Parent Teacher Conference Game

9 Nov

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 11.31.06 AMI have one finely honed skill that serves me better in the classroom than all the rest: I know when I should steal a great idea. Well, I am not really stealing an idea if I give credit, and the person who originated the idea is sharing it freely.

No single teacher can always be the perfect creative force who whips up an appropriate and effective solution to every teaching dilemma. We educators work best when we work together…or we at least share. At its core, sharing is what this blog is all about, so here is a great idea for your next parent/teacher conference. I just finished mine.

Thankfully, at my school we really hold parent/teacher/student conferences; the student does most of the talking. In the past, I have always been a bit flummoxed as to how to get every student to talk precisely and honestly about his or her class work. My excelling students spoke articulately about their work, but my struggling students…well…struggled to pinpoint what they needed to do to improve.

This last time around, however, I stole an idea from my colleague that worked perfectly. You should steal it, too. Here is the explanation video he sent to us:   I adapted Richie Winn’s system a bit. Here’s my explanation (in video and text):  

Steps to this year’s parent/teacher/student conferences:

  1. I explained the card system to the student, and let her start to sort.
  2. While she worked, I pulled up the student’s grades and ensured the parents understood the grade categories and knew how to find them online. This took about two minutes.
  3. We then turned back to the student, who talked for another eight minutes about her strengths and areas to improve.
  4. When necessary, I would move a card around and give my input.
  5. At the end of the conference, students or parents snapped a photo of the cards and left with a concrete list of how the student could find even more success.

Cards I used for English/humanities Grade 6:

  • Writing Organized Paragraphs (using PEEL structure)
  • Large Group Discussions/Activities
  • Small Group Discussions/Activities
  • Asking for Help (when needed)
  • Staying Organized (bringing class materials/meeting deadlines)
  • Reading in-class (assigned)
  • Reading at home (choice)
  • Reading Directions Carefully
  • Avoiding Run-ons and Fragments
  • Knowing All 8 Parts of Speech

Cards I used for English Grade 10:

  • Writing in an organized, stylish manner
  • Using the revision process effectively
  • Staying organized (materials and deadlines)
  • Asking for help (when needed)
  • Large group discussions/activities
  • Small group discussions/activities
  • Reading in-class (assigned)
  • Reading at home (choice)
  • Grammar
  • Commentary (creating original analysis)
  • Concrete Detail (using supporting evidence)

If you like this idea and it works for you, let me know. I’ll pass on the good vibes to my clever colleague who shared this system with me.

5 Responses to “Parent Teacher Conference Game”

  1. Kathleen R November 9, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    I was going to write this up too, but you beat me to it.

    • rbneal November 10, 2014 at 2:04 am #

      That’s a first. I’m usually glacial in comparison to you…in all things. 🙂

  2. Saskia November 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Love the idea! It came just in time for our parent- teacher-student conferences next week, too. I think I’ll give it a try!

    • rbneal November 10, 2014 at 1:56 am #

      Great news, Saskia. I’ll tell Richie that his good idea is spreading. Sorry I missed you during your visit to the ‘Orschel earlier this year. Next time, next time. 🙂

      • Saskia November 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

        Hi Robin, I did try it fir my younger students and it worked really well! Next time I will make cards for my 11th graders too. Thanks again for the tip, and for all the other great stuff on your site. I’m a fan!

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