I've been listening carefully looking for trends with regard to requests and questions, trends that will result in pruning the program to best meet students' needs and interests.
This year's conferences profited from many actions that I want to repeat in the future. The actions included the following:
- Plenty of lead time for scheduling.
- Student folders that include the essential family/student information. (It's best to be thoughtful about these folders beginning with move-up day).
- An online schedule posted each week in the newsletter for easy parent/teach reference.
- A rolling file full of student efforts including benchmark standardized test scores related to foundation skills and examples of student writing, reading, and math.
- A circular table. I wish I had a few more adult chairs though as I only have one "big chair" in the class. Perhaps I'll get some of those for next year.
- Computer for easy reference to other information.
- Paper and pens for note taking (most of the time I had those).
- A check list for my own use showing student growth and indicating areas for discussion.
- Scheduling all the conferences in one week has kept the focus targeted on similar subjects and issues which makes the result so much better for the teaching/learning environment. This is a positive change from the six week roll out I used to do.
I'm fortunate to work with a class where every child has loving, caring parents--parents who make the time to put their children first. That makes a teacher's job so much more successful. The tech has also fostered greater community since regular share and back-and-forth questions are so easy to manage and produce.
There's a few more conferences to go, and I must say, this year's plan is a keeper.