Grade: all
Subject: other

#2320. Parent Conference Ideas

, level: all
Posted Sat Jul 21 10:58:17 PDT 2001 by Colleen ().
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Materials Required: Parents

Compiled Parent Conference Tips from Teachers!!!

Re: Parent Conferences
Posted by 2nd gr. tchr. on 7/18/01
For my first parent/teacher conferences I brought in a card
table and had 4 chairs set up around it. That way it
wouldn't make the parents feel uncomfortable. Then I had a
scented candle lit in the room to add a tad bit of 'home' to
the situation to make myself a little more relaxed (Just make
sure it isn't overpowering -- nothing worse!!). I had also
taken hanging file folders (with everything I wanted to share
in them) and arranged them in the order that the parents were
visiting so I didn't waste time trying to get organized. All
of these things made my first experience a little less
stressful. Hope this helps.

Re: Parent Conferences
Posted by Colleen/wa/2 on 7/18/01
I have done parent conferences for the past three years. The
nice thing was that I was a sped. teacher and just attended the
conference at teacher request and added my 2 cents when I felt
needed. I learned lots from seeing many different teachers
conduct conferences. Some of the things that stick out are;

 light music going in the room
 sharing at least 1 positive example of good work
 I liked how one teacher filed in a sheet as she went together
the parents and the teacher and I came up with one goal for the
 One teacher handed out bookmarks. Five finger rule.
 Sitting next to the parent rather than across from them (like
the car table idea) This shows the parent you are a team
together and that you are not there to be the know it all. The
parents know about their students strengths and needs too.
(This has been helpful for me at IEP meetings too).
 Individual folders for each student. Included 1 writing
sample, last math test, 1 project, and recent grades given.
Also the student have filled out a self evaluation. I thought
this was a nice touch.
 Waiting area for other parents. Two chairs, a table with
magazines, candy, and flowers on it.
Also to see other conference ideas, go to the link I have
included and click on conferences for a bunch of links. GOOD

I try to tell them the good things about their child. Also to set a goal of something to work on in the next month. (one thing to focus neatness in handwriting, or improve behavior in cafeteria or master x3 multiplication facts.)
Sometimes it helps to have a blank form with three columns. THe good thing you want to say, the goal and an empty column for comments or things the parents says that you want to check on or remember.I also provide a box of tissues and paper and pen for parents to write anything they hear.Otherwise they walk out and forget.
Use this as a time for you to find out information from them too!

Re: Conference Tips Needed!
Posted by Kim/3rd Grade on 7/18/01
Here is what I dug out of my file and what I have done:
1. Student filled evaluation: We give report cards at
conference time and I have students fill out their own sample
report card. This gives the parents an idea of what their
child views as limitations and so forth.

2. One hint I will give right away is to be aware of family
situations: the parents names(especially in cases of divorce)
where the child lives, siblings and so on. I once got stuck
calling a parent by the wrong name (she was divorced and
remarried) for a whole conference.

3. Provide some toys for younger siblings and for students
who attend the conference. I allow my students to go on the
computer and have out some infant toys and coloring supplies
for the other children.

4. In the room where we are sitting I have some candy and the
child's folder on the table. Before conferences I have the
folders prepared with the school report card, any award
letters, the students self evaluation, and any notes that I
took on the student to help me through the conference. This
helps me keep organized.

5. Give the parents real chairs to sit in not the students
6. In the hall I have a few chairs set up and a table. On the
wall I post a sign that instructs them to sign in andI also
provide a list of things that they can do while they are
waiting. Among the suggestions are : Look through your
child's portfolio, find your child's art project on the wall
in the hallway, look through our class photo album, Take a
look at the books we are using.

7. Above all: BE PREPARED!! Be ready for any question that
might be thrown your way. But do not make up an answer. As
with your students it is okay to say"I'll have to look into
that for you, when is a convenient time for me to get back to
you?" Parents want reliable information. Of course if it is
about their particular child you should be very well aware of
the situation.
Hope this helps some
Re: Conference Tips Needed!
Posted by Catherine on 7/18/01
I have taught in two different school districts in B.C. and
both encouraged teachers to have "student led" conferences. I
really enjoyed student led conferences, it took a lot of the
pressure off, especially for those parents who get really
nervous. I have done them with kids from k - gr. 3 very
successfully. I write up a checklist of things for the kids
to share with their parents (e.g. journals, math books,
calendar, favorite center, classroom pet, science experiment,
etc.) We practice showing all these things with a buddy
class, we also practice how to introduce your parents to your
teacher (this is always lots of fun!). I schedule the kids
for a half hour block, usually about 3 - 4 kids at a time.
They come in with their parents and go through their
checklist. I chat with the parents informally as they check
out the classroom. Any parents who have further concerns or
that I feel the need to see privately we arrange a meeting
for beforeschool or afterschool. I really like this system.
Re: Conference Tips Needed!
Posted by Kim/1 on 7/18/01
My hall waiting area has a desk, chairs, paper, and writing
tools for the parents to write an encouraging note to their
child. This is put in the student's desk to be "discovered"
the next day by the child.

I always include the students if they want to be a part of the conference. I have soft instrumental music playing in the background. Sometimes I have cookies and juice or my famous jolly ranchers, I always have 2 full size adult chairs outside and 2 at my table with others close by incase Grandma comes too. I start out with a positive statement about the child, positive things academically, then things to work on. I go over my reading strategies, writing expectations and general curriculum yet to be covered and leave time for their questions. I also have my blocks out for little brothers and sisters to play with while we talk. If you have a concern with a student you may want to consider a double block of time
Dale Purlia

First question I always begin a conference with is, "How do you think ______________ is doing in my class?"

Re: Conference Tips Needed!
Posted by lynne on 7/19/01
One thing that has helped me a great deal is to send a parent
questionnaire home a week or so before conferences and I ask
that it be returned to me a few days BEFORE the conference.
It includes questions like: how does your child feel about
third grade and how much time does your child spend on
homework. The most important question I ask is if they have
any questions or concerns they would like to discuss at the
conference. This helps avoid any surprises at the conference
and lets me prepare ahead of time for the issues they want to