Happy November! I just put my cornucopia out on the table, but I am already thinking about holiday shopping. The leaves are still falling, but snow with cover them soon. If I blink too long, I know November will be gone.
For such a short month, it always comes with a giant list of things to do, which includes conferences for me! My secret to Crazy Free Conferences all starts with a simple pre-conference form! This FREE little survey takes all of the stress out of conferences for me! It includes a side for parents and a side for my firsties. The questions for parents help me understand what parents are thinking. I can get detailed assessment data and work samples ready if parents have specific concerns about progress. I can ask one of our specialists sit on our conference if needed. It's also nice to have suggestions or materials ready to share with families to help meet their child's needs at home.
The suvery for kids is deliberately designed to be positive. It's a great conversation starter, and it helps us focus on the strengths and interests of each child. I love reading what my firsties are thinking and feeling!
Before conferences, each kiddo makes a conference folder. I just fold a big piece of construction paper in half, and we attach a sweet parent note on the front. The kids write notes and draw pictures for their parents on the note. I fill the folder with all of the papers I may need for that child's conference, including work samples for the family to keep.
I always start my conferences by giving the parents the love notes from their children. At the end of the conferences, I give parents some work samples and art projects to keep inside their folder. I also give parents a chance to write back to their children and leave a note in their desks. I just keep a variety of scrap paper and markers on a table outside my classroom door. (I also put out candy for parents--who doesn't love a little treat?!)
You can get parent notes for each month of the year so they will always fit your conference schedule. They are also perfect for a monthly writing activity or for a free holiday gift.
With a little preparation, you can involve children and parents in the conference planning process! For me, this has been the secret to Crazy Free Conferences.