Sunday, September 27, 2015

Parent Teacher Conferences {8 Tips for Successful and Productive Conferences}

Parent Teacher Conference Tips
Parent teacher conferences can be stressful, time-consuming, nerve-wracking , and downright scary for new teachers!  My first year in the classroom, I taught Half-Day Kindergarten.  This meant I had 26 kiddos in the morning and 25 in the afternoon.  Do the math...I had 51 Parent Teacher Conferences.  Eek!  Talk about overwhelming.  I've assembled 8 tips from veteran teachers that will help ALL teachers have productive & successful conferences. 
  1. Use an online sign up tool to schedule conferences.  Sign Up Genius is awesome and free!  This allows parents to sign up online for a time that is convenient for them.  Parents can edit/swap conference times if a conflict arises.  It automatically e-mails parents a reminder.  (-Mrs. Duke)
  2. Use the "sandwich method."  Start off by praising the child, sharing a funny/sweet story, and by telling the parent what you love about their child.  Next, talk about areas that need improvement before ending with another positive about the child.  (-Mrs. Trujillo)
  3. Let students be involved in Parent Teacher Conferences by letting them fill out a self-evaluation.  This gives them the opportunity to take ownership of their grades & behavior. (-Mrs. Swanson)
    Student self evaluationStudent self evaluation Student self evaluation
  4. Have a notebook to jot down questions parents ask you or issues you need to follow up on.  If you have all of these questions in one place, it will be much easier to address them when conferences are over. (-Mrs. Harris)
  5. Have activities for kids/siblings to do if they show up with their parent.  Keep it simple like computer games, puzzles, coloring pages, Wiki Stix, or a bucket of math manipulatives.  (-Mrs. Vides) 
  6. Set up a giving tree so parents can donate classroom supplies.  Cut out some apples and write what supplies you need on the apples.  (-Ms. Campbell) 
    Giving Tree apples for parent donations
  7. Remember that you and the parent are on the same TEAM.  You both want the same things for the child.  Tell parents that you appreciate all of the work they do with their child at home, and be sure to thank them for making it a team effort.  (-Mrs. Rincones) 
  8. Have a folder for each student.  Put everything you need inside the folder so you aren't searching around for papers and forms.  (-Mrs. Pledger) 
    Parent Teacher Conference forms
    Visit TheHappyTeacher store to download all of the forms, reminders, notes, and resources you will need for fall & spring Parent Teacher Conferences.  
Check out Part 2 of my series about Conferences!

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