Sunday, November 10, 2013

Conference Week=Exhaustion

Whew! Week one of conferences is OVER!  As I mentioned on an earlier post, I said that we do our conferences for 2 Thursday nights and 1 full Friday.  It's a lot.  The first Thursday, we do not have school on Friday because that is the Friday conference day.  The second Thursday, we do have school the Friday after.  It makes for an exhausting 2 weeks!  I am curious: how do your conferences go?  Do you also have multiple days?

Luckily, conference prep is minimal stress for me, because I use everything from my conference pack.  It's truly been a life-saver the past few years.  I shared it with my teammates {2 of which are subs} and they were ecstatic to have it to help them get organized.

The week of conferences, I give my students the self-evaluation.  I am always blown away at how honest they are!  They know that they'll be sharing it at conferences and they want to tell the truth.  Also during the week of, I purchase items for my conference treats {more about these at the bottom of this post}.

The day of conferences,  I  get the area right outside my door ready by putting out a tub of books with my sign and a few chairs.  Books are nice to have out because just in case I run behind, there is something for the kids to do while waiting.  I also set up my conference "Giving Tree."  The giving tree gives parents an opportunity to help out by donating products that we frequently use in our classroom {napkins, cups, plates, Clorox wipes, extra crayons, markers, etc...}.  They sign up for an item on the sign up sheet and take the apple as a reminder to purchase it.

book tub
This is the worst tree I've ever seen.  It looks like an ice-cream cone {no judging!!!}!
I have lots of handouts copied and ready for parents.  This year, I used my Spelling & Math ideas {both included in my pack}, a list of educational websites {from A Year of Many Firsts}, Fry word lists for 1st and 2nd grade {from my Writing Workshop Resource Kit}, and a list of books leveled by guided reading levels {I've had this for years and do not have a digital sorry!}.  The parents are so appreciative to get these ideas to use at home! *Sidebar: yes, that is a timer in the background.  If you are a new teacher, I recommend setting it to keep you on track.  I have mine out just in case!  Parents do not like to wait!

handouts for parents 
We include students in our conferences at my building.  I like it because it gives the kids ownership of their learning and progress and also allows for them to reflect on their behavior and progress.  We begin by going over the self-evaluation.  Next, we move on to information in the student data binders.  Both students and parents are familiar with this information because we've been using our binders all year.  They also serve as take-home folders, so the parents see the data being updated constantly.  On conference days, I ask students to leave their binders and conference coloring sheets on their desks.

student desk 
When running my conferences, I refer to my conference notes sheets to help guide the conversation.  I like these because they help me remember key points that I want to share with families.  As the conference concludes, I give out a treat.  Last year I gave s'mores.  This year I did popcorn.

parent gifts 
I have found my conference pack to be such a useful tool and have received nothing but fantastic feedback from teachers all around the world.  It is my #1 selling product in my store.  Take a moment to check it out if you haven't already!  There are several editable pages included for you.  I also have a fully editable, ESL version!  I hope your conferences went/are going well!



teachtrue2 said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

We have conferences over a period of a week, with early dismissal each day. Pros:conferences occur over a period of a week. Cons: You have to teach for most of a day before having conferences.

Diane Miller said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Love your conference pack! At my school conferences are 2 full days, Thursday and Friday. It's nice but just like any other conference...exhausting! I try to get them all done by lunchtime Friday...that way I can make sure i'm ready for the next week, talk with my team about upcoming events or just plain take a few minutes to chit chat with teachers I hardly see!!

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