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Friday, April 7, 2017
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Great blog post about Google Classroom....from a parent's perspective. Great tips!
Friday, March 31, 2017
Written by Kathy Werner, from Goodland Junior & Senior FCCLA
Ready…Set…Go… and we’re off to State FCCLA conference. The STAR Events qualified, the officers have been elected, jackets ordered here we go. Wait a minute is that really all??? Taking students to a conference, whether it is State, Clusters or National Leadership Conference takes a lot of planning. Now don’t let that scare you. You have resources which can make this easier than it seems.
1. Know what you need to know. State conference comes with a variety of responsibilities. You have your students, travel, money and many other activities that go along with it. Find out far in advance what will be expected of you, the advisor, at the conference. Will you be judging an event, will you chaperone a dance, will you be checking dress code? Whatever it is know in advance. It is a given that you will be the busiest person from your chapter at conference.
2. Start with your school policies. The paperwork needed by the school isn’t difficult to complete but if forgotten you may be walking by the side of the road hoping that your rival school will pick you up. Administrators, secretaries, or transportation directors are great about sitting down with you to make sure you have everything you need. Get it done early, as soon as you know who you are taking.
3. Parents, you know those wonderful people who gave you the members in the first place These people are entrusting you with their little darlings and want nothing more than to be informed. Set up an evening meeting with them, have paperwork ready to be signed, give all the necessary contact information and best of all find out which one (or more) are dying to go on this trip with you. The more adult minds on the bus anticipating the teenage antics, the better. (We will talk more about this later). On a side note if one of your parents is a notary have them bring their stamp along, your paperwork will thank you. Speaking of parents, let’s talk fundraising, after all Mom does not stand for Made of Money.
4. Money makes the world go round, that clinking, clanking sound. You will need money! Conferences have their own set of costs and you do not want to have students left behind because their part time job only pays for gas in their car. Some schools are WONDERFUL, they provide the bus and driver, they pay registration, they even give a meal allotment…then there are the rest of us. Be creative, explore fundraisers that do not require selling trinkets, have a dinner, or best of all develop a partnership with an adult service organization who is willing to give you financial support. Spreading the financial responsibility will be appreciated by everyone.
5. Chaperones, the other “old folks” on the bus. A support system of chaperones can be the key to a successful trip. Select parents that are familiar with the students and also familiar with your organization. Make sure that you are all on the same page with student expectations. Have a training session before you go to include what their roles will include. Once you have them hooked you will have their support in all you do. Their help may even prevent the next category.
6. Oh no, I’m missing a kid at room check. Face it, no matter how good the students that you brought really are, they are away from home and their usual rules and regulations. One of them may try to push the limits. Wait that is the key word, limits. Before you go set clear limits with reasonable consequences. Review the rules with both students and parents. Make sure that the parents are on the same page with you (refer back to the parent meeting). We all hope it never happens but if you have to make that phone call home there will be no question that you have set clear guidelines before you left.
7. What do I do now that I’m home. So you have made it through the three days, lack of sleep and all. You are on the bus, you are headed home, what now? Now is the time for PR. Put together a press release, let the community know that you have the districts greatest kids are in your organization. Ask to speak at the next school board meeting. Boards are always interested in knowing that their students and teachers are working hard and succeeding. Practice the third “R”, recruit, retain and recognize. Have a celebration. You deserve it.
8. Have fun. Travel and conferences are the perfect time to bond with your members. They are kids and just want to feel like they matter. They will see you as someone who took their time to make a difference for them so laugh a little, dance in the circle and let your “human” show. Those memories are what they will still talk about at their 10 year reunion.
Remember this is a learning process. Even after teaching forever I am still learning so keep notes of what you did well, what you might change and ideas for something new. When next year rolls around you will feel like an expert…or at least not quite as worried.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Parents are your friends. They want to partner with you. They want to see their child succeed more than anything else. Parent conferences might be an opportunity for you to surface your beliefs about parents and reflect on them, but when you engage with parents, even if you hold some doubts about them, put those aside. Welcome every parent as your strongest ally in working with your student (their child).
2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
What is your goal or objective for the time you have with parents? What exactly do you want to communicate? What would you like the outcome of this meeting to be?
Here's an example: My goal in Maria's conference is for her mom to see the growth she's made in writing this fall and to determine some ways that she can be more organized. I also want to hear her mom's perspective on the social challenges she's dealing with.
Then prepare your materials. Have notes, tests, and work samples, but plan exactly what you want to share. Don't just sit down with parents and open a massive folder bursting with student work. Put sticky notes on the items you want to share, select the best examples of the growth, and jot down a few notes.
3. Be Solution Oriented
Be specific when asking for change. Telling a parent, "He's distracted a lot," is useless. What is the parent (who isn't sitting next to her child all day) supposed to do with that piece of information? How can she help her child or the teacher?
Whatever support you ask from a parent needs to be something that is within her sphere of influence. Asking a parent: "Can you talk to him about being more focused?" is possible, and parents can talk and talk, but the results might be limited.
A teacher could say: "I'm concerned because your son is often distracted during independent work in my class. Here's what I'm doing to try to help him . . . . Do you see this behavior at home ever? Do you have any other ideas for things I could try? Can you think of anything you might be able to do?"
Always convey a growth mindset. All behaviors can change given the right conditions. If you want to see changes and have concerns about a student, be prepared to offer specific, actionable solutions.
4. Take the Opportunity to Learn
What could you ask parents that might help you better support your student? What would you like to know? If this is the first time you're sitting down with parents, it's a great opportunity to hear their perspective on their child's school experience so far, on what their child likes to do outside of school, on the questions, and concerns they have about their child. So what do you want to ask?
5. Show that You Care
For parents, conferences can be terrifying or wonderful. As a parent, I have sat across from teachers whose feelings I couldn't identify -- I actually questioned whether or not they cared about my son as a human being and as a student. I have also sat across from teachers who I wanted to jump up and hug; they so clearly cared about my boy.
Don't underestimate the power of the positive, and lead with it. Be specific in the positive data you share -- tell an anecdote or show a piece of work. Make sure you truly feel this positivity. We can all sniff out empty praise. There is always, always something positive and praise-worthy about every single child. It's your job to find it and share that data with parents.
(Shared from Lori Hamilton, Greenbush email@example.com)
(Shared from Lori Hamilton, Greenbush firstname.lastname@example.org)