Happy Monday, Friends! It's officially the 25th day of school. This past week marked our half way point of the semester. With interims complete, I'm thinking about the first conferences of the year. I want to share a few tips and resources from The Mailbox Gold with you!
Parent-Teacher conferences are important to building a bridge between what happens in school and at home. Research has shown that high parental involvement leads to positive academic performance.
Preparing for conferences begins with informing families of their importance! Communicating begins with guidelines so parents can prepare. Will kids be present or should alternative plans be made available before or after school?
Build a climate and culture for your classroom with work displayed. Provide a cozy spot to chat with a snack and water. An inviting environment will set the tone for the conference.
Prior to meeting with the parents, I prepare invitations with the purpose of my conference and scheduling options. I like to send home a conference note for parents to complete. The note will help provide me with feedback.
The week prior to the conference, I send home a reminder about when and where the conference will take place. This provides the parents with an option to reschedule.
In the interim, I prepare student materials and assessments completed in class. Just prior to the parent's arrival, I will ensure I place out all the artifacts.
To set the tone for the conference, I provide the parents with my conference planning sheet. This provides a take away with direct notes from our discussion. The editable form guides the conference, starting with three positive observations and areas of strength prior to discussing areas of concerns. Being an active listener goes a long way to showing parents their voice matters. Synergize on solutions by setting goals for student improvement together.
Establish ways in which you plan to stay in contact. The post communication and follow-up conference will be a place to re-evaluate goals.
To ensure my families know what is happening daily in my classroom, my students and I have a closing meeting each day. We create three sentences that summarizes our learning for the day. Students will spend their final minutes recording a sentence about their learning providing parents the ability to probe specifics. Each parent signs the planner daily as part of my classroom expectations.
The Harvard Family Research Project has an acronym that provides the principles for an effective parent-teacher conference. I'm going to leave you today with the acronym...
B- Best Intentions Assumed
E- Emphasis on Learning
H- Home/School Collaboration
E- Examples and Evidence
A- Active Listening
R- Respect for All
D- Dedication to Follow-up