Whether it feels like it or not, the time for end-of-the-year conferences is approaching. Over the course of the next month, my students and their parents will be coming into my classroom for one-on-one meetings for fifteen minutes each to discuss the progress students have made this year, as well as expectations they will need to meet next year.
Here are some points you can reflect on prior to your meeting:
- Which examples can you pull of your students' work? I have maintained a portfolio of my students' writing over the course of the year and a few examples of how they have responded to reading comprehension questions as well as explanations they wrote when they completed science experiments.
- At the meeting, if you have examples of your students' work, you should certainly share it with your students' parents. Then perhaps ask a teacher from the next grade level to supply you with a few examples of strong work so you can show your students' parents what the next grade level is expecting. In my case, my students will most likely stay in the "advanced class family", so I can be very specific with their parents about what the advanced fifth grade teacher may expect of them next year.
- Get input from your students' parents as well as your student regarding what they desire for next year. Do they have any concerns? Specifically, I may ask my students about potential field trip ideas if they progress to the advanced fifth grade class. Our class as well as the fifth-grade class is planning on collaborating on some events and units next year.
- How have your students progressed since the beginning of the year? Share a few beginning-of-the-year examples of writing, for example, and compare those examples to what they are producing now.
- Print out a bulleted list of what teachers in the following grade expect for the beginning of the year next year as well as the end of the year. Let your students and their parents know about how they can practice skills over the summer as well as what is expected regarding their overall progression next year.
- Perhaps advise students prior to the meeting so they can conduct part of the meeting. Have them reflect on how they have grown this year and how they met their short-term as well as long-term goals.
- If you are a fifth grade teacher, provide your students with some valuable information regarding middle school. Even as a fourth-grade teacher, I will discuss self-confidence with my students, seeing middle school is only a year away for them.
- Last, inform your parents about the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, which promotes that students should read at least four books during the summer months. We are trying to set a world record. Here is a short explanation from the website: "This year's summer challenge unites students to read in an attempt to set a new world record for summer reading! The overall record set for 2009 among all schools was 35,846,094 minutes logged and the top school logged 683,057 minutes!"
Let your students and their parents know how proud you are of their progress.