In these initial phases, we are teaching kids how to reflect. To look over their week and explain certain images where they learned, wondered, or were confused about. Many have never been asked to “reflect”, especially in math. As we begin this year, we are trying to introduce this and make it a habit. The hope is that the mathematical language becomes stronger and the thinking becomes deeper and meaningful to understanding concepts better.
Often we share our students progress by sending home “Monday” folders with worksheets that were completed, test or quizzes taken the previous week, or maybe we have a site where parents can go and see the current grade in your class. Are we informing parents on their child’s progress? Does the grade or worksheet give an accurate picture of student growth?
I often challenge teachers to give feedback on an ongoing basis. We should not only assess from the papers turned in but from what we are seeing, hearing and collecting on a daily basis. Use journal entries or a table with your objectives (I can statements) to allow for a more productive discussion at a parent conference. The following guidelines can help your conversation whether it be in the form of report card comments, parent conferences or the chat in the pick-up line.
-What area is the child is doing well? (Have pieces of work that demonstrate growth.)
-What area does the child struggle? (Show specific concepts not just a broad topic.)
-What are you doing in the classroom to help?(The learning does not stop after a chapter test. It is your responsibility to help the child learn it!)
-What can they do at home to support you and their child? (Parents want guidance on how to help.)
Attached is an article from the Wall Street Journal – 10.18.17 addressing the idea of a student-run conference. This conference helps children communicate their progress while building the metacognitive process. Would love to see this happening more in our schools.