What kinds of questions do I ask during a parent/teacher conference?
November 9, 2009 6:58 PM   Subscribe

What kinds of questions should I ask my daughter's Kindergarten teacher during a parent/teacher conference? I'm trying to formulate some good questions to ask. One thing I will ask is.............is there anything specific I can do at home to help her.

Also, she can read at the first grade level, or at least it seems that way to me. Should I ask the teacher if she could be put into an advanced reading class next year?
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Education (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Elementary school teacher here. What you tell the teacher is just as important as what she or he tells you. Give the teacher information on your daughter's interests; her behavioral patterns; how she responds to different types of stimuli, instruction, and tasks. As for what you can ask her, be very specific. If she wants you to read to your daughter, ask her how; i.e., should you read to her while she tracks with her finger, should your daughter read to you, should you do most of the reading and pause when you want her to fill in the blank, what types of comprehension questions should you be asking? What types of words does she tend to have trouble with? What types of assessments has your daughter been given? What have those assessments revealed? Does she need help with initial onset, rime, blends, diphthongs, digraphs, final e marker, ending sounds, segmenting, consonant-vowel-consonant words, long vowel spelling patterns, etc. How is her number sense? Is she able to identify and name single-digit numbers? Now what should you work with her on? Number lines, counting by 2s, adding and subtracting using manipulatives? How does the teacher plan to communicate with you throughout the year? Will she keep you updated on her progress? How and how often? How is your daughter grouped in the class? Is she stuck next to the talkative trouble maker because she's quiet, or is grouping done with thought given to how your daughter can reach her maximum potential? How is she developing socially? Does the teacher notice anything unusual or "warning signs" that might be indicative of a disability of some sort? Is there anything you can do to help the teacher in the classroom?
posted by HotPatatta at 7:17 PM on November 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Wow, everything is great, but I'd ask if she has any odd behaviors that you can shed light on--little family idioms or misunderstandings. Can be fun to talk about those and relieve some frustration when a kid insists that they're a gummibear and you (teacher) think it's a food but it's really some stupid europop song.f
posted by kathrineg at 7:58 PM on November 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

(Everything above)
posted by kathrineg at 7:59 PM on November 9, 2009

These conferences are a great way to practice active listening, especially in kindergarten when things are still pretty light and easy. Let the teacher explain things to you, it will improve your understanding of your school's culture. You may find yourself with followup questions based on what the teacher tells you that you never would have thought to ask otherwise.

Ask questions about her social interactions. You can do worksheets or flash cards to build up math skills, you can read until the cows come home, but working on social skills is much harder and if there are areas of opportunity here, better to identify them early.

I think this is a fine time for you to ask about how your school groups children in first grade and beyond, so you'll be prepared for that. For example, in my kids' school, reading groups are based on assessed skills and many reading groups are mixed-grade, while math groups in the primary grades are strictly by grade level so that everyone is guaranteed to learn the same basic fundamentals at the same time. This means my second grader who grasps the concepts easily is in the same math group with the kids who grasp them less easily, but in the upper grades she'll be given the room to jump ahead faster. Your school most certainly follows some sort of metric for reading skill assessment; ask about it. Ask how to find appropriate materials with which your daughter can continue her progress.

If you aren't already savvy on the matter, ask about how standardized testing works in your school system and how that applies to the curriculum your daughter is being taught from now, and how that will change in the years to come. I know our school's curricula have changed in the last three years, in some cases for the better and in some for the worse, and it's nice to at least be aware of it and what the teachers think about it, instead of just silently seething at the inundation of worksheets and drills.

And what hotpattata said: if you notice your kid has trouble with her r's, say so. If you notice she has trouble focusing on certain types of tasks, mention it. You may be surprised to find out things you are worried about are not issues in school; I never cease to be surprised at how my kids can be completely different children at home and at school.
posted by padraigin at 9:14 PM on November 9, 2009

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