Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sharing a Story at Conferences

Below is an article by the editor of Choice Literacy. Ms. Power has great insight into schools today and best practices. Check out her latest thoughts on making the most of a Parent-Teacher Conference.

Picturing Learning 

A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into. 
                                                                 Ansel Adams
Last week I visited the fabulous Opal School in Portland, Oregon (it's a public elementary school affiliated with the Portland Children's Museum).  The morning of my visit happened to be during a family conference day.  As I walked by a classroom, I could see a teacher conferring with a mom and dad.  I didn't eavesdrop, but I did notice the trio had their heads together, peering at a picture of a child on the teacher's laptop.  
Maybe this is a common practice in conferences now, but it was new to me.  How would the tenor of parent/teacher conferences change if everyone focused on an image (or two or three) of the child at work in the classroom - reading, writing, and collaborating with peers?
Families want so many things for their children, but I think what they want most from teachers is to know that we truly see their child.  What better way to show them that then to look at a photograph?
When I coached new teachers before parent-teacher conferences, I urged them to share a story or two about each child. We spent a lot of time talking through how to gather notes and telling details for those stories.  How much easier it would be jog anyone's memory of those stories if you were looking at your students in the midst of the conference.  And what a wonderful gift to leave parents with, since it's so easy these days to email the photographs shared after the meeting.

This week we're highlighting some resources for analyzing talk in classrooms and brushing up your conferring skills. Plus more as always - enjoy! 

Brenda Power
Editor, Choice Literacy

1 comment:

  1. I have used this idea with my parent-teacher conferences this year. The parents really enjoy seeing a pic of their pride and joy. Additionally, it can show details of the student as a learner. For example, I took pics of the kids during reading workshop. One could easily tell if the student could pick a comfy spot to read, were ready to learn with pencil in hand, etc. Loved this idea from Choice Literacy!
    Mrs. Sparks