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Best Parent Conference Tips + FREE Conference Resources

I’ll admit it…Conferences at one time gave me the jitters.

But it got easier and more relaxing as the years progressed. And when I finally realized that yes, I really did have valuable information and tips to share with parents, I started to really enjoy the time I had with them.

Here are some things I’ve learned over the years

  • Don’t “wing it.” Start planning early. Consider making a Grab-and-Go Folder for each child. Throughout the year you can insert contact information, copies of notes home,  notes taken during phone calls with dates/times, notes and emails parents sent to you, assessments, writing samples, exemplary pieces, and any other documentation you may have that paints a picture of the child’s needs and progress.
  • Whenever you go to a meeting for a child, you just grab and go, knowing you have everything you need. This folder is for you to keep and add to all year.
  • The week prior to conferences, have students make a conference folder for their parents. Give each student a large 12″ x 18″ piece of construction paper folded in half with student names on top. Have them decorate their parents’ folders and then insert them into your grab-and-go folders. During conferences, you can move the items for them to take home from your grab-and-go folder into their conference folder as you discuss (report card, writing samples, etc.).
  • Have everything ready and organized. Just like guided reading, you don’t have a minute to waste. If your materials (folders from above) are in a pile in the order of your conferences, you will save time.
  • Put any and all handouts(newsletter, tips for homework, office forms, etc.) inside each child’s folder. That way you won’t forget to give them to your parents.
  • Have students fill out a simple self-assessment form (Grab it HERE free!) and tuck it inside the parent folder. 
  • Consider giving parents homework resources if needed. Here’s a great FREE math homework resource that my students and parents used all year long at home and loved. Easy to print, slip into plastic sleeves and insert a dry erase marker for them to use as a resource when completing homework.
  • If your school leaves it up to you to schedule conferences, use Sign Up Genius! It’s free, super easy, and does the work for you. No papers to send home that never return!
  • Be sure to include the special education teacher, counselor, ELL, etc. in scheduling conferences that they need to be there for.
  • Remember that parent conferences are the time to build positive, trusting relationships and to let them know you care about their child and know their needs. 
  • Always start with the good. Share a funny story about their child, share something the child did in class that was helpful, considerate, kind, or just share something positive that you love about their child. Starting off positive is always a win.
  • End with a quick summary of the conference by reviewing the most important points that were made.  Thank them for coming and you may want to repeat how much you enjoy having their child in class. 

I hope these tips help you out as much as they did for me! Happy teacher conferences!

Leave any comments or questions below and thanks for stopping by!

1st Grade Pandamania

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I am a newly retired first-grade teacher in the beautiful state of Colorado. I taught for 32 years (17 of those in 1st grade.) Watching my students learn and grow was such a blessing for me, and I'm excited to share what I've learned over the years with you. Read More

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