Friday, October 19, 2012

It's....Conference Time!!

Well, it’s safe to say that school is in full swing!  After 35 days, we are pretty awesome at four out of five Daily 5 activities (although Listen to Reading is a total headache with the ancient cassette players we’re using, but that’s another story.)  We are writing “how-to” books that are super cute and creative.  We are rapping our doubles facts (4 + 4 = 8, that’s great!).  We are Math Workstation pros.  And, we are pumpkin experts!  And us teachers?  We are assessing, assessing, and assessing…. at least, that’s how I feel..  One problem our team is facing right now is we are teaching the new Common Core Standards, yet our first grade report card lists completely different skills, related to the old standards!  Ahh!  So frustrating, but the administration is aware and promising a solution soon.  

Anyway, report card time means parent-teacher conference time.  I cannot believe it’s already here!  I know we say this every year, but time is just FLYING by!  Just when it seems that my little ones are getting rolling in reading groups and such, it’s already time to communicate their progress to parents! 

After 3 years of conferences, I’ve finally got a handle on what works best for me, as far as scheduling and making the 15 minute meetings worthwhile.  A typical conference looks like this…

*I review the child’s current report card, note weak areas that can be supported at home, and answer any questions about the report.
*I share some kind of material for the parents to use in supporting those weak areas, or at least a few home activities for mixing up the regular reading routine. One of my favorites is Reado from Two Can Do It
*I inform the parents of their child’s current reading level and give them a handout about Scholastic Book Wizard – a GREAT resource for finding book lists matched to any level.  Some parents really appreciate this to guide them when picking out library books or books to add to their home libraries.
*I share a few recent assessments, writing samples, fun activities done in class, etc., all of which I have in my GIGANTIC data binder.
*I address any other questions or concerns that the parent shared on their pre-conference questionnaire.

Can you believe all that is accomplished in 15 minutes?!  Sheesh!  As I’m sure you know, an evening packed with conferences is quite a whirlwind.  I’ve compiled (and spruced up) the set of tools that I use at conference time, and it’s now available on TpT.   Click the picture below to check it out – I hope you can use it too! 

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