Unbelieveable that I'm writing the December newsletter! September seems sooo long ago!!!

So, by now you must have all your routines & rules all organized and your students are aware of them and abide by them (you hope).

They know what's what in regards to your schedule and what's expected of them. Your report cards are completed and have been sent home. And now comes the fun part - PARENT INTERVIEWS!!

I personally loved parent teacher interviews. I knew all my students well. I documented all their tests, special assignments and projects, and made sure I signed and had the parents sign their child's agenda every day.

What do I mean by documenting? Each test, project, and assignment, was marked, taken up in class and sent home to be signed by the parent(s) and returned to school. Each of my students had their own file where all this information was stored and ready to be viewed again during the interview, if necessary.

The parents knew where their child stood when they received the report card. Obviously, there were a few subjects where they weren't aware of their child's standing; e.g., physical education, art.

Things To Do To Prepare For The Parent Teacher Conference

1. Reread the report cards -in some schools they were written a month before they were sent home. Have all the documentation out on each student.

2. Speak to your students' previous teachers (if possible) to get an idea of what the parents are like.

3. Never sit at your desk during the interview - use another table or student's desk (less threatening and not authoritative) and comfortable chairs.

4. Have 2-3 chairs outside your room for parents who are waiting to see you.

5. Stick to yuor schedule - 15 minute intervals - post a copy of the schedule outside your door, so parents are also aware of the time restriction.

6. Welcome parents, smile, good hand shake, call them by their surname, have an interpreter if needed, handshake at the end of the interview, as well as wishing them happy holidays and new year.

7. Be prepared, organized, professional, diplomatic and genuine about each child.

8. Please read my page on parent teacher conferences for more teaching strategies. And most of all enjoy yourself - it's your classroom and your students and you know them better than you may think. Good Luck!

Remember writing your long range plans in September? It's important to refer to them often to make sure you are on track and not forgetting something.

If your principal or V.P. does not ask for your long range plans, it's really important for you to create your own. Use a 11x17 sheet of paper with the school months running along the top of the sheet and all the subjects down the left hand side of the sheet.

Within the square area representing each month and subject, briefly describe what you will be doing. For example,

* October/Math - place value ones' column to hundred thousands' column; * January/Gym - folk dancing - 4 dances; * April -May/Langauge Arts (Literacy) - Fairy Tales Unit;

Long range plans really keep you on track and are an excellent reminder of what you have to do to follow the grade curriculum by the end of June.

December also means "holiday activities". Just as I do for Halloween, I set up a variety of Christmas activities. A variety of activities - crosswords, word searches, fill in the blanks, math puzzles, colouring in, stories describing how Christmas is celebrated around the world. I explain what to do with each activity and make enough copies of materials for the class - either put them in a folder or in an envelope, with a copy of the activity stapled on the cover.

Students must finish their own assigned work before they can get a fun Christmas activity. After they have completed an activity, they must show you before they can start another one.

For more great ideas for the Christmas season including my ideas on a Christmas party, please be sure to check out my page christmas classroom activities.

These activities were great fun and gave my students something to do. By this time of year, the natives are starting to get restless - it will get worse as the month progresses.

Two other things I have my students do during the last week of school:

1. Write 10 New Year's resolutions (an explanation may be necessary). I collect them and read them aloud at the end of January without mentioning names. The students try to guess who wrote each one.

2. Clean out their desks and what a job that may be - have recycling bins ready.

Please rememeber that if you have any questions, comments or teaching strategies that you would like to share, please visit my page on questions and answers and add them there.

I want to wish you a fun filled and enjoyable December. Have a very relaxing and well deserved holiday.

Happy New Year and speak to you in 2010!!!

Happy trails,


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