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On the Same Team: Better Parent-Teacher Conferences

Katherine Sokolowski has tips for improving parent conferences by using technology for flexible scheduling and easy follow-up.

“We Gather Together”: On Research and Weddings

Ruth Ayres and her colleagues use a marriage analogy to help middle school students and their families understand the research process. The article includes a nifty example of a pamphlet to share with parents.

Lessons from Listening to Toddlers Read (Home Is Where the Books Are Series)

What can you learn from having toddlers "read" to you? Plenty, as Meghan Rose soon discovers.

Routines to Build Independence Early in the School Year

Katie DiCesare explores how to develop routines early in the year, and includes advice to give to parents to build the home/school connection around expectations for independence.

Teacher Resume

Even if you have no plans to apply for a new job anytime soon, creating a resume can be a wonderful catalyst for defining who you are and what you value. It’s also a great document to share with parents and new students. Amanda Adrian explains its creative uses.

Reflecting All Year Long

Katherine Sokolowski finds the impulse for reflection is strong at the start of summer, but reflection works best when it’s built into routines all year long.

Recommendations for Summer Reading Fun: Comics and Graphic Novels for Early Readers

Early readers love comic books and graphic novels. Meghan Rose and Ruth Shagoury give their top picks in their latest summer fun for early readers booklist.

Recommendations for Summer Reading Fun: Classic Books for Early Readers

Meghan Rose and Ruth Shagoury have written a series of booklists for early readers, perfect for sharing with parents looking for suggestions. The first installment tackles the classic books many of us cherish from our own childhood days.

Staying Connected with Students All Summer Long

Cathy Mere explains how she uses technology to stay in touch with students and families over the summer.

Do You Have Any Questions? Conferring with Families

We've all experienced that moment in a parent conference. You finish your spiel, which includes assessment data, charts, and an anecdote or two about the child. And when you're finished, the parent asks, "But how is my child doing?" Melissa Kolb explores the reasons why there can be a mismatch between our sense of useful information in parent conferences and a parent's expectations.

Tips for Effective Family Communication from “The Mouse”

Jennifer Vincent details strategies and shares survey templates she uses in reaching out to families.

Family Literacy Night

Family Literacy Nights have become popular in many schools. Principal Jennifer Schwanke describes the format for a successful event, including a sample program and tips.

A Literary Taste of Home (Home is Where the Books Are Series)

Meghan Rose may live in Los Angeles, but the home of her heart will always be New England. In this booklist, she shares her favorite picture books about everything from the Red Sox to Maine blueberries to give her children a sense of where she grew up.

Supporting the Transition to Middle School: An Elementary Teacher’s Perspective

Maria Caplin shares how and why she began to collaborate with Gretchen Taylor, a sixth-grade teacher who would soon be the middle school teacher for some of her students.

What Information Is Good Information? Smooth and Effective Transitions to Middle School

Gretchen Taylor explains her role in observing Maria’s fifth-grade classroom, and then building a relationship with students and their families.

Inscribe It! (Home is Where the Books Are Series)

Some of the most treasured notes for many of us are the inscriptions in books that are gifts from others. Meghan Rose shares why inscribed books have lasting value for families.

Comic Books and Mini Caped Crusaders for the Youngest Readers (Home is Where the Books Are Series)

Meghan Rose gives a mom’s perspective on comics for young children in this booklist. This is from our new series, Home is Where the Books Are, on literacy in the home from birth to age 5.

Two Teachers and One Kindergartner

Principal Jennifer Schwanke looks at the challenging issue of retention and the power of teamwork.

I Have Two Pictures of Cindy. . .

Melissa Kolb writes about the importance of time and patience in meeting our goals with young learners — in this instance, a child who struggles to speak in her preschool classroom.

Ten Classic Ideas That Still Work

Teachers are always on the hunt for something new, even as we cherish what works well year after year. Franki Sibberson lists the activities that have stood the test of time in her classroom.

Good News: Your Teacher is Calling

Heather Rader and Jennifer Taft share strategies for positive communication with parents.

Opening Doors to Parents in Middle School

Gretchen Taylor finds middle school parents enjoy hearing about their child’s day — it’s just a matter of getting creative in dealing with the large number of families.

Book Memories

Jennifer Schwanke finds connections between her childhood, teaching, and school leadership in this heartwarming essay.

One Book, One School: Building Community with Shared Text

"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." These words from the book Wonder set Katherine Sokolowski on the path of designing a shared reading experience at her school that will build community and empathy across the grades.

An At-Home Summer Reading Camp

Katherine Sokolowski comes up with a novel way to boost kids’ reading and her summer income —hosting a reading camp in her home.

Don’t Be a Sneetch

Amanda Adrian ponders end-of-year celebrations, as well as the haves and have-nots, in schools.

What to Say on Parent Teacher Night

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan present some of the anecdotes and research they would share with parents during open houses and conferences.

Using Video to Build the Home-School Connection

Video is a terrific tool for building connections between home and school. Heather Rader explains how Kelli Demonte uses video to guide children and communicate with families.

Conferring with Parents (ROUND-UP)

There is always a new tweak to consider with conferences involving families. Choice Literacy Contributors have both the head and heart in mind with these tips.

A Poetry Cafe Celebration

Stella Villalba explains how her poetry cafe program brings families together for a festive event, and helps English language learners develop reading and fluency skills at the same time.  This is the first installment in a two-part series.

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