Last year I tried, unsuccessfully, to send home a weekly report and a packet of papers for parents to go through. They signed and returned the report. The weekly report I created was way too much. I ended up spending hours working on reports and still making phone calls anyway (I find phone calls more personal and effective). Mid-year I changed the report and send it home once every two weeks. Now admitedly I had the best class ever so the need for reports was really not needed.
My new teaching partner uses agendas and I will too. BUT that still leaves me with corrected papers and tests. Any ideas you can share about sending home corrected tests and papers? Do you send home a cover letter? I remember my own daughter pulling two items (that she was especially proud of) for her own portfolio...Has anyone tried this?
Last edited by Ren; 06-30-2008 at 08:42 AM..
Reason: spelling error
I use Friday Folders, which I inserted all their graded work into once a week. I also had a form stapled to the inside of it with columns for: Date, Missing Work, Cards Changed (discipline plan changes), a quick Comment from me, and a space for parent signature. By the end of the year, it took me about 20 minutes to do it for my entire class.
Next year I think I might also add a Proud Book idea that I got from a colleague. In the beginning of the year, have a book bound with blank construction paper for each week of the school year for each student. Then each week, students pick their assignment they are most proud of to glue into the book. They write a couple of sentences on the opposite page about why they are proud of it.
I do similar to what traveler does. I send home graded papers, stapled together, in a folder with a form in the front. The form lasts through the 9 weeks, then I exchange it for a new one. The form has columns with:
date/parent signature/discipline(E,S,N)/homework(+,-, L for late)/comments
If they get E and + I just put a smiley face for the comment. If there was an issue with discipline, I just put a quick reason ("needs reminder about excessive talking"). If they have a - for homework, I put what's missing.
I get 24 folders done in 15 minutes each week while I have recess room (we take turns having it). If we didn't have a recess room, I'd just do the folders while my kids were reading their A.R. books at the end of the day.
I send home a weekly newsletter. At the bottom, I have a space where I write down their behavior for every day of the week. I have the parents sign and return these.
Homework gets sent home as soon as it is graded. Tests are also sent home and signed and returned. Our grades are available to parents via the Internet so parents can look up grades any time as well.
As a busy parent of four kids, I really hate Friday folders (no offense to any that use them). Every Friday, my daughter brings home a STACK of work for me to look at. If it was a few papers at a time, I would definitely look at every one. A lot of her work gets glanced at and tossed. Plus, things have a tendency to get lost in the STACK.
That's surprising that some of you don't need to send home anything. I personally like to have a paper trail. With their signature, I have proof that they know their child's grades ahead of time. They also have the option of going over any work that was misunderstood. I let them keep the graded papers so they can take the weekend or a whole month to go over them - or not at all. Either way they have no reason to be upset at report card time. Their child has "that grade" because that's how all those papers averaged. It works well for me.
I didn't realize some parents wouldn't like getting the papers. I love glancing through my own 3 children's papers. I throw away any after I go over them (if needed) and keep any that I think are extra good work to save.
I teach 3rd now, but I used the same form when I taught 4th.
No Friday folder here! Too much work when parents don't want to look at it. Each child has a mailbox in the classroom. Papers are filed there as soon as they are graded. Students check their mailbox at the end of each day and put those papers in the right pocket of their homework folder labeled "Papers for Home". Parents know to check that pocket every night.
I had two students this year who would "lose" graded papers so they had to get their planner signed by me each afternoon and then signed by their parents each night. This is where I would put any comments about work or behavior. I figure by this age neither they nor their parents should still need such a stringent thing as a Friday Folder.
We do have a behavior program that we follow in which they earn different colored stars for their behavior. They keep track of their colors on their "star sheet" that they keep in their homework folder. This has to be signed each weekend and brought back on Monday. If it is not signed, then I call the parent just to touch base.
Let me clarify what I said, because I think I sound like a bad parent. I want to get work back. I do want to look at it. However, my daughter's teacher would send sometimes 50 or 60 sheets home! As a teacher, I know how important it is for parents to look over their child's work. However, let's get real. That's a lot. I check her grades on line, I talk with her teacher every day (same school), and she is a straight A student. I have four kids- 3 under the age of 5. My husband works full-time and farms full-time so he is never home. As I said before , I glance at the papers before I toss them. Almost always they are a 100%. Some things get looked at more closely. I would just prefer to get a few papers at a time. A lot of my parents have told me the same thing and appreciate work being returned daily. Next year will be better since she will be in my class. I'll know everything that is on her papers! Plus, I don't think I ever could send home 50-60 sheets in one week. I'm not a big worksheet person.
to piggyback on cheri's message, I think it's better to give more immediate feedback for both students and parents. I try to check work and get it back same day (when possible) or at least in a timely fashion. i know as a "student" I wanted feedback right away That eliminates the overhwelming piles of papers.
But 50-60 worksheets, isn't that a bit worksheet overkill
My students keep portfolios at school where they put work that they feel strongly about. These papers are then shared at their student led conferences. Work that they do not put in their portfolios supposedly goes home. But in the neighborhood I work in, many parents do not check their childs' backpacks when a child is not giving them any thing. If I ever send any thing home I have to request a signature by putting a stamp on it or what not.
Thanks for all your input. You have all given me a lot to think about. I definitely feel it is important to share with parents student work to keep them aware of their child's academic work/performance. But at the same time I don't want to inidate them with tons of paper. Perhaps collecting the most important work and passing that on in a folder is most effective....and send home other work daily. Thankfully I've got some time to think about this some more.
I guess I should clarify, too. 50-60 worksheets a week is definitely too many! I wouldn't expect a parent to go over that many (and I probably wouldn't either!). I have from 3-5 sheets that go home each week. It's only tests, projects (or rubrics from projects), and occasional classwork. We go over homework in class together, so those go home each night. You're right about immediate feedback. I make sure those go home so they'll be ready for the tests on the same skills.
Sorry if I made you sound like a bad parent, cheri! That wasn't my intention.
I agree with Cheri, if you send every paper home in your "Friday" folder parents won't bother to look through them. I send only the graded papers from the previous week on Tuesday and send a weekly progress report using making the grade(our program for keeping grades). It takes me 5 minutes to make the progress reports. The papers are filed all during the week so it only takes a few minutes to put together the folders. I also attach a weekly newsletter. It is my way of making sure parents are informed on both the classroom and their child's grades, but I find it very frustrating because I know most parents don't look at any of the papers they just sign the progress report. Either way I have the documentation I need.
You didn't make me feel like a bad mom. I think it was just my own guilty feelings, because I also like to look at my kids' work. I used to save the papers at the beginning of the year so that I could look carefully at them before they went in the garbage. Unfortunately, I have a busy and somewhat disorganized house. Before you knew it, the papers were everywhere. I had to start tossing them without carefully looking them over. Otherwise, my house was overrun with old schoolwork.
I do something similar to many of you. I use a mailbox filing system during the week. On Friday's, our class brainstorms the highlights of our weekly activities. Students write a letter to their parent explaining what they did in school that week. Over the weekend, parents respond to their children’s letters and review the work that was sent home. We use a two pocket with prong folders; one side is stay at home and the other return to school. Each week, the student returns his/her folder with the piece of work he/she would like to put inside the portfolio that goes home at the end of the year. Parents in other classes have asked for their teachers to use these "Parent Communication Folders." It's been a nice way for students to talk about issues with their parents they wouldn't normally discuss because of their age. It's also been a helpful tool for conferencing.
My kids have a Friday Folder where they keep papers that have been corrected in one pocket and to be finished in the other. On Fridays the kids give out tests and quizzes that have been corrected. They are put in their Homework Folder with the Friday Folder papers and are sent home. No cover sheet or report. The papers speak for themselves. Parents know to expect them on Fridays. If something needs a signature (usually 60 or below), it is stamped. When it comes back, I circle the grade in my Gradebook. If there are issues, I have found it best to contact the parent via phone initially, then later, perhaps ongoing, if needed, email. I used to do the Friday reporting, but no longer do. Also we give out midterm progress reports. Parents are never surprised by their kids' grades.