The Four P‟s of ParentTeacher Conferences by tyk13808


									                                    Staff Development

                                    FOCUS ON LEARNING
                                    Volume 1, Issue 2                    November 4, 2009

 The Four P‟s of Parent/Teacher Conferences        Adapted from The First 60 Days of Teaching by Robert L. DeBryun

Parents play an intimate, subjective, protective role in the lives of their children. When they go into a classroom, parents are thrown back to their own child-
hoods. They sit facing the teacher in small desks and have subconscious feelings of being small and powerless. If school was difficult or traumatic for
them, those are the ghosts floating about. From The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other by Dr. Sara Lightfoot, Harvard

What Parents Expect — Parents need teachers to                                                     Reframing Difficult Words and Phrases
     Know my child and set up clear expectations                                                     Adapted form First Year Teachers Notebook by Ginger Tucker
                                                                                                   Choosing the right words when you have difficult things to say is
     Know the curriculum, be available and keep me informed                            Instead of …                                          Say …
     Let me know specifically how I can help                                       Disinterested            Not involved
                                                                                   Lazy                     Has shown he can do more
     Promote success for my child and protect my child from embarrass-
     ment                                                                          Never does               Can do
                                                                                   Sloppy                   Could do neater work
     Provide fair & consistent discipline, alert me if my child is struggling, &   Stole                    Took without permission
     ask my advice about my child
                                                                                   Wastes time              Could make better use of time
                                                                                   Rude                     Inconsiderate of others

                                 Purposes                                                                            Preparation
     To deliver a progress report to parents & to receive info from parents              Pre-Conference
     that will help you teach the child more effectively.                                     *Collect student‟s work & figure student‟s grade
          *Have the data gathered; feel free to address all areas of the                      *Make an effort to have had a positive contact with parents prior
            student‟s development, intellectual, social, emotional.                            to conference.
          *Consider letting the parents voice their concerns first. Suggest              Physical Space
            a framework for your time: The first half on the parents‟
            concern and the last half on your objectives.                                     *Arrange adult chairs around a table.
     To establish a plan for reducing/eliminating an attitude/behavior                        *Have a welcome sign on the door with instructions. For example
     that impedes the child’s growth.                                                          Have a seat. I will come to get you for our appointment.
           *Frame the conference with the fact that you share a goal:                         *Have a clock at the table
            the success of the student. Keep a positive focus.                                *Have water, cups, peppermints & tissues on the table
                                                                                              *Have student work, textbooks, syllabus, MIGs, etc.
     To build a foundation of trust among all parties—parents, students,
     teachers and the school.                                                            Personal
          *By effectively working together with students/families to solve                    *Dress professionally & be welcoming, warm, appreciative &
            problems, you gain their trust.                                                    positive. Make eye contact.
                                                                                              *Control the conference.

                             Positive Talk                                                                                   Process
     Paraphrasing—communicates that the listener has heard the                           Beginning
     speaker, understood, and cares.                                                          *Welcome the parent with a handshake or what is culturally
          *In other words…           OR          *You have several concerns                    correct.
     Clarifying—communicates that the listener has heard the speaker,                         *Express appreciation/state your objective.
           BUT does NOT fully understand.                                                Middle
           *Tell me a little more about…                                                      *Keep discussion on track; be specific with comments & use
           *An example would help me understand…                                               concrete examples to support comments.
           *I‟m curious to know more about…                                                   *Do not place blame & try not to be defensive.
     Mediational Questions—Hypothesize what might happen,                                     *Avoid comparisons/references to other class members or
         analyze what worked or didn‟t, imagine possibilities, compare/                        siblings.
         contrast what was planned with what ensued.
                                                                                              *Avoid acronyms/jargon & focus on solutions; stress
          *What‟s another way you might…?                                                      collaboration.
          *What do you think would happen if…?                                           End
                                                                                              *Check for understanding & agreement.
            NOTE: “Why” tends to elicit a defensive response.                                 *Be sure there is a plan for follow-through.
                                                                                              *Reflect on conversation.
                                                                                              *Follow up with a note when appropriate/necessary.

                NOTE: If the parent asks you to call every week with a progress report, suggest you would welcome their weekly calls/e-mails.
 Building the Foundation with Continuous Classroom Improvement
                                               By Faith East, Staff Development
The Continuous Classroom Improvement process is the vehicle utilized to increase student engagement and student
achievement. Whether you are teaching in a school fully deploying CCI or one who wishes to try implementing the process,
a strong foundation is the place to start. The following components should be in place for a classroom foundation that will
maximize learning and help motivate students toward continual improvement: Developing Teacher/Student Relationships,
Classroom Mission Statement, and Classroom Norms.

                                         Developing Teacher/Student Relationships: To create an environment where both
                                         the teachers and students are willing to become partners for improving learning, the
                                         teacher must make an effort to develop teacher/student relationships. The teacher
                                         must provide a sense that the class is a team devoted to the well being of all its par-
                                         ticipants Teambuilding and class building activities help set this stage for students to
                                         be open and willing to take risks.

  The Classroom Mission Statement: Mission Statements define
  a purpose for the teacher, students, parents and other key
  stakeholders of the learning environment. It directs the focus of
  students, parents, and teachers to the learning goals. Effective
  mission statements are easily recalled and provide direction
  and motivation.

                                                                          10/29/2009                                            129

                                                       The Classroom Norms: Students participate in the creation of class
                                                       expectations and all agree to follow the expectations to accomplish the
                                                       mission of the class. Students will create their own list of what typically
                                                       are considered classroom rules.

  Walk in These Shoes
  By Marcia Hansen, Staff Development
 The first week of school while walking through the halls of Pipkin Middle School, a veteran teacher excitedly called me into her
 room. This teacher wanted to show me how she implemented her learning gained from attending Summer Academy. Classroom
 Management II was the academy she had attended, and not only was she implementing strategies from that workshop she prac-
 ticed, she was able to take away more. The presenter of CMII used a graphic organizer as agenda that looked like a giant road or
 strip of highway.
 The teacher liked the concept so much that she duplicated it for her classroom. She is using it to show her students the journey
 they will be taking through science for the whole year.
 The goal of staff development is not just to provide learning opportunities, but more importantly to move that learning from the
 workshop into the classroom. Seeing implementation was validating. But the rest of the conversation was motivating.
 She is thinking that maybe next year will be her last; she is planning for her retirement. So here is a teacher who has partici-
 pated in hundreds of workshops. She has been in the classroom for some time and has a huge knowledge base. It is a time
 when many would be thinking that there wasn‟t anything new to learn; she‟s out there continuing to learn. She continues to have
 fresh ideas and continues to hone her craft for the benefit of her students.
 l Iearned a lesson from her. I left feeling challenged to be like her. I am challenging you, too. Whether you are a novice teacher
 or a veteran teacher like me, look around your building, find that teacher who is a life-long learner, watch them, listen to them
 and endeavor to walk in their shoes.

November 4, 2009                                                                                                           Page 2
  Kodaly Levels Training for Music Educators
  By Vicky Scott, Cowden & Holland Elementary

 From June 28th through July 10th, I participated in the               ing pertained to improving personal musicianship
 Kodaly Levels Training for music educators, sponsored by              skills in the areas of solfege sight-reading, melodic
 Kodaly of the Ozarks, a chapter of OAKE , the Organiza-               and harmonic dictation, choral conducting, and cho-
 tion of American Kodaly Educators.           The Kodaly               ral singing, while the other half related to materials
 (pronounced KOH-dye) Methodology is built upon the                    and methodology to be used in the music classroom.
 teachings of Hungarian composer and music educator                    During the materials and methodology portions, par-
 Zoltan Kodaly. The methodology is based upon these                    ticipants reviewed materials, planned lessons, and
 main ideas:                                                           taught those lessons to our peers. We received im-
                                                                       mediate feedback on our teaching from peers and
     The voice is the most natural instrument and one
                                                                       our instructor. This process allowed us to improve
     which every child possesses; thus, learning through
                                                                       our teaching by focusing on specific elements within
     singing should precede instrumental training
                                                                       the Kodaly methodology.
     Folk music is the music of the people, and it has all
                                                                       Having completed Level 1 (materials and methodology
     the basic characteristics needed to teach the foun-
                                                                       for K-1) and Level 2 (grades 2/3) in previous summers,
     dations of music and to develop a love of music,
                                                                       I was thrilled to receive funding through our district
     which will last a lifetime.
                                                                       PDC in order to complete Level 3 (grades 4/5). Com-
     Solfege (singing using sol-fa syllables) is the best tool         pleting the Kodaly Levels training has focused my
     for developing the inner ear.                                     teaching, and broadened my content knowledge. It has
                                                                       allowed my students the opportunity to learn in a devel-
     Only the best music should be used for teaching:
                                                                       opmentally appropriate, sequential manner in which
     folk music, because it is representative of the child‟s
                                                                       they are highly engaged participants in the music mak-
     culture, and the best music composed by the musi-
                                                                       ing process.
     cal masters

     Presentation of materials, concepts, and develop-
     ment of skills must be well sequenced. A Kodaly                   “Teach music and singing at school in such a way that
     sequenced curriculum is an experience-based ap-                   it is not a torture but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst
     proach to learning.                                               for finer music in him, a thirst that will last a lifetime.”

    The training I completed was two fold: half the train-                                                — Zoltan Kodaly

  Early Literacy
 Wendy Russell, Terre Redmon and Amy Woodward, from Bingham Elementary, attended SDE‟s 10th Annual Conference for
 Missouri Kindergarten Teachers at Tantara, July 23-24. The sessions included valuable information on Literacy, Guided Read-
 ing, Math and Brained Based Research using R.T.I.

 Shari Sloane, a teacher who has taught kindergarten for 24 years, presented a multitude of suggestions in which material can
 be taught in fun and creative ways. It was obvious that her children truly enjoy school and that she instills in children a love for
 learning. We learned that Literacy is much more than just learning how to read. It encompasses knowledge of how to read,
 write and use language in meaningful ways.

 Mrs. Sloane stressed that it is important to have routines in kindergarten. Her daily schedule includes Literacy Centers and
 Math Centers. She also thinks it „s very important to give children a “Choice Time” each day where they get to select their cen-
 ters. She does have creative play centers in her classroom including a house area and block center. All of her ideas are avail-
 able for free on her website: She also has great links to other primary grade websites via her site.
 Our favorite ideas included: 1. Write sight words on 1 1/2” wide elastic and then practice “stretching” out words with your
 class. 2. Use lots of teacher made big books (pictures are on her site) with song lyrics printed out so that children can follow
 along with the text as they sing. 3. Put mini beanie babies on the ends of dowel rods and uses them as pointers when reading
 charts or when “reading around the room”.

November 4, 2009                                                                                                             Page 3
COOPERATIVE LEARNING                                                                          PDC Survey to
                                                                                              Appear On-Line
STRUCTURE OF THE MONTH                                                                   By Dr. Gwen Burns, PDC Member
                                                                                                  Don‟t miss your opportunity
               THREE STEP INTERVIEW                                                      to provide input on how the PDC can
                                                                                         help you meet the needs of your stu-
     In Three Step Interview, one student interviews another within specified time       dents! Each year, the District Profes-
 limits. The students reverse roles and share what they learned with another
 pair.                                                                                   sional    Development     Committee
     This structure reinforces listening and probing skills, thereby making it a great   (PDC) provides the opportunity for
 team builder. It is useful when the teacher creates new teams. It also helps
 students process and rehearse information in content, and results in shared             you to express your professional
 insights.                                                                               learning needs through an online
     Used at the beginning of a class period, the readings-based questions give          needs assessment survey.
 students immediate feedback under low-risk conditions on their understanding
 of the assigned material. As you monitor the interviews, you can also determine
 how well the students have responded to the readings and possibly incorporate                    This survey is administered
 some of their ideas into a follow-up lecture/discussion.                                in direct response to MSIP Standard
     Remember, explicit modeling of the structure helps ensure success. An               6.7, which requires an annual needs
 added bonus to modeling Three Step Interview is that your students will gain a
 bit of insight into your life, thereby helping you build rapport.                       assessment.       All certified staff,
     Once your students have learned Three Step Interview as a team builder, it          teachers, counselors, and librarians
 can be used as an anticipatory set or as a strategy to explore concepts in depth        will be able to access and complete
 through student roles. According to the Center for Teaching Effectiveness at the
 University of Texas at Austin, this structure, developed by Spencer Kagan               the survey from school computers.
 (1989), also helps students reinforce and internalize important concept-related
 information based on lectures or textbook material.                                     To access the survey, simply go to
 Set Up:                                                                                 the Staff Development home page,
 Teacher provides topic, states duration of the interview, and provides think time.      you will find the survey link listed on
                                                                                         this page.
 Sample “interview” questions to get students‟ brains going.
                                                                                                  The survey will be available
 Directions:                                                                             on-line by Tuesday, December 1, and
 1. Students are paired into “A” and “B” partners                                        should be completed no later than
 2. Teacher gives student “A” an allotment of time to interview his/her partner          Friday, January 15, 2010. You will
 3. Teacher gives student “B” an allotment of time to interview his/her partner          find the survey to be brief and con-
 4. Students prepare remarks for their introduction to other team members.               cise, yet very informative to the PDC
    Each member of the group introduces the partner interviewed, sharing                 in working on continued goals for the
    Interesting points.                                                                  Springfield School District.
 5. Student “A” in each pair introduces his/her partner to the team.                              The members of the Spring-
 6. Student “B” in each pair introduces his/her partner to the team.                     field PDC will confidentially use the
                                                                                         data that is revealed on the survey to
 Hints:                                                                                  identify areas of need and determine
      Ask students to turn notes upside down when listening to another‟s intro-          if they have reached their goals for
      duction.                                                                           serving the district‟s personnel. You
      Discuss what active listening looks and sounds like before engaging in the         may view the district‟s current PDC
                                                                                         goals by logging onto the SPS web
      Remind students to “frame it in decency” both for the answers and the inter-
      view questions (older students).                                                   page and choosing the Staff Develop-
                                                                                         ment link.
 Other options:                                                                                  The Professional Develop-
      Teacher can provide interview questions or may assign character roles for          ment Committee greatly appreciates
      the interview process.
                                                                                         and values your responses.
      An extra question can be added for a “sponge”.

          Developed and copyrighted by Kagan Professional Development.
                    (800) 933-2667 or

November 4, 2009                                                                                                     Page 4

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