushing it at this point in time. I usually start hounding them about it when we get back in January.

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    1. I figure that the parents are so eager to help out and want resources to do it, that the released questions give them a starting off point. We do have data conferences a bit later in the year too to refocus the parents on "The Test" :)

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  2. I LOVE this form and your idea of using the released questions. We have conferences early on, way before report cards. I would love to do more with this precious time with the parents and what you've shared has helped so much. Thanks Stephanie!! :)

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    1. Thanks! Isn't the form great? One of those fabulous bloggy finds :)

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  3. I have all my grades in an Excel spreadsheet, and I go over those to show the parents why their child is getting a particular grade. It covers most of the info on the excellent parent conference form. I also send home most tests for correction, parent signature and return, and district-generated reports from district tests, so parent already have a pretty good idea of how their student is doing. I haven't managed a weekly report, though I very much like yours. This year, in addition I showed the parents the math program website, the science program website, and the Class Dojo website. I wanted to see if parents were interested in having access to Class Dojo - they were, so now I have to figure out how to make that happen. It's been successful in my class in promoting good behavior, and keeping track of who's doing especially well. I like the idea of handing out the release questions. We haven't gotten our copies of it yet, though they have arrived at the school. I'll probably give the parents the links in a future weekly newsletter.

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    1. I am looking into Class Dojo as well. I am just afraid it is going to become another thing that *I* have to manage on top of everything else. How are you feeling about that aspect of it?

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  4. I love the idea of providing some sample work for the student to use when practising at home! Great stuff!

    It sounds like the Parent Conference is the first time the families are getting the mark information. Is that right? Here, interviews are scheduled about a week AFTER the first "report card" goes home.

    Tammy Aiello @ Teaching FSL

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Yes, we do the report cards and the conference at the same time in these parts :)

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