Wednesday, November 5, 2014

October Conferences

We just finished up October conferences at our school and, holy cow, was it awesome!  I finally had time to sit down with each of my students’ parents to discuss this crazy thing called “personalized learning.”  I was super nervous to even bring it up.  I mean, what were the parents going to say?  Would they see the benefit?  Would they understand why I would try something like this?  Would they run screaming to the principal to remove their child from my crazy class?  Of course not.  As a matter of fact, it went super.  Great.  Wonderfully terrific.  

I like to start conferences by having all the items I want to cover with the parents in a folder, easily accessible.  That way, I won’t forget what to say.  So, I wrote up a quick blurb about personalized learning, what it is, and a link to this very blog.  So if you’re checking out the blog, parents, this is all about YOU!  I then explained to them how their child is learning in the class, how it looks differently than when we were in kindergarten, and how their child is improving.  Normally, at this conference in October, I show the assessments from the beginning of the year, talk about some of the gains they may have made, and then explain how I expect them to make much bigger gains by the end of the trimester.  You know, the usual.  The amazing thing about this year, though, is that ALL my kids have made HUGE gains already!  There’s no need to hope for an improvement, because they have already grown significantly!  I mean, kids who came into kindergarten with NO sounds, NO letter recognition, NO number recognition, and couldn’t count past 10, are suddenly able to count to 100, know most letter sounds, and can name all capitals and lowers!!  Let me be honest (since that’s what I do best) not all of my students are there yet, but most of them are.  And even with most of them achieving this much, this soon, it’s enough to make me literally tear up from excitement and joy!  So, with that kind of data to back me up, no parent was going to say they wish I would go back to the old ways of teaching where I stand at the front and they have to sit perfectly to listen in order to learn.  I even had parents ask if their child could be in a class like this next year!  That made me happy to think that they saw the merit in the method this soon in the year and want to see it continue.  

The point of this post….I’m so excited that my students and their parents are starting to get just as excited as I am about personalized learning!  I hope you’re getting excited too!