It was such a pleasure seeing so many returning parents and meeting new ones on Thursday and Friday last week during parent teacher conference. I met with 79 different sets of parents and didn’t have a moments rest!
In addition to saying “thanks” for coming out and supporting developing your child’s interest in science, I did want want to summarise some key realisations from our time together because many parents did have some “ah-ha” moments and if you didn’t have the chance to meet with me, I hope to convey these to help acquaint you with some reporting.
1.) Many grades have comments for review. A number of parents didn’t know that a numerical score might have some key information behind it.
A “9” out of “15” but how was the student evaluated and what explains their score?
For example, above is a quick screenshot of a student’s evaluation on powerschool. However, I think it’s important not only to email grades and comments to the students, but to paste them into powerschool so you as a parent can help identify areas that your child could work on.
Clicking on the “9” reveals descriptive comments and a request to resubmit higher quality work.
2.) Help focus on comments, not grades for learning. It’s easy to focus on a grade, but it often becomes a challenge to reduce a huge learning activity down to a letter grade or a number. Working with rubrics, two different students could show different understandings but have the same score on a project after rubric categories are added up. Encourage your child to show you work that they’ve done in class and ask them if they understand the comments that were given to them so that can apply that to what they’ve learned.
Descriptive comments after an argumentative writing piece in science.
3.) Grades are not cumulative. I was pleased to see so much improvement in so many students through formative assessments (quizzes) and labs over time. However, if your child might feel a little sad about a low mark early in the semester, please know that every semester is a fresh start.
4.) Wednesday’s “Tutorial” is very under-utilised. Our advisory program has carved out a 30 minute time slot on Wednesdays for students to meet with teachers about projects, assignments or missing work. So far, I’ve had very few students in sixth grade take advantage of this. If you notice that your child has a piece of work that they’d like to discuss in person, encourage them to come and visit during that designated “help” time.
5.) Our Class Blog has a “Translation Widget”. Some students who were translating for their parents recalled that they had received emails and links to our classroom blog, but were unable to understand the content as they were not native english speakers. On the right side, is a translation widget that you can access in order to translate a post to Vietnamese or Korean.
Select your language and it will translate the entire site.
If you could not meet with me over the last two days and would still like to make an appointment, please write me an email to schedule a time. Once again, thanks for your time and support!
MS Science Teacher