Sunday, October 2, 2016

Parent-Teacher Conferences Letters and Tips

Hello everyone and welcome back!!
I hope your days in school are becoming smoother and your students are falling into a some kind of routine by now! :)
Today I want to share with you a simple, but very helpful product with you! I know parent-teacher conferences are coming up so I am sure you started working on those letters to send home.

I want to share with you the way I sent my conferences letters. I basically sent this letter with a time and date already set up for my student's parents and an answer slip so they could tell me whether they could make it or not. Easy peasy right? RIGHT! Well, let me tell you... I always had at least three parents that misunderstood the answer slip and they would send those back with confusing answers, like both answers marked off: "yes I can make it" and "No, I cannot make it, let's schedule for another day." (sigh)
Sooooo I decided to make some changes on my letters and I even added a reminder bracelet (you could also staple it to the student's backpack). I made these letters cuter and I added a color version for those that have access to a color printer. But remember that you could always just use the black and white and use pretty color paper!

As always, it comes in both English and Spanish :) On this case, the two languages come in one product! So if you have parents that might need this letter in Spanish, there you have it! :) But that's not all! I included a blank form if you want to do these by hand OR if you would like to edit the text, I also made it editable!! Click HERE to take you to my TPT :)

Now, if you are a new teacher (or not) and would like some tips on what to say to your parents, these were things that I used to do and it helped me in a great way for my conferences to go a little bit more smoother! These are 5 simple, but important tips! :)

1. Keep your grade book handy during these conferences: At my school you could hold on to your student's report cards so parents could come and pick them up at the conference. Regardless of this, it is a good idea to show parents why "Pepito" got a 70 in Reading, but a 90 in Math. I liked showing parents the different grades that their child received to give them an idea of how much daily work and tests are given throughout the week. I also showed "Pepito's" parents that he was doing great with daily work, but when he took that comprehension test, he got a 40. Therefore, his grade average went down. That was a great opportunity to discuss ways to help him and to point out that "Pepito" needed to work on comprehension skills or/and maybe talk to him about the importance of taking his time while taking a test.

2. Show parents the main activities that are done in class and your expectations: I always pointed out to parents the importance of reading groups, math facts, and interactive notebooks in class. I showed them the kind and level of books that were given to their child and that it was expected to take those home to read. In addition, I mentioned the importance of practicing their math facts and what they were expected to master based on their grade level (add/sub OR multiplication). Lastly, I showed them the interactive notebooks. I showed parents how we used them in class and why they were so important. I reminded them (or for some, this was the first time they heard of it) that I let my students take their Math Interactive Notebook home. In that way, they could refresh their minds of what was learned in class so they could do their homework. It also helped parents to see what was done in class so they could help them as well. Yes, this was tricky move because they could lose their interactive notebook! Fortunately, I only had one student who lost his whole backpack so he lost his notebook, but it happened at the end of the school year.

3.It’s always a good idea to have some kind of sign-in sheet to prove that you met with the parents: At my school we were required to have a log-in sheet. Even if your school doesn’t require it, it is good idea to have a copy for your own reference. Not because parents would lie about meeting with you, but just to have a proof that you met and discuss with them about their child's academic and behavior status.

4. Always say something positive along with a struggle/negative comment: I am sure you all have heard this before, but it's true! Even when "little Johnny" seems not to get anything in class, can't focus, he's below grade level, etc. there must be something good and positive about him! As a parent now I think about these conferences, that statement can't be any truer. As a parent (even when my baby doesn't go to school yet) I would like to hear good things about my child besides the negative. I understand that these are the beginning of school conferences, so you might not know your students very well yet... but that makes it even better, because they will bloom with your help! Think about this, would you like to be told by your principal all your deficiencies or all the things you need help with and no positive feedback? EXACTLY! It is the same for parents; they always want to hear at least something positive about "their babies”!

5 Always end your conference with a positive and encouraging thought about the student's academic level: I always liked to end my conferences with an encouragement for parents to work with their son/daughter at home regardless of their academic level (because things get much, much harder throughout the school year).  Along with that statement, I reassure them that I would do the same on my side. I pointed out that it was the beginning of the school year, so there was time for them to improve, but that improvement will happen with hard work and dedication starting NOW. I always felt that parents left our meeting very optimistic, no matter if they received good or bad news. They all left with positive thoughts and felt encouraged about working hard TOGETHER.

That’s it for me my friends! I hope you find my letters to be a good addition to your class and my tips helpful in some kind of way! Thank you so much for stopping by today.. I hope you have just a minute to leave me a comment below, I ALWAYS love to hear from my readers!

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