“Parent-Teacher Conferences” are usually held in the fall of each school year. I like to frame it differently because, really, it should be student-centered. So, I call it “Student-Led Conferences.”
Because I teach ~125 students, it’s not realistic to meet with all parents during the conferences. Instead, I meet with those who are consistently earning a C- or below. For the others, I have them complete a student-led conference as a way to celebrate their progress and also have that communication with their parent(s) and/or guardian(s). Finally, I try to give myself this week as my goal week to ensure I’ve touched base 1-1 with each students’ family either through a phone call, email, postcard home, or in person meeting. Sharing the POSITIVES is so important, and it’s one of our favorite things to do as educators.
Conference sign ups with Parent(s) and Guardian(s) using Google Forms and Add-On “Choice Eliminator Lite”
There are different ways you can ask students to sign up for conferences. I’ve found creating a Google Form with the “Choice Eliminator Lite” add-on is a great way to collect sign ups. The add-on automatically removes a date and time option when someone else selects it. All results can be transferred and organized into a Google Sheets. See video below on how to do this:
Student Action Plan
Students are asked to complete this prior to the conference. I also ask parents to review it with their child and sign it prior to the conference. This is a great way to give students some think time and allow parents to have a preview of some of the things we will discuss during the conference.
Student Action Plan Form Template
Student Directions: After reviewing your grade report and self-evaluating your progress in this class, please find one or more assignments you are proud of. Then. answer the following questions:
1. How are you doing in (subject)?
2. What is one assignment you are particularly proud of?
3. What are you struggling with the most?
4. What have you done to help or improve your grade?
5. What are three action steps you can take for the remainder of the trimester and year to improve?
6. How would you describe your teamwork and leadership in this class? Think of behavior, participation, and cooperation with others? Do you contribute to the learning atmosphere in class? What can you do to become a more positive, active member of our classroom?
Student-Led Conference/Progress Notice Reflection Letter
Reflection Letter Template
I just finished the first six weeks of trimester 1 in eighth-grade. I am most proud of ____________ because ___________. The subject(s) that I find most challenging is (are) ____________because I _________. Ways that I can improve are ___________________________. This will help me by ____________________.
Right now, I have a _____ GPA. By the end of the trimester, I would like to earn a ____ GPA. If I could give myself an overall mark for work habits, I would give myself a ____ (O, G, S, N, or U and delete this text)* because ______. If I could give myself an overall mark for citizenship, I would give myself a ____ (O, G, S, N, or U and delete this text)* because _____.
Three main action steps I will take to achieve my goal of a _____ GPA by the end of the trimester is:
Three main action steps I will do to take care of my physical and mental health and wellness include:
*We have created a rubric at my school for work habits and citizenship. Teachers are asked to give work habits and citizenship marks. It’s always a great strategy for students to self-assess where they are as well on the rubric. RUBRIC resource
Share the Positives
Finally, I give myself until mid-October as a deadline to ensure I’ve connected 1-1 with each students’ family, even if it’s to send a quick note home about something they’re doing that is positive. You can easily collect parent emails all in one place as well as their preferred method of contact on a Family Insight Questionnaire. Log this on your parent contact log. See the link for more information, resources, and a how-to video.
Some ideas to send positive messages home:
- Email home
- Phone call home
- Hand-written note home sent with student
- Post card home mailed to student (our school will pay for postage ~ so awesome!)
- Write a little note on their reflection letter that is going home next to where the parent(s)/guardian(s) will sign
Do you have another idea? Share it below!