Reporting Time


It is that time again, or maybe the first time for you – writing reports. It seems to loom over us as the due date for reports approaches. Yet, it isn’t always as insurmountable as it seems. Here are some tips for assessing, organizing, and preparing reports:

  • Create at-a-glance observation pages. These can be created in a grid or a list. Organize students in boxes or lists alphabetically by first name only. Print the observation sheets in a different colour than white, and put about 10 copies on 3 to 4 clipboards. Now they are handy to pick up and record what you notice, hear, see, throughout the day. If you prefer, you can title them to focus your observations, such as Learning Skills or Math skills. When writing reports it is easy to flip through a pile, looking at the same location on each page for anecdotal notes or examples to include in your reports.
  • Self-assessment. Provide time and guidance for student’s to self-assess particular work or their learning skills. It also beneficial to work on goal-setting and reflect on their goals prior to the end of each reporting period. These self-assessments can be useful when writing about their learning skill development.
  • Take photos. Using a smart phone or iPad to take many photos throughout the day can be valuable when writing reports (there are also apps for documenting student work, such as ThreeRing or Sesame). Often, you see students collaborating or participating in photos that you may not have realized during the activity. This happened for me when we had a guest dance instructor in the classroom. I took video and photos throughout the workshop. When I reviewed the video before writing reports I was surprised to see that the students I considered reluctant in dance, were actually dancing!
  • Record marks and brief comments. When I record marks in my assessment binder, I also add a brief comment. For example, after recording the students’ marks for a math test, I add a brief comment such as “doesn’t understand concept (knowledge)” or “needs work on communicating ideas” or “learning to apply…”. Then, when it comes time to write a comment for math in the reports, I have a quick reference that I can use to personalize the comment and the next steps for learning.
  • Maintain student portfolios. Use a crate or plastic bin for files. Make one folder for student and file all tests and work samples. Refer to the file when writing reports to have specific pieces as examples. Then return work to students and start anew for the next assessment period.
  • Build comments. Build subject specific or learning skill comments using brackets or *** to be filled in with comments and examples that are unique to each student. Cutting and pasting the same comment using only modifiers forces students to fit into a high, medium, or low category that may not best represent them.
  • Prepare for interviews. Before parent interviews, review the reports and jot down a few strengths and needs in a notebook (I organize one page per student) to guide your discussion. Then, make notes regarding any comments or concerns the parent offers, as well as any follow-up accommodations or communications you need to do. Then, you have these notes to refer to in any meetings that follow or for your next reporting period.
Finding your own routine of organizing and preparing for report, will help to ease the stress that report writing often brings.


Photo of Lisa Taylor

Communication with Parents – Part 2

Getting the word out to all parents can come in many forms. Some teachers choose to Tweet classroom updates, while others use a texting service like Whatever you choose to do to contact all of your parents, should be consistent, and you should be sure to only use it when contacting the whole group.

When you need to address an issue/concern with a parent directly, there are a number of ways to go about doing it. Whatever way you decide to use, make sure you document everything. Document every attempted call, every agenda note, every email you send (and don’t forget to CC your admin when you do contact them through email!). Documentation can become very important if a parent comes to the school upset that something caught them off guard, or claims that they were never informed. Having your documentation can protect you. Record dates, times, type of communication, and the reason for the communication. If you get in touch, record the outcome of the interaction as well. If you are doing this digitally, try not to use full names (instead of saying, “Contacted Lisa Taylor to discuss issues with her son Andrew Taylor….” you may want to code it as, “Contacted L. Taylor to discuss issues with her son AT.”). This just adds a level of security. If you are keeping these files in paper format, make sure you store them securely, as you may be recording the details of sensitive conversations.

So how do you actually make contact? There are several ways you can go:

Agenda Message – don’t include details of a concern/incident in the agenda, as they can often get left on the school bus, or read by other students. Just put a message that requests that the parent either contact you to discuss, or give some dates of when they can meet/when they are available to receive your call.

Phone Message – if you call and get the parent, great! Discuss away. If you get a voicemail system, if it clearly states the family name and you are 100% confident you have dialed the correct number and this is that family’s answering machine, you should still consider only identifying yourself and asking if the parent can call you, or send a message in the Agenda of times that would be good to meet/call. Do not leave details of a concern or situation on the voicemail system, as you don’t know who will listen to it, nor do you know if someone else might overhear it. You also do not want your own voice recorded, sharing information about a student, as this could put you in some hot water. Just ask the parent to call back. If the “concern” is to remember to bring a permission slip, or a forgotten library book, these messages can be left on a machine.

Email – if you decide to email a parent, treat it like a digital Agenda, and just request times for a meeting, or phone call. Do not use names in the communication (i.e., “can you let me know when you are available to chat about A’s progress at school?”), on the off chance that you have mistyped the email address. Also, always CC your principal, both to keep them in the loop, and so that there is a 3rd participant in the conversation. This is more about protection for yourself. If a parent is upset about something, they may try to take email comments out of context. If the admin has been included in the conversation all along, they will be able to defend your choices, and support you without any difficulty.

In-Person – this is always the best way to do it. Body language, tone, expression, some or all of these things are lost in the other forms of communication. If at all possible, try to just use the other 3 types to get to an in-person meeting.

Don’t forget, no matter how you communicate, make sure you document everything. Everyone is different in how they keep that information, but the most important thing, is making sure you are keeping track of the communication with as much detail as you can. These notes not only help you to remember what was discussed/decided, but they also may help you if there is a dispute or concern.

Math in Play-based Learning

Math is integrated into most of the learning centres in the classroom. Although glancing around the room, it often looks just like play. To ensure that I am continually assessing for math, I keep a clipboard of observations sheets accessible. I prefer observation sheets that have a square with each child’s name that I can fill-in with any pertinent information I want. Then, by glancing at the sheet, I can easily see if there is a blank box and ensure that I seek out that child to observe. Looking around the classroom, I may see children measuring at the water table, sorting in the drama centre, or comparing shapes in the building centre. I approach and listen. Often, I can record their understanding with a phrase or a brief description. Then, I am able to clarify or extend their learning. For example, if a child is counting animal figures and gets stuck at 15, I may direct them to the number line to show them what was missed. Observation and recording them at play allows for assessment of their current understanding as well as an opportunity to support their learning.

At the beginning of the year, some parents may ask about the math program, as they do not see generic math sheets coming home in the backpacks. It is therefore a good idea to take photos of the children engaged in mathematical activities as you are observing them in the classroom. These can be added to a website to communicate to your families what math learning looks like in the classroom. Or you can print them to display in the hallway, add to a student’s portfolio, or keep for a parent interview.

Recording comments during circle time is also another way to demonstrate a child’s understanding of math. Last week, when the children were considering a number line together, one student pointed out that there were kid numbers and teenage numbers. He said, “The 1-10 are like kid numbers and the 11-20 are like teenager numbers!” Another day we did a group activity when reading the book One Monday Morning by Uri Shulevitz. Using connecting cubes we represented the characters, as someone new arrived, each day of the week. When the concrete graph was finished, a student observed, “It looks like stairs going up!” By recording these comments, I am able to add them to their math profile when writing reports or planning for further learning.

The photos show what math looks like in a play-based learning environment:



This child is using 1:1 representation with counters on the light pad to represent each individual in our class photo (her idea!)






This child has sorted the animals into two groups and is then counting them as she places them on the top of the drums (her idea!)






These students are measuring volume by filling a larger container with a smaller one.






The children grouped like objects, sorted them, and displayed them on wood blocks using 1:1 representation.




There are also opportunities for children to write mathematically throughout the classroom with pencils and paper provided, as well as number lines and number displays of quantity. They use magnetic numbers to put in order on white boards and they learn to recognize their phone numbers at the carpet (after learning their first and last names), then write their phone numbers at entry during sign-in. Children enjoy songs with counting and books with sequences. Math is happening all around the classroom and children are intuitive with math. When teaching Kindergarten, it is important to see it, name it, and record it!



Student Led Conferences

The past 2 weeks, I have been preparing my students for Student-Led Conferences, since the Progress Reports were sent home, and conferences were set for this past Friday.

I have never done or seen Student-Led Conferences before, and what an amazing experience it was. Yes, it does take a lot of prepareation for the students, but after a lot of feedback, the parents really enjoyed it.

What Are Student-Led Conferences?
Instead of the formal Parent-Teacher Interviews, my school board has taken the approach to doing Student-Led Conferences, which enables the student to take full responsibility for their learning, and they choose things to share with their parents that they are most proud of and some things they feel they need to work on. They also choose a Learning Skill that they think is the best, as well as a Learning Skill that they need to improve upon.

Preparing My Students for the Conferences:
Two weeks prior to the Student-Led Conferences, we began preparing ourselves for these conferences. It does take a lot of time and preparation, but the outcome is wonderful! First, I laid out all the work my students have done so far. I explained to students that they would look through their work and choose 2 things they were most proud of (could include anything but most were Social Studies Tests, Math Tests, Journal Entries, and Daily 5 Work), and 1 thing they felt they needed to improve upon. Once they chose their 3 items, they were given 2 “star” papers where they wrote why they were most proud of this pieve of work and why (they had to be specific-because they looked at the Word Wall to help them spell, they studied really hard for a test, or they used the Success Criteria to help them in their writing…). Then, students were given one “Next Steps” paper where they wrote about why they feel they needed to improve upon that piece of work, and what they can do next time (use the Editing Checklist, use the Work Wall, etc.).

As a class, we then reviewed the Learning Skills and what each skill means. We brainstormed (and reviewed) some examples about what each Learning Skill looks like here at school. Then students chose which Learning Skill they felt was their best, and explained why using examples, as well as choosing a Learning Skill that they needed to work on, and explained what they can do to improve upon this Learning Skill.

Once all the writing was complete, I created a script that students practiced so they knew exactly what to say, and when to show/explain their work. For many days, students would practice reading this script and showing their work independently, to a partner, in a group, and even their Reading Buddies. We encouraged students to take on different roles as well, to prepare them (i.e. one student would be a mom, one would be a dad, and the other would present to them).

When it came time for the Student-Led Conferences, the students ran the show. They took full responsibility, and THEY were the ones explaining to parents why they need to improve upon the work they chose, and even asked how their parents could support them at home. I feel that the student saying this to their parents is much more powerful than if I were the one saying it. Parents really enjoyed seeing their child’s work, and were excited to come up with ways that they could support their child at home. Overall, the Student-Led Conferences were a huge success at my school, and it was really great for the students to be so enthusiastic about the work and learning they have done thus far!

Student-Led Conference Script:

Introductions: “Hello, Ms. Pryde. This is my _______ and my _________.”

Explanation about the Conference: “I am taking responsibility for my learning. Today, I will be showing you the accomplishments I have done so far at school. I will also be showing some work that I feel I need to improve upon, and will be asking for your input about how you can help me in reaching my goals at home.”

Showing of the Work: “This is one of my best pieces of work because __________________.

I also chose this piece of work as something that I am most proud of because __________________.

I feel that I could improve upon this piece of work because _____________. I think I can improve on it by __________________________________.

I think my best Learning Skill is ________________________ because _______________________________________________.

The Learning Skill that I think I can improve on is _______________ because _______________________________________________.”

Conclusion: “Thank you for coming to my conference. Is there any questions or comments for myself or Ms. Pryde?”


Preparing for Interviews


The interviews provide an opportunity for parents to meet the teacher, see the classroom, and ask questions about their child’s progress. It is also an opportunity for the teacher to ask questions that will provide a better background understanding of the child that is struggling in his/her adjustment to the Kindergarten program. You may want to know if the child has siblings, has opportunities for play dates, or gets enough sleep.

To prepare for interviews, I do the following:

  • review anecdotal notes, highlighting any positive comments as well as any concerns
  • look through examples of child’s work, and have it on hand to refer to during the interview
  • have a copy of the SK report
  • make note of something positive to start the interview, and something to work on with the child to end the interview.

I like to use a basic notepad and dedicate a page to each student. At the top of the page I write their name and time of interview. I copy the points that I highlighted from my anecdotal records to ensure that I can easily refer to them during the interview. (When you get in a roll of interview after interview without a break, your memory should not be relied on!) I then add parent/guardian comments from the interview and next steps for myself to follow up with. I can then refer to this notepad when I am measuring progress in the next couple of months.

Since JK students do not receive a report at this time, a half-page checklist can be created as a reference for parents. List items like; can recognize first name, can write first name, can count to 10, can follow routines independently, etc. This can also be created for your own use to guide the interview and be kept as a reference to see progress when you write the JK reports in January.

Interviews can be difficult if you need to address challenges that the child is experiencing. A good way to approach these interview is by starting with your observations in the classroom, then asking the parents/guardians, “What are you seeing at home?” Often, parents see the same behaviours or have similar struggles, which they will expand on when the discussion is directed in this way.

You may want to set up a desk or table in the hall for parents that are waiting for their interview. It can have a clock (set to the same time as your clock in the classroom), resources for parents that you may find applicable from public health, the public library, or a list of websites that you think would be beneficial. This is also an opportunity to display a project, photos (even a digital photo frame!), or some form of documentation that the parents can enjoy while waiting for your interview.


Photo of Carmen Oliveira

Constructive and Productive Parent-Teacher Conferences

Just having read Alison’s post “Reflecting On Reporting” I have to admit that all too often we tend to become focused on assessing our students with tools and strategies that can feel overwhelming in our need to “get it right” with respect to our evaluation of the students’ progress.  The fact that “a picture says a thousand words” is good reason to use pictures and video as a very valid and authentic form of assessment.  What a meaningful way to share student learning with parents…

Speaking of parents, I’m beginning to prepare for the Parent-Teacher conferences next week.  I have found that the preparation beforehand goes a long way to create an opportunity for  a constructive and productive meeting during which time we can cover the student’s strengths, needs, next steps, and celebrate accomplishments.  I do this by:

1. Sending home a pre-conference letter getting the parent(s)/guardians to share their thoughts, questions, concerns, etc. about the report card and listing possible topics/questions they hope to cover during our conference.  This gives me time to gather the appropriate samples, resources, and recommendations specifically tailored to the needs of the family.

2. Using data from their report card, their Daily Journal, and conversations with me, students choose 3 goals for the following term and specify the steps they will take to achieve them along with how they will celebrate their success.  Students share their goal setting plans with parents during the conference.

3. During the conference, I keep notes based on our conversation (on my computer) and by the end of the night or the following day, I send the notes in an email to the parents (in our class we communicate through email which I’ve found very helpful and parents appreciate the opportunity to get in touch with me without always having to come in or call).

It may seem like a lot of work but I’ve found that our conferences are constructive, productive, and best of all, we cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.  It makes it more effective to work toward our goals when we (students, parents, and teachers) are on the same page.

Below I’ve attached the goal setting template my students use in preparation for conferences.

goal setting


Photo of Carmen Oliveira

The Importance of Communication in the Parent-Teacher Partnership

As we devote the next few days to completing our report cards and prepare for our parent-teacher conferences, I’d like to share an experience that really came to prove that  how often and the manner in which we communicate with our students’ families and caregivers really makes a difference to in supporting and furthering their learning experience.

I am part of the Portuguese-speaking Students Task Force created by the TDSB.  It’s mission is to look deeper into the challenges experienced by Portuguese-speaking students and their families including a very high drop-out rate in secondary school and low enrolment with respect to post-secondary education.  We have spoken to the students themselves, teachers within the Portuguese community, and most recently, the parents.  We discussed at length issues including: how Portuguese-speaking students and their families are viewed by educators; whether students and families feel supported by the TDSB (programs, resources, etc.); what challenges exist; and possible solutions and/or suggestions.

I found it absolutely fascinating that there was one aspect/challenge that each group (students, teachers, and parents) mentioned as needing immediate attention: communication between the school/teachers and parents.   The reality, concerns, and suggestions made were practically identical and so I thought it would be beneficial to share the parents’ viewpoint as we think about our parent-teacher conferences.

Parents commented that although they understand teachers are very busy, they often feel left out of their children’s education because they do not really know what’s going on in the classroom on a regular basis.  They said that their children’s education is a bit of a mystery when it comes to what they are learning, how they are being assessed, how they can further support their child, and how the education system works overall.  It came down to admitting that they feel intimidated at times to speak to the teacher or ask questions about what is happening in the classroom.

When asked about what they would like to see happen with respect to communication between educators and parents, they put it very simply: they wish educators would reach out to them on a regular basis whether it be through a newsletter, email, webpage, tweet, agenda, phone call, etc. to let them know what the children are learning, how the learning will be assessed, and how the family can support and further the learning outside the classroom.  Overwhelmingly, parents said that when teachers care enough to take the initiative by constantly keeping the doors of communication open, they feel more motivated in able to guide/support their child.

Let’s keep this in mind…myself included!


Photo of Carmen Oliveira

Parent/Teacher Interviews: Connecting, Celebrating, Planning, Supporting

Samantha’s experience with parent/teacher interviews was powerful and resonated with my view of the important partnership we share with our students’ care-givers.

This year I structured my interviews in order to connect, celebrate, plan, and support both students and parents.  In each interview I made sure to:

CONNECT: Catching up with parents after our Curriculum Night was a nice way to begin our interview.  With each one I tried to express how grateful I was for their involvement in their child’s life and encouraged them to share how things were going outside of school (homework, clubs, sports, hobbies, etc.).  I also had parents share their thoughts and feelings about their child’s progress.

CELEBRATE: We celebrated their child’s strengths, progress, and special or important accomplishments thus far.

PLAN: Based on the child’s progress, their strengths, and needs, we created a “next steps” by choosing one or two goals and deciding on some strategies we (student, parent, and teacher) could use to help the child accomplish each goal.

SUPPORT: I offered some resources and advice for both parents and students that could be used to support the plan we decided to put into action.

I had one of the most successful interview experiences of my career which was spectacular!  However, when all is said and done, it’s the unexpected moments that empower and inspire me most.  I’d like to share one such moment that solidified my belief that we can be agents of change to our students in ways we might not have imagined.

I have a student in my class who spent a great deal of time in the principal’s office during his previous six years at the school.  “Good luck” was the response I got when teachers saw the name on my class list (a reaction which is one of my greatest pet peeves).  This of course, only sparked my interest and motivation to bring about positive change.   The funny thing is that it took very little effort to witness a complete turn-around in behaviour, focus, and attitude toward learning!  I attributed it to a structured but engaging classroom environment, a lot of positive feedback, and regularly connecting with his mom with respect to his work and behaviour.  During our interview I had the pleasure of sharing and celebrating all the progress and success the student had demonstrated and together, we planned our next steps/goals.  At one point, the student’s mother hugged him tightly and filled his face with kisses.  She began to tear up and said, “You can’t imagine what it is for a mother to continuously hear negative comments and be called into the school every other day to deal with problems.  Since the beginning of this year, he comes home happy to show me his agenda with all the positive notes you write.  He believes you like him and is eager to be his best self.  At home, he is an amazing kid.  I hardly recognize him.  I cannot begin to thank you enough.”  I quickly reminded her of the factors I attributed to his progress.  “I really do feel that he’s more mature and ready for a change”.   But she nodded in disagreement and said, “He believes you really like him.  That’s all it took.”

Needless to say, as exhausting as interviews are, hearing that from his mom completely made my day.

Heart Picture

Parent Teacher Interviews

Parent teacher interviews are definitely one of the things that I love about my job.

To date, I have spent  7 hours a day, for  53 consecutive days (excluding weekends and P.A. days) with these little young people and during parent teacher interviews, I get to speak at depth (at greater depth than  telephone interviews and letters home) with the people who spend all that other time with them, and share all of the students’ gains and struggles that  we have had in class.

Parent teacher interviews allow me to look at each student as the unique individuals that they are.  Often in my teaching, I am focussed on my teaching practices, getting the students to a ‘Level 4’ and looking at what they are not doing, and what I need to do to get them where I want them to be. This is an expected aspect of teaching, but meeting with the parents provides me with perspective and reassurance of how much we have already accomplished together.

I am finding that Grade 1 is a very rewarding grade to teach. I am amazed at the progress my students have made. ‘Johnny didn’t want to write at all in September and is now writing consonant sounds?’ That’s a big gain.’ Liza didn’t seem to understand at all when we were learning our word families, and is now printing initial and final sounds during her spelling tests…even though she got one out of ten words correct?’… ‘That’s a lot of progress for someone I was concerned about when I first did my diagnostic tests at the beginning of the year’…’ Oh,  and she was born a month and a half premature?’ That makes sense of my developmental concerns that I had that were not mentioned in her file.  Let’s monitor that and look into what other resources are available to us.’ ‘Aiden still is having hard time remembering his homework and to hand in letters. Let’s set up more routine at home so that this doesn’t continue to be a problem once grade 6 and big assignments roll around. ‘

Through parent-teacher interviews I also get deeper insights than what were communicated to me through my parent correspondence at the beginning of the year.  Parents going through a difficult time, resulting in misbehaviours in the class?, You are seeing the same inattention at home?’ Let’s both monitor it and see if we need to speak with a professional in the future… ‘. Meeting with parents provides me with perspective of what is going on in my students’ lives and that the time that I spend working with them, pushing them to their best IS working. I get to realise how much of a  positive impact I am actually having on my students.  It’s easy during the day-to-day to feel a little bit frustrated that despite my best efforts to deliver an engaging, memorable lesson,  all students don’t seem to carry it over to their work.  But after meeting with the parents, and after reflecting on where the students were when they arrived in my classroom (and speaking to the parents about where they were before); looking at where they are now, I realise that each and every one of my students have made gains.  Not exclusively academic, but behaviourally and also with respect to their ability to follow routines, socially, and also with their engagement and love of school.

Having parent-teacher interviews affirms the work that I am doing with my students in the classroom, and it also makes me hopeful about the behaviours that we need to correct at school. It serves as a distinct reminder of what I need to revisit or refocus on at school.  When teaching a younger grade level  teachers have the opportunity (with the cooperation of parents) to instil good habits and practices in young students  that will serve them well in life.  To me, this is a very optimistic, and rewarding feeling that can easily fall by the wayside when running around gathering materials, resources, integrating and staying on top of student progress… all of it.  Parent teacher interviews remind me of how much my students and I have accomplished through our hard work.

As a small aside I would also like to share an encounter that I had with another teacher on the night of parent-teacher interviews: A teacher and I were chatting in the staff room, and she shared that an exasperated student looked at her and said “teachers have it so easy, they don’t have to do all the hard work… it’s us (the students) that do!”.  We laughed knowing that three times the hard work goes into our preparations for their tasks, and yet in their smaller worlds, their work IS the hard work.  The bottom line from that conversation is that we have ALL worked hard.  The conversation also gave me some perspective,… maybe that I need to reward my students’ hard work a little more often: free time, a movie, some extra DPA outside,… after all, each and every one of us are all working hard and all work and no play isn’t good for any one of us.  Another one of my goals this year will be to make a greater effort to celebrate my students’ successes.

My tip to fellow beginning teachers out there is to try to be less anxious about parent-teacher interviews, and use that valuable time to  reflect on how well you actually know your students, how much you have learned from your parent-teacher meeting and how  much you have accomplished in 53 days.  Remember to save the good representations of the students’ work,  their struggles and their gains, and what you’ve both accomplished, and your ability to speak to it will often speak for itself.

Photo of Alison Board

Staying Connected

Similarly to Tina and Roz, I use different means of communication to stay connected with families throughout the year, mostly our classroom website, face-to-face contact, and agendas. It is difficult to limit yourself to one tool to suit the needs of all families. At the beginning of the year I send a paper newsletter and ask for email addresses to invite families to view our classroom website and receive updates from our weekly blog. This is a big hit in the community where I teach, as many parents like to get reminders on their mobile phones or sync our class calendar to their personal calendar. Most of the emails I receive are simple questions that require a simple and quick response, such as setting up interview times or confirming ad due date. Like Roz, if the request is something more delicate, I often call the parent and discuss the concern over the phone or set up a time to meet in person.

Since I teach a grade one and two class, I walk them each day to the outside door to meet their parents or sitters. The parents that I see daily or weekly can easily approach me with a quick question or I can provide an update without having to make time for the phone or computer. For example, I have a grade one student who has arrived in September with no English language. One or two days a week, her mother may ask me about something we have done in class that her daughter is trying to understand and has told her mother at home. With the mother there as the translator, we achieve quite a lot in a few minutes. These quick discussions are easier, more casual, and provide positive support for the student’s learning on a consistent basis (in addition to the support she receives in the classroom), which connects her learning to her home and family.

At my school, every student from grade one to six purchases an agenda in September. At first, I thought this was taking a step backward on my path to improve parent communication with the use of technology. Now, I realize it is just one more means of communication – not only between me and the parents, but it supports communication between the students and their parents when they refer to it together at home. I decided that if the children are all buying the agendas in my class, then we would make good use of them. So, when the students get settled at entry they first open their agenda and find the day’s date. We do quick math skills, talk about health and wellness while evaluating our feelings and assessing our exercise and eating habits for the week, in addition we use the calendar in the agendas rather than a shared calendar, and the students write reminders to themselves. I do not sign the agendas daily, but I do a quick walk around to either read, respond, or initiate a comment as needed. It has also helped with classroom management during the transition from entry to the time we meet together for our gathering circle. The children have learned to explore their agendas (agenda work), if my attention is focused on addressing a student concern or speaking to a parent at the classroom door.

Although keeping up a few forms of communication sounds like juggling balls in the air (and it sometimes is), it is the best way to meet the needs and include all families. By ensuring that you have communicated with parents about any concerns, your face-to-face communication during scheduled interviews will be easier for you and the parents!