Posts Tagged ‘teacher’

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.

How to show Facebook friends you care using lists?

From time to time my Facebook (and Twitter) friends express how lonely it can be online because they don’t understand how to get the most out of the site, get others to comment on their stuff or be blessed to have them “talk to the wall” when they don’t have Mari Smith celebrity status (Love you girl). So how do you show Facebook friends that you care even if it doesn’t get the social response you desperately need?

Social Media: PLN 7.5

Good friends know how to grow that covenant personal relationship sharing affections that eventually transcends boundaries that guard our core feelings. Yet many of us forget these basic truths when connecting with people we call our friends.

That’s where Facebook Lists come in. By creating lists those you follow are placed under a microscope for smoothly merging onto the many social media highways out there. That way your paths are more likely to cross outside of your personal space. It’s an effective way for getting yourself onto Facebook radar patterns. Not so much for being seen as it is for discovering the minds of those added as friends so that you can comment on their status updates, notes, and “Like” their pictures and links.

If you ever wondered why you never saw so and so’s status updates in the Most Recent and Top News feeds of your home page it’s because you didn’t know where to look.

Creating and closely following lists helps to discover content you need for showing friends how much you care.

You become valuably important by establishing trust and being found credible over time, two of the most valuable qualities we can contribute to the community teaches Facebook friend Michael Port, national best selling author of Beyond Booked Solid, Think Big Manifesto, and The Contrarian Effect.

Facebook and Twitter friend Tiffany Michelle Alexander says, “I have several lists. Family and close friends, book lovers, film lovers, hometown folks, -easier for me to keep track of people and things that way.” So how do we create these lists?

1) You can take care of placing people that you’ve requested into lists before they accept you as a friend by clicking the Add to List drag down bar. The same can be done for those trying to be added as a friend to your Facebook.

2) I always recommend adding a comment.

3) If you didn’t catch them before now, it’s Ok. Go to your Edit Friends option (top right Home > Profile > Account link) and place them into a list or create a new one.

4) Finding your list can be a little tricky, but I’ll walk you through being able to follow your friends more closely. From your Home page click Friends in the left column of the page. Go down a little click More. That’s it, just find the list you’ve created and click again to find all those lost updates.

Stay focused. Stay confident and accountable for making friends smile like Chris Gloss champions. I guarantee they’ll start replying more often to your stuff.

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.

5 Steps for entering a social media PLN conversation

Social media communities like Twitter, Ning, and Elluminate have Personal Learning Network subgroup events that can be more of a challenge than opening up a Twitter account and trying to figure out what to do next. Finding your voice and jumping into an online conversation that’s loading upwards of 18,000 feeds per hour adds another few intense weeks onto your eight-month training period. These steps help out a little with finding a door to enter.

Social Media: PLN 7.2

In the previous blog (PLN 7.1) I shared some simple, but valuable tips for jumping into the wave of social media PLN’s. This blog post gets specific with identifying a few subgroups that have been making buzz in the K12 education online community and walking you through a less stressed entrance into their universe.

Step 1: Discover who’s who in the community
• Do a little checking around on those you are following. The first thing I do when doing an online background check begins with scrolling through 3 – 6 pages of their Twitter status updates to get a feel of how they’re using Twitter.

• Then I do a search for their username to find out more about whom they’re actually engaging in conversations.

• The next thing I do is follow their web linked to Twitter. If that proves uninteresting I may do a Google Search on their name matching the location and avatar found on Twitter to better match who’s who.

• If they are a blogger I usually enter the URL into my Google Reader to receive RSS feeds each time there is a new post.

Step 2: Closely follow those that have shared interest and personalities
As mentioned earlier following should actually mean following those you add to your PLN. Create client list and groups of those you’re most interested in following closely. And take time on the weekend to read their Twitter and blog post. There is no better way to connect with someone than to make comments on their blog. It is extremely exciting for a blogger to know that others appreciate their articles.

Step 3: Know which client and communities works best for you
Because there are literally thousands of applications known as clients used for social media communications I’ll narrow it down to a few for now and turn this post into a living document by posting updates when needed.

Tweetdeck: A highly favored free social media application offering a downloadable stand-alone program to install onto your computer. Tweetdeck is used by serious Twitter users for status updates for Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Ping, and other online social media communities from one window with flexibility of creating customized columns of search information, Tweet scheduling, status and a lot more.

Hootsuite: A fast growing social media client of choice because it offers everything Tweetdeck has, but there is no need to download a separate application. Hootsuite is a Twitter client service meaning all you need is a username and password and you can log onto any internet connected computer or smart phone and it’s on. Hootsuite is getting a lot of noise for being the outstanding Twitter client for Apple’s iPhone users.

Tweetgrid: Seems to be used in addition to Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and regular web users because of a much quicker real time status update feed. Users claim it feels more authentic offering a pause button so you can catch your breath between Tweets.

Elluninate: This client is a downloaded application created by social learning consultant Steve Hargadon that offers cutting edge PLN flexibility for educators, support staff, and students in both public and private communities.

Ning: A pioneering social media community platform that was quickly embraced by educators in the earlier days PLN boom before it acquired the name.

Edutopia: Created by the George Lucas Foundation offers K-12 community platform for educators, magazine, blog, reports, and videos. Great for joining groups like New Teacher Connections.

Step 4: Stage a few general topic comments
Setting aside time to stage a few prepared comments and scheduling them in advance to be posted during your PLN online event allows you to do some pre-background investigating, have multiple feeds in the conversation, and remain focused on the status updates that interest you the most all at once.

Step 5: Check for comment mentions about you frequently
Once you are engaged into the conversation like #edchat (Tue. 12pm/7pm EDT) or #nchat (Wed. 4pm PDT/7pm EDT) it’s not hard to forget that people in your PLN are commenting to your status updates without seeing them in the live feed because it maybe zipping by at the speed of light. Take your time, do your homework, and you’ll do fine.

Stay focused. Stay confident and come on in.

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.

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.

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.

Actions to take for having your best year teaching in 2010

Stop inappropriate behaviors, increase parental involvement, and produce better problem solvers. How about, spend more time teaching? Whether you are a new school team player or old school veteran that’s had enough drama for one semester. I might have something that works for you. It’s been a blessing in my life, that’s why I’m paying it forward. Now you can pass it onto those you serve. With one download you can start 2010 on a mission to feel good about SMART classroom goal setting decisions and taking bold actions to produce your best year teaching K12 students!

Uses Google Docs, Sign-in with Facebook or OpenID and click Downdload.