Sunday, October 26, 2014

Surviving Parent-Teacher Conferences

We all know that hustle and bustle when a grading period is ending, report cards are due, and parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner. Well I have survived all of this madness these last couple of week.

Our first quarter ended October 10th, Report card grade and comments were due the next week, and we had our Parent-teacher conferences this last week! So yes, I have been busy busy juggling this, and of course still moving on with our second grade curriculum.

After finishing up conferences, it got me to thinking with my experiences with them so far, and I thought it would be fun to write about:

Most conferences are pretty routine, parents know the drill, they come in and talk and are pretty much very agreeable and appreciative. But of course, we all have those conferences that have us feeling some sort of way when they're done. Either we are relieved that they're over or confused on what even happened, we know it won't be the first, or last time that we experience it. So I have picked my Top 4 Parent-Teacher experiences to write about that I am sure many of you could relate to!

It is sad to say, we do have those parents who simply come in because they know it is the responsible thing to do. However, they really just want it to be over with. Whether it is just nodding as you talk, some occasional "oks" to get you along, or the parents who literally have nothing to say at all. These of course can sometimes be uncomfortable, but just appreciate them making the effort to be there, and do your best to relay the message you are there to do!


Do you ever have those students that you just haven't quite figured out yet. The ones who are unique and definitely make each day interesting. Well it is one of my favorites when I meet these student's parents... and I have that "ah haa" moment... these are what I call the ah-ha parents. The parents that once you meet them, it makes perfect sense why their child is the way they are! I am not saying this is a bad thing! But sometimes as a teacher, it is nice to know that you are losing it, but this child just comes from a family that has led to who he or she is!


These are one of my favorites, and can definitely be one of the most difficult conferences to get through. To try to address parents with serious concerns and ideas to improve their child's education, and they don't seem to understand the concern or the suggestions because they feel they're child is a genius, the cream or the crop, the brightest crayon in the box. You of course don't want to totally ruin these parent's idea of their child, however, you do want to make a point that there are some aspects that need to be addressed, and what more we can do to help the child.


However these parents.... these are the parents that we need more of. This year's conferences reminded me how important these parents are and how it's nice to experience them. This year I had a mother sit down, and when I began with my usual, "How is everything on your end, is there any questions and concerns before we get started...." is when she laid it all out. She expressed how grateful she was for the work myself and my co-teacher have done this year. She explained how last year and at the very beginning of this year, her son did NOT like school, he never wanted to come, and he just didn't want anything to do with it. Someway, somehow, we were able to change this child's opinion to the point that he is very excited to come to school, he is excited about everything he is learning, he shows enjoyment for reading now, and looks forward to getting his homework done. But the kind words this mother used to express how thankful she was, and how appreciative she is for all we do. She relates that she knows her son can be difficult, how he can be very stubborn, but she can't thank us enough for still getting through to him and helping change his view on school.

  These are the conferences that remind me why I am doing what I do. I can only hope that all of you out there have a chance to experience these parents to remind us of the power we really have over these children. To remind us that these parents do understand what we are dealing with because these are their children at home and they know them best!

But finally P/T conferences are done! Don't have to worry about them again until March!

Now just getting ready for a chaotic Red Ribbon week leading up to a Halloween celebration on Friday!

Hope you are all hanging in there! Have a fantastic week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Teach, Craft,.. and be SCARY!

WELCOME to the Halloween Bash Blog Hopper! I am so excited to be a part of it!

I have lots of offer in this blog post as well as a bunch of other bloggers do! Also, check out the giveaways too!!

Need something fun and hands on that fit in with the halloween theme? Well here is a fun creativity for students! They get to create their OWN monster and then write about them. It is so much fun to see these students use their imagination as they create their monster. What a perfect time to create monsters then around halloween!

You can find this product in my store HERE! But you can also enter the 2-5 giveaway below for a chance to win this along with many other amazing products! Make sure you enter and enter often!

Have you figured out what you are going to be for halloween yet? Do you dress up at school with your students? I always find it so much fun to do, at least at the primary ages. The kids get so excited to see the teacher in on the fun with them. My second grade team likes to try to do themed costumes! Last year we had to dress up and actually present in front of the school, so we dressed up as the wizard of oz, and of course I was Dorothy! It was a lot of fun!
Our team has changed a lot this year, and we don't have to present, so we decided to do something else! At the beginning of the year the students made super heroes for the hallway for SUPER IN SECOND! So I thought, why not be super heroes?!? The best part is.... super heroes in TUTUS! You have all seen the fun tutus on pinterest right? Well we bought our super hero shirts with the capes, went and bought tulle to match, are in the process of making super cute tutus, all we need is to get the leggings and BAM, second grade super hero teachers!
I am going to be Wonder Woman! I have already made my tutu, nice and fluffy and BIG! I am really excited to see what the kids think of it. I will definitely be back to post pictures once I get it all put together!

Now in honor of this great blog hop! I am offering a fun Halloween FREEBIE!!! Check out my TPT store HERE for this download!

If you like what you see there, make sure you rate it, pin it, and spread the word!

Now to continue the FUN!! Enter this awesome giveaway below!!!

Now go and check out some other amazing bloggers! They have some great things to offer!

More giveaways!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Illinois Reading Conference!

So, I have been VERY fortunate and my district sent me to the Illinois Reading Conference (IRC)!

It was a pretty awesome experience! To see so many big names in the world of literacy for teachers.. all in one spot, it was a blast!

I was able to compare Timothy Shanahan and Richard Allington on their views of reading in the classroom with student learning, as well as complex texts! It's interesting to see their points of view, as well as compare it to my setting and what we are doing at our school. Shanahan is completely against teaching children at their instructional level, that all students need to be taught at grade level and must be challenged. Allington things that students should receive instruction at their grade level by a very well trained teacher! Wouldn't I love to see these two in a room together and watch them go at it!

I was also able to see Linda Dorn and her views on Text complexity as well as Vocabulary!
Maria Walthers great such great advice and motivation for transforming literacy instruction for the common core! The examples and ideas she brought to the table were wonderful!

These were just a few among MANY!

However, I would have to say that one of my favorites was watching and meeting the author and illustrator Steven Kellogg! His presentation was AMAZING! To sit and watch him work through his story telling thoughts, plus illustrating it right before our eyes, it was magical and inspirational. The passion you could tell he had was great too! He really enjoys what he does. He even read student letters that were written to him, HILARIOUS! This really wrapped up the whole conference and made my week!

So in honor of him! I am sharing my Jimmy's Boa activity pack too!!!!

Come back soon because I have some wonderful events coming up! (cough cough, BLOG HOP! yay)

Come back and check this event out!!! See you soon!