Parent conferences can cause some major anxiety, right? I've had some horrendous conferences over the years because I was:
1. not prepared or organized
2. parents caught me off guard when they brought up something I had no idea was even an issue
Don't make my same mistakes!!! I made a video here about my favorite parent conference tips and I asked some of the teachers in the Easy Teaching Tools Primary Teachers group about their very best conference tips.
1. “Use Sign Up Genius to organize conferences and have parents sign up. It saves time and also sends reminders a few days before the conference, which takes that task off your plate!” See how to set it up here. Kristen Easy Teaching Tools
2. “Always have student work samples to support what you’re saying. Not only is it great evidence of effort but parents love to see what there students work.” Tasha from Great Minds Teach Alike
3. “I write out the conference form ahead of time and add to it if I need to during the meeting. Saves time from having to complete it during the conference, plus it’s a good reference to make sure you cover everything you wanted to say.” Amy- Kinder
4. “I always have 2 students work samples- their child plus a typical, on grade level student. (I block out the name of course). It’s eye opening for some parents to see.” Danielle-Kinder
Resources for Parents
5. “This year I prepared resources to help strengthen areas of need that I was bringing up at my conferences. I had phonics blending cards, writing paper, and math games. When I brought up that area, it was so helpful to be able to provide a tool to practice that skill. Parents were so appreciative.” Karis-1st grade
6. “I think that it's good to point out both the child's strengths and weaknesses during the conference so that parents and students, who I truly believe need to come to these conferences, get that you can have issues in one thing but still be good at others. I also think it's important to have ideas for parents to use to help their child in whatever area they need help in.” Victoria-1st
7. “I always start out asking parents how their child likes kindergarten (or whatever grade…) that way they start the convo first and then I lead into academics first with assessments and work and then address behavior.” Carrie
8. “I always ask parents if they have any questions at the end. It's scary to ask because it's like opening a can of worms, but it really makes parents feel more comfortable and such a small gesture can really open up lines of communication!” Rebekah
9. “I send home a form asking for any specifics they would like to discuss during conferences or questions they have. This helps me prepare before for what they are really interested in knowing.” Jaclyn
10. Use a pre conference form to get parent input. Kristen Easy Teaching Tools
11. “I always start with the positives/strengths and then discuss what we need to work on together.” Cindy
12. “Sandwich the negative between two positives. Make it clear that you believe in the student and know they are capable of making progress. End the conference by encouraging the parent to contact you with any questions or concerns that arise throughout the year.” Britney-5th
Students in Charge
13. “At my school, some of us piloted student led conferences. They have gone very well! I always like having the students attend them if possible, but student led give the kids much more accountability and ownership. It also made the conferences very positive.” Debbie
14. “I love to have the kids complete a self reflection worksheet on math, reading and writing and there's also an area for effort and behavior. I make sure the kids are very honest. It kinda takes the heat off of me when I show the parent that their own child thinks they are too chatty and scores themselves down. It opens the door for me to agree with what the child wrote and I'm not the ‘bad'guy. I love using this technique.” Vicky-3rd grade
15. “We do student lead conferences. It's hard to let go but listening to students share their progress and learning is an amazing thing. I also do not allow siblings to come in (unless it's not avoidable). This is my students time to shine. I full out a paper before hand on each students strengths and areas I would love to see some extra work in/on. I also send home fun ways to practice things at home.” Chajua
Would you add anything to the list?
Karis Jewell says
Thanks for adding my tip! I hope it helps! This blog post is a great resource I am going to save! You’re amazing!