Student Self-Evaluation for Parent Teacher Conferences

Self Evaluation Preview

Parent teacher conferences are stressful. There are so many things that teachers want to show parents that  it’s hard to remember everything! Hand each of your students one of these pages and let them tell their parents about how they’ve done! One less thing for you to do! Also, I’ve found that giving students a self-reflection page before handing out grades, helps kids be less surprised by their grades.

Get the free PDF from my recent post over at We Are Teachers!

Awesome Test Prep Ideas

test prep ideasIt’s official. Test review season is upon us! Here are some ideas to help make your standardized testing prep a little less painful and more effective:

  • Play TONS of review games. Change up the teams frequently for the best results. Click here for a list of BOMBtastic review games!
  • Come up with a theme and a mascot to cheer you on. Use the theme in review games, certificates of achievements, rewards, etc.
  • Laminate station rotation tracking charts and have kids use overhead markers to track their progress through the stations.
  • Use your old benchmark tests as review questions for your review games.
  • Start a review system early on in the year, so your kids will not have to go as long between learning new content and the standardized test.
  • “Test prep does not always have to take place at a desk with a number 2 pencil in hand.  Instead, try having students answer questions in one of the following ways:
  • Label each wall in your classroom either A, B, C, or D. When reviewing answers, have students move to the wall labeled with the multiple-choice answer they chose.
  • Give students different colored pieces of paper or Popsicle sticks.  Each color can correlate to a multiple-choice answer (red is A, blue is B, etc.).  Have students hold up the color based on which answer they chose.
  • Turn your classroom into a museum by creating a gallery walk. Hang test prep questions around the classroom, students can move silently, in partners, or to music to the different “exhibits” around the room. They can then answer the questions on a worksheet or in a notebook that they carry around the room with them.” (Bottom four bullet points from Ashley, Teach For America)

Need more ideas? Check out my golfing review game or no prep Jeopardy.

25 Parent-Teacher Conference Tips for New Teachers

Parent Teacher Conferences TIPS- stickerParent teacher conferences (PTC) can be intimidating for new teachers. Here are 25 tips to help you survive PTC (and get the most out of it!):

Before PTC:

  • In the weeks prior to PTC Collect samples of student work, record impressions of student progress and behavior.
  • Plan how students will be involved in the conference. If students are presenting work or progress, give them a chance to look over materials and prepare.
  • Contact parents (note, email, etc.) telling them you’re looking forward to meeting them to discuss their child’s progress.
  • Come up with a system for parents to easily schedule a time to see you. (Some schools run their PTC differently, so check with your principal if you’re unsure.)
  • A day before PTC, remind parents about the conference!
  • For parents who are unable to physically attend, arrange for a make-up conference. For tech-savvy parents, consider scheduling a virtual face-to-face meeting using Skype or FaceTime.
  • Brainstorm questions parents might ask and plan your answers. Think about ways parents support their child’s learning outside the classroom. Create a list of educational resources (websites and apps, special programs, books, etc.), then highlight specific ones that are a good fit for each student.
  • If there’s a specific conference you’d like another staff member (your principal, special education teacher, school psychologist, translator, etc.) to be a part of, let them know ahead of time.
  • Look ahead in your schedule for times when you can meet/talk with parents who need additional time with you. Be prepared to suggest these times if a conference goes over time.
  • Bring a notebook or something to write down a post-PTC to-do list (things you’ll need to check on, things to implement with specific students, etc.)
  • Pack snacks for conference days! Bring plenty of water and a non-messy snack to help give you energy. PTC can go fast, but you’ve got a whole class to do, so be prepared!

During PTC:

  • Start and end on time. It shows respect for everyone and will help make sure you’re not there until crazy late.
  • Share a quick agenda at the start of each conference so parents know what you will cover and what the general timing of the conference.
  • Listen to parents! They usually know their kid really well and may have some valuable insight for you!
  • Ask parents how they feel the school year is going and how they feel their child is doing.
  • Be positive. Share several specific examples of the child’s strengths, successful performance on projects and behavior.
  • Share true concerns. Choose one or two opportunities for improvement ties to age appropriate skills and standards. Seek feedback from the parent (and student, if present) to form a plan.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! “Is there anything you think I should know that would help me serve your child better?”
  • Without being nosy, ask parents to keep you informed about home/family situations can affect their child’s learning and school work (e.g. family illness, divorce, job loss).
  • Invite parents to participate! Parents are a great resource with a wide range of experiences and skills. When parents participate in their child’s education, it shows their children that they value education (which helps lead to student success).  Plan ways for parents to participate both at school and from home.
  • Keep a count-down timer handy with a gentle alert 5 or 3 minutes prior to the conference end time.
  • Suggest a time to continue the conference if you start to go over time. Politely assure parents that you are very interested in discussing the issue further, but that you need to meet with the next family.
  • Thank parents for attending and be genuine about it. Without their support, students in their class would have a really tough time succeeding!
    Give parents a small sheet with your contact information on it (and any other important resources, like school website, class blog, etc.). This will ensure continued communication.

After PTC:

  • Follow through on any action items you discussed with parents (check your to-do list). Let them know the outcome.
  • Tell your principal or administrator any concerns you have regarding the conference.
  • (Bonus tip: BREATHE! and congratulate yourself and your fellow teachers for surviving! Take yourself out to dinner or take a warm bubble bath. You deserve it!)

For administrator looking to give their faculty some tips and ideas, here’s a great 8 page printable packet from the Harvard Family Research Project or a 3 page printable packet from Washoe County School District (NV).

Guest Post: Exam Time – What it Lets Teachers and Students Do

During the exams, the teachers help the students prepare for their exams. Here are some of the ways the teacher may assist the students in preparation of the exam:

  • Incorporation of videos in the class. It is said that students retain 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear 20% of what they see. That means when using the videos the students will be able to retain 50% and this will go a long way in helping them in memory during exams.
  • Incorporation of computer or video games into the class. It is believed that people are able to retain 80% of what they experience. The games help the students develop skills such as teamwork, problem solving, calculations, and negotiations and even increase their motivation. Biologically it has been proven that it helps in creation of attention which becomes very helpful when preparing for an exam.
  • The teachers design study to make it simple for the students by using Technology. Instead of a teacher giving students the whole chapter for assignments, the teacher may decide to take a different route and break down the assignments into small bits that will be easy for the students to understand and also would encourage the students to read at any time they could read when traveling or in bed just before they retire this makes studies become easier and helps students pass their exams.
  • The teachers may decide to flip their classroom and make it more interactive by this the teachers may share videos at home. This helps strengthen the teacher-student relationship as a result creates a conducive atmosphere for learning in class. It also helps the teacher and students to interact one on one enabling the teacher to know the students weakness and help them. The students master their courses at their own time and are free to ask the teachers questions that may assist them during their exam.

Some of the problems a teacher may face when preparing the students for the exams may include:

  • It gets to be so stressful for students and this affects the teachers.
  • The preparation classes can become very boring.
  • Sometimes the time is not enough for preparation of the exam.
  • Teachers may also find it hard to get the materials for preparation of the exam.

Yet in many ways the preparation class can be seen as a positive thing;

  • At that time the students are all working towards the same goal.
  • The students are motivated to pass their exams.
  • It also justifies that what teachers teach in class is useful.
  • Both the teachers and students are challenged alike.
  • The results of the exams also encourages both the students and the teachers and helps them know they are doing well.

About the Author: Joana Armie is a blogger from London, UK. She has interest in reading and writing articles. As of now she is busy doing a research work on UK passport, which explains about procedure for applying for a passport.

Simple Organizational Improvements For Your Classroom

1. Use multiple bins to collect work your students submit to you. This way, they’re already sorted and easier for you to grade! I use stackable paper trays to save space.P1030356


2. Place fabric pockets in the area where you teach from most. Then you can store commonly used papers, forms or reference materials for you to grab at a moments noticeP1030590.




3. I don’t know about you, but sharpening pencils is the bane of my existence! Designate two containers for pencil storage (one of broken pencils that need sharpened  and one for freshly sharpened pencils for kids to grab). I used to have one student be the pencil sharpener for the week.P1030599


4.Collect important writing samples or projects in a bin. Give each student a file folder and collect important paperwork throughout the year. Then “all” you have to do at parent teacher conferences is grab the bin and hand over the work samples to proud parents.P1030699


5. This next idea is PURE GENIUS! I learned this trick from my mentor teacher during student teaching (way back in the day). Designate a tote or box for a super secret purpose: a secret recycle bin! Students don’t work as hard when they know their teacher isn’t going to look at their paper. So use this bin to collect papers you don’t need to look at, but still want kids to work hard on. At the end of the day when all the students are gone, you can recycle the paperwork and keep your students’ desks clutter free! The picture above is from a lower grade classroom that doesn’t have any turn in bins. So this teacher just calls the secret bin the “turn in bin.”P1050972


6. Track your students’ reading progress with a laminated file folder. Divide it into sections using whatever lingo your district or state uses. The photo above uses benchmark, strategic, intensive to indicate at, slightly below and way below grade level. Use sharpie to designate areas of the folder according to words per minute, etc. Then give each student a sticky tab according to where they are at the beginning of the year. This allows you to see who’s made significant progress throughout the year. For example, this teacher used green to indicate at grade level, yellow for slightly below, and pink for way below grade level. She writes the words per minute (or whatever you’re tracking) on the sticky tab as you assess the students throughout the year. When you’re not using the folder, fold it up and keep it away from curious student eyes. P1050973

Getting Kids Pumped for Standardized Testing

Here’s a cute video submitted by an AZ elementary school. The AZ state test is called AIMS, and the video is a parody of Taio Cruz’s song, “Dynamite”. They made this video and used it to get the kids jazzed about the upcoming tests. Great idea!

Click here to see their video on YouTube.

Quick & Easy Formative Assessments UPDATED

Quick and Easy Formative Assessments- LARGE

Sometimes it feels crazy overwhelming to keep assessing students and know exactly what they do/don’t understand. That’s where these quick and easy formative assessment ideas comes in!

My school district sent us a monthly newsletter from the GATE department. This was a particularly helpful chart, so I kept it. But the image was too small, so I’ve remade it into an easier to read version (see below).

Formative Assessments - New STICKERClick here to download the above new version (PDF): Formative Assessments

In case you’re still thirsty for more formative assessment ideas, check out these ideas:
Formative Assessment Ideas on
Examples of Formative Assessment from West Virginia Department of Education
A Sampling of Types of Formative Assessment on
Formative Assessment Ideas from the Wake County Public School System
21 Ways to Investigate What Students Are Learning by

Bloom’s Taxonomy: Questioning

I know you’ve all learned about Bloom’s Taxonomy. But, if you’re like me, all you remember is that it involves different levels of thinking and questioning. Well, here’s a helpful review if you’re fuzzy on the different questioning types within Bloom’s Taxonomy. 

Discuss the following questions after reading Little Red Riding Hood:

List the items Little Red Riding Hood carries with her.
Name the characters in the story.
Match the character with their items (example: grandma with nightgown, Little Red with basket)

Explain why the Wolf came to the grandma’s house.
Describe the forest Little Red Riding Hood walked through.
Organize the events of the story to be in order.

Demonstrate how the Wolf would disguise himself if he came to your house.
Model how Little Red Riding Hood responded when she saw the Wolf in the grandma’ s bed.
Translate the wolf’s actions into words. What does he mean when he glares at Little Red Riding Hood?

Compare this story to reality. What events could not really happen?
Diagram the grandma’s house.
Summarize the plot.

Propose how the story would be different if it were Little Red Riding Hood and the Dolphin instead of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.
Elaborate on why Little Red Riding Hood went to visit the grandma.
Design the outside of the grandma’s house

Judge whether the wolf was good or bad. Defend your opinion.
Recommend another way Little Red Riding Hood could have reacted when she met the wolf in the woods.
Defend the wolf’s actions.

Notice how the levels increase in difficulty? Try throwing in some higher levels of Blooms Taxonomy next time you’re creating a test or just discussing your guided reading book.