Send conference invitations to parents well ahead of conference days. Offer conference times during the evening and also during the day and let parents indicate their first and second preferences.
Ask whether parents will need an interpreter. This question could be included on the conference invitation.
Schedule the conferences and then notify the parents of their specific conference times so that they may either confirm their conference times or reschedule.
Send reminders home with your students the day before conferences.
Let parents know whether their student is welcome to attend the conference. Request that parents get childcare for siblings in order to be able to focus their attention on the task at hand.
Collect examples of student work from all areas of the curriculum that you’d like to share with the parents in the weeks leading up the conferences.
Fold a 12 x 18 piece of construction paper in half for each child to make a folder to hold materials you want to discuss at conferences. Write the childrens’ names along the edges of the folders.
I like to have the children decorate the folder by drawing a picture of their favorite thing to do at school, a picture of him or herself or a season-themed picture. This picture can serve as a conversation starter.
At the end of the conference, you can send the folder home with the parents along with any conference materials.
On the wall outside your classroom, hang an interesting art project which incorporates student writing. Parent will enjoy reading the students’ writing while they wait for their conference.
Post your conference schedule outside the classroom door on conference day .
Place a small table and two chairs in the hall outside our classroom. Put the children’s current reading book and other materials on the table so that parents may pursue them as they wait for their conference time.
Give a copy of your conference schedule to the school secretary so that he or she can confirm conference times with parents who call with questions.
You should also give your schedule to special ed, speech, ELL teachers and other specialists who work with your students in case they want to join your conference.
Place the conference folders, in order of conference times, on your meeting table.
Be prepared to tell each parent something positive about his or her child. You may want to lead with the positive or save it for last.
Teachers should remember that conferences aren’t just a time to talk to parents, but also to listen to them. You are both on the same team and have in common an interest in seeing their child/your student do well. Any insights parents can share with you about your students will give you advantage in the classroom.