Posts Tagged ‘student’

How to blow your first parent teacher conference?

The idea of preparing for a parent teacher conference or any new birth of parent relationships should begin long before actual face-to-face contact with a child’s teacher is established. Parents in concept are the first and primary teacher in a student’s life so don’t become one of my colleagues that two-steps without their key cohort on the dance floor.

One of the most valuable tips for engaging your student’s parent(s) before conference is to establish a non-biased relationship and well-prepared conference prior to meeting them on cookie and juice night. I set a goal each semester to contact each parent or guardian with positive reports at least twice before dropping the F bomb let alone before meeting them in person.

You will do everyone a big service by researching the family and community [if unfamiliar] prior to what I call the interview. There’s nothing worst than getting a name wrong or assuming we all share the same cultural beliefs. So do your homework, do your homework, do your homework.

One thing I learned early on was to maintain high expectations for my students and their parents. Regardless to how things appear and develop, staying focused on high expectations trumps all other methods of taking point on the war against apathy.

For your convenience I have listed a few post to help with successful parent teacher conferences:

7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher

Why is it so difficult to contact my student’s parents?

Five Simple Steps to Making That Call Home to Parents

Create a floor plan that flows from your classroom door.

Actions to take for having your best year teaching in 2010

Stay focused. Stay confident and you’ll blow wind in your sails!

Your Best Year Teaching: If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.


LiLTweeks: The Philosophy of Winning, Part 1

“True character in a winner is not boiled down to one event or situation. Winners are made of the stuff that can get back up, dust off the dirt, wipe away the tears, ignore the stinky smell you’ve stepped into, and focus through the pain with confidence to perform better next time the whistle blows.”

(Note: Philosophy of Winning is an excerpt from soon to be published Special Report on Winning)

Winning or even being a winner means something different to just about anyone you ask to share their thoughts on the subject. Straight talk on it is, even though many of us buy into what others think it means to be a winner, what you personally believe and how you feel about it is what brings out the champion in you.

Believe you are a winner, even when no one else does.

Say it like you mean it, “I’m a winner and there’s nothing you can do about it.” What does that feel like? In high school I was part of a group of guys called Hard, Inc. We were cut from a unique breed of athletes, walking around chanting how fine we were, long before MC Hammer wrote, “Can’t Touch This.”

My grandmother would often tell me, “It’s not always what you say, but how you say it, that wins friends and creates enemies.” Before long I learned that you can look at competition the same way. Nana could have easily said, “It’s not the win or loss that matters, but how you played the game, that makes you a winner?” (To be continued. . . )

LiLTweeks (Lessons I Learned This Week) is a weekly observation of some problems I’ve encountered and possible actions for resolve. If you have been inspired from this article please leave a comment and consider subscribing to the RSS (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader [look for Weekend Post].

How to inspire Dads to do the Daddy thing?

Photo Credit by cogdogblog.

Research doesn’t have to report that students perform better and achieve academic success when fathers get more involved with their children’s education to know it’s a fact, do we? Nor, do you need someone to encourage you to forge a campaign for parent involvement before you get creative and start making things happen in your K-12 classroom.

K – 12 Education: Stressed Out Series 6.4

I don’t know if it’s just me being a male teacher or what, but I get excited when I see another man in the building (maybe not in the same way you do). It’s cool to watch students behaviors shift with each step taken by dads in the hallways. Like you I am more than prepared for lunchroom challenges, but we appreciate the reinforcement even if it is temporary on any given day.

Consider creating a campaign for building your network of male parents and guardians. In addition to fathers we’re talking big brothers (paternal and United Way), uncles, grandfathers, and significant others listed on your parent contact sheets. Your cause could be to form an advisory committee for best disciplinary practices to necktie donations and knot training classes on how to use one for an upcoming school celebration. If you are really gutsy make a difference by soliciting nominees for outstanding daddy.

You can write a district wide press release even if you only get one or two nominated dads to honor. Find a business to sponsor juice and snacks for a field trip of the dads to be invited. You can even do an interview by phone to launch that first podcast you’ve been putting off (see page 37 of my eBook for details). Don’t you think that ought to get them inspired?

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.

Where do I start teaching my child about making money?

One of the first things you can do to help your children learn about making money is to model for them how to make a difference, says Twitter friend @Daveanderson100. You ask, “How does that help my child to learn about making money?” It’s simple, teaching by example to make a difference, starting in areas that interest you most, sets an important standard in your child’s character for learning how to add value of undeniable products or services that keep improving over time.

Undeniable products and services are in high demand.

Once a child grabs hold of an idea at its core there’s an innate ability for them to surpass their peers while they are still young. How many times have you said, “I wish I had learned that when I was younger.” Why is that? We understand that learning success secrets while our natural bend is still supple leverages success a lot quicker than when we are older.

Get paid for what you bring to the table.

Your child will learn early that by being the very best they can be helps them become better performers as they grow. Eventually your child will develop a hunger for out performing their previous performance. Then before they know it, they are out performing others without consciously competing. That kind of performance leads to peak performance, which carries a premium dollar amount for others to bid on. How’s that for starters?

Stay focused, stay confident, and bid high on peak performers,
Carter | @laroncarter

P.S. Kids Mind Your Own Business is loaded with tips of how parents can help their children build business skills with little to no money down. If you have been inspired from this article please leave a comment and consider subscribing to the RSS (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader [look for Weekend Post].

Five Simple Steps to Making That Call Home to Parents

Photo Credit by Inno'vision

Far too often we rely on negative passed experiences to carry us through current situations and circumstances needing a different set of rules to play by. But, how do we get past a bad experience to create something new and exciting? How do we find gratification in something like calling parents to narc on a child that has is suspected to have stolen a purse or believed to be selling prescription meds from the parent’s supply cabinet? There’s a simple way – Don’t wait until you need to call before you have to call.

K – 12 Education: Stressed Out Series 6.3

Remember how Ms. Patroness’ emotional state changed after describing the humanitarian project her students were involved with one semester and how she felt great about making all those calls to coordinate the event. She was able to identify tremendous states of excitement in knowing the parent would welcome her calls. Ms. Patroness also believed she was not only leading a great campaign, but she was experiencing a measurable highlight in her career. I’m going to share how she pulled it off in five simple steps.

Step 1. Don’t wait to the last minute to call a parent. This is wrong on so many fronts [no pun intended]. Think about how you feel when a representative from the company you made your last purchase calls to congratulate you and hear from you how you rate the experience. You don’t have to be a school of choice to find value in servicing your customers this way.

Step 2. Create some sort of ongoing need to connect with your parents. In a recent blog I recommended taking camera phone pics of chalkboard assignments and sending it to your student’s parents by picture mail or Twitpic [] so that they can stay on top of things quickly (see Step 2 of 7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher). This works especially well for parents with shared custody.

Step 3. Make it a rule to contact each parent on your roster at least twice with heart felt positive reports before having to rat a student out. Parents that get regular negative calls from school personnel are a little punchy when seeing the call come in on caller ID. By establishing a genuine service connection with parents, based on trust and credibility, you can easily recruit them as part of your classroom management and support team member for special events.

Step 4. Call your parents when you’re thinking of them. If you pass a location or reminded of a family event, follow up with a quick text or email particularly if you anticipate having to contact them about their child in the near future. It will soften the blow for the next time you call with bad news to report.

Step 5. When you need to clobber that little darling with a phone call home to his parents, spank his little behind. Only this time the stage has been set to operate as a genuine family ally instead of, “that guy.” The time needed to establish trust may vary between semesters and families, but staying focused on the goal to make partnerships that matter will give you the confidence to stick with it until you succeed.

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.

Why is it so difficult to contact my student’s parents?

Photo Credit by marcalandavis.

Have you reached a point in your career where identifying what’s most important for you to help your specific group of students to achieve individual academic success based on their particular circumstances and skill sets, is what matters most?

K – 12 Education: Stressed Out Series 6.2

Identifying what’s most important or prioritizing what gets your attention is a huge undertaking to address in a blog. I’ll approach the process of determining importance by taking on different aspects of training sessions teachers have struggled with over the years.

One repeated theme of importance for educators is parental involvement. Many schools across the country have engaged parents at the kitchen table during homework, actively participating in PTA, and volunteering on fieldtrips. Not to be unrecognized, in many other schools across America, is a lack of parent presence at sporting events and parent teacher conferences.

Family Overlaod

They are often working more than one job that takes them away from peak academic hours and still fall short trying to fund school projects. Transportation maybe an overwhelming challenge when having to visit several schools at the same time.

These are genuinely complex circumstances needing simple solutions where possible. That’s one of the reasons I addressed measurable goals (V2.5, p. 32) in my Guide to Having Your Best Year Teaching With Smart K12 Methods. You’re are going to have to take bolder leadership measures to inspire all parents and guardians to make radical changes in how they get involved with what is most important for your student’s success.

Fearing Paternal Hostility

A teacher in one of my training sessions said she found it extremely difficult to connect with her student’s parents. I asked, Ms. Patroness, if she could explain how it felt when she knew she was going to have contact a parent? She said she could imagine the parents getting hostile and paternally protective with their child. This was probably created out of a past experience that anchored to her memory in a negative way. So, I asked if there was ever a time when she had a great experience calling a parent?

Almost immediately Ms. Patroness perked up and began telling me stories of when her class was chosen to be a part of a nationally televised news piece showcasing a humanitarian project her students were involved with one semester. And how there was an exchange of phone calls between her and the kid’s parents for permission slips, coordinating volunteer support groups, and designating drivers. Now all we had to do was connect those feelings [felt at that time] to picking up the phone and calling parents for a parent-teacher conference. (To be continued)

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.

Five Simple Steps to Eliminate Classroom Pencil Sharpening Distractions

Photo Credit by Ela Plante

Have you been overwhelmed with the process of building a system that works for managing student behaviors? Are those student behaviors costing your student achievement levels to drop?

K – 12 Education: Stressed Out Series 6.1

Last year I worked with a teacher I called Ms. Ann. She described her out of control classroom as the group of students that were constantly getting out of their seats, talking with each other during her lessons, and texting when they were suppose to be working.

I was able to help clearly identify some of Ms. Ann’s immediate problems for paving her classroom potholes, which were things like the noise of a pencil sharpener at inappropriate times during her lesson. Can we take a look at that for a minute? Ms. Ann discovered she didn’t have a process for eliminating the problem. The students would enter the room and take their seats, but never really seem to settle down. Her students would also begin sharpening pencils non-stop even though they knew she didn’t allow it.

Step 1. What we did first was to address the process of entering her classroom. There wasn’t any consistent structure for the intro of her lesson. So, we designed a routine were the students entered the room, took their assigned seats, glanced at the board specifically sectioned to post assignment/homework instructions, and the students understood they were to begin immediately while she took attendance, walking the floor plan, and engaging her students.

Step 2. We invested in pencils. She purchased a couple of small cases of pencils for under $5 to get started.

Step 3.
Ms. Ann hooked up with the custodians and asked if she could have any pencils picked up during their daily cleaning rounds.

Step 4. She made it know that if there was any students needing to work off detention or community services that she had plenty of pencils needing to be sharpened before and after school. Now the stage was set for eliminating the pencil sharpening issue.

Step 5. Her students were expected to be responsible for bringing necessary supplies, but throughout the lesson students were allowed to swap a limit of two broken pencils in exchange for sharpened pencils. She didn’t create more stress by making the process all strict or complicated for everyone. She supplied the pencil cup and the kids swapped pencils.

The transition was so productive that she was no longer up tight about a student or two not coming to class with something to write with. As a result her students were ever more willing to share their supplies because of their own changed perceptions of being in control.

What processes have you put into place for creating a better quality of community in your classroom?

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.