As educators, you know that learning doesn't start and stop at you classroom doors. You know that the other adults in your students lives matter. You know that these people need to be included in the education of their children. It is so important to acknowledge the influencers in your students' lives and view them as allies to the work you do every day. Conferences is one place where you have the opportunity to team up with student influencers. This is an opportunity not only to report how the students are progressing in your classrooms, but also to educate and empower parents to support the work their children are doing in school.
In this post, I have shared some resources that might support your outreach to parents during this valuable time. When planning for and conducting your conferences, keep in mind the following, "The Myth of the Culture of Poverty", that came from Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty by Paul Gorsky. Remember to be compassionate and provide access to the wonderful information you have to all parents. As teachers, you are not only a powerful educating force to your students, but to their families as well.
Resources for Parents
Feel free to add a comment at the end of this post and share any other documents you send home with parents!
Other Report Card and Conference Resources
Effective Report Card Comments - Here is a link to Jaime Bell's page. There are several great tips for writing digestible, effective comments on the report cards.
Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferencing - I'm sharing this link again. There are some great reminders for conferencing with parents. I find the first tip, approach parents with positive assumptions, to be so valuable.
Student-Led Conferences - This link was on last week's post, but I thought I'd put it here again, too. If you do student-led conferences in your room, there are some great resources here. If you would like more information about student-led conferences, I can support you in this. I have always done conferences this way and have found it to be an empowering experience for students. They are accountable for their own learning and for reporting on that learning in this model.
After last week's post I heard from several of you that you were happy to have a quick easy overview of guided reading. Several people also told me they were glad to have some new examples of templates for planning and access to Jan Richardson's guided reading website. Here I share a few videos that might give you another glimpse at what guided reading can look like. Enjoy.
Check out Guided Reading with Jenna: Overview - This is an overview of guided reading in a 5th grade classroom. It also includes discussion of what other students are doing while the teacher is working with the guided reading group. I encourage you to peruse the other videos on the site that feature this teacher, too.
This first video is a 5 minute clip of Jan Richardson introducing a text to an early phase group of students in a 2nd grade class. Notice how they preview the book and she makes sure some important vocabulary is taught up front. At the end of the preview she says, "Ok, now we are going to read to find out."
This next video is a 9 minute clip of Jan Richardson checking with her readers on where they put their flag. The purpose for reading must have been to find a very important part (VIP) in the book and flag it. She then listens to them read and prompts them for fluency. Notice how she rotates through each student, discusses, listens, prompts, and gives them a goal - something they should continue to do - all in 9 minutes!
On a related note...
Jan Richardson Videos - Follow this link for more of Jan Richardson's videos.
Conference Time: Chatting with Parents - Conferences are just around the corner. This post has just a few tips to keep in mind when preparing for and engaging in those discussions with your students' parents.
Student-Led Conferences - This blog post has some helpful resources if you do student-led conferences.
I am an elementary instructional coach for the Sioux Falls School District.