Conference Mania!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Oh boy, what a treat to come back from spring break to… opening my planner and realizing I have an early Parent Teacher Conference coming up TOMORROW! I don’t know about you, but I can never sleep the night before conferences because I am always afraid I will have some question or issue sprung on me.  No matter how prepared I am, I always feel like I should have done more- more notes, more student work samples, more anecdotal stories… In the end, the 20 minutes FLIES by and I never even cover a third of what I had intended to. 
One thing that has always helped to minimize conference stress is my PT Conference pack.  I created this trusty packet as part of a graduate school project about five years ago and it has yet to fail me.  
There are two documents in there for successful conferences.
First, I give each child a “survey” the week prior to conferences.  It covers the basics- favorite academic subject, favorite special, favorite time of day (hello, we all know it usually is recess so, here is where they can write it!), what they are working on/have improved, and what they are proud of.  I always like to begin my conferences by showing these surveys to the parents as a peek into school in their child’s eyes.  The parents usually get a bang out of it and it is a nice friendly way to open communication. 

The other document that is a lifesaver for me is the “Parents’ Homework”.  I send this document out the week prior to conferences.  I basically give the PARENTS a little survey asking the basics: how does your child feel about school, what are your goals for your child, list any medical information/allergies and anything you would like to discuss.  I find that this wards off any “surprises” at conferences and gives me an indication of where the parents stand before they walk in my door.  I also know that if they have any concerns about a particular subject area I make sure to have lots of examples of the child’s work and also typical materials we use during class. 
I am coming up on my 12th set of conferences and, KNOCK ON WOOD, all of my fears and terrors about conferences have yet to come to fruition.  So far, so good!  Hop on over to my TpT store to download my conference pack for free!
 PT Conference Pack

Good luck to all you teachers out there with spring conferences just around the corner!  

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