Parent Communication Part 3: Value Your Parents Expertise

As I mentioned in my last post, building a community is a great way to have edifying communication. You want to have a relationship with your students’ parents because eventually, inevitably you are going to have a conversation that is not all sunshine and butterflies.

When you need to talk to parents about their child, whether it be about academia or behavior trends they are showcasing, always start by valuing their expertise. The parents have known this child since they were born, they’ve been raising them. And often (always) they get defensive when issues come to the table. Think about it. Do you enjoy hearing about your flaws? It is NEVER easy hearing something negative about your child.

Before anything becomes a big issue I will email parents and share that I have been noticing certain behavior patterns. A child showing defiance, or playing rough with classmates, or having issues focusing, are usually things I will email about rather quickly.  After sharing something positive about the school day, and then sharing what I have been seeing, I ask  the parents/guardians if they’ve ever noticed this at home and if so, do they have any advice for me. I want to make sure my parents know that I value what they know about their child, and also if they have notice patterns at home, maybe they have a system that works that I can implement at school. You never know unless you ask. This opens up conversation to hearing if other things happening in a child’s life factor into their school life (as it almost always does).

If the issue is sensitive or dangerous and I am unsure about how to word it, I will call the parents. I also call parents if their child is involved in something and it was not their fault, or something happened to them. Tone can come across so different on email, as I am sure we are all aware of. If it is a repeated behavior and I don’t have time to call, I try to have a colleague look over my email. A second pair of eyes is your best friend. Use your team! They most likely know the student as well and can be very, very helpful.

In the end, the more you can build a positive relationship with your parents, the better you’ll be able to teach their child.

My last post on parent communication coming up next… Part 4: Take Notes!

I really don’t know what I would do without parenthesis. I just love them so much.

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The Start of Something New!

Hello friends, family, and most importantly, teachers! Over the past several years Jee Young and I will admit that we have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to updating our blog. But we are in the process of stumbling back on (the wagon) and a part of that includes a new Instagram handle. You can now find us at twoapplesadayteachers on IG. Look us up, give us a follow! (Please.) We are sharing great ideas and inspiring quotes and are really, really excited to be a part of the instagram teaching community. I have learned this summer that this particular community is fabulous. Teachers are amazing on instagram.

We will continue to write posts, we will! Come back and support us. And leave a comment so we can support you too. This world is better with interaction, don’t you think?

Looking forward to the start of something new.

***Cue High School Musical song that will now be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.***

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Connecting Classrooms through Skype

It all started with a simple comment on a blog. Recently, I started reading a blog of another international school teacher’s blog in Saudi Arabia through the two writing teachers slice of life challenge on Tuesdays. I found out that she was also a fifth grade teacher. I left her a comment, asking if she would be interested in collaborating with our class. After a few e-mails, we decided to create a google document where we would write questions for each other. So we had our first Skype session this afternoon (morning for them).

It was great as my students learned about their life, culture and school in Saudi Arabia. We also shared about our lives in Korea and our school. I think one of the funniest parts was when we taught them some words in Korean (hello, teacher & student) and when they repeated it, my students did the Korean “oooooooh” in unison. They were so impressed by their good pronunciation! Towards the end of our Skype session, one of my students asked me if we could ask them what book they are doing for their read aloud. We didn’t have a chance to ask them, but it seems like it could be a good topic to discuss the next time we Skype with them!

Here are some more resources for finding global collaboration opportunities!

Skype in the classroom

Epals global community

ilearn

The Global Read Aloud

Global Collaboration Project

Earth, as Seen by Astronauts Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt from Apollo 17

Connecting to the world through Skype!

the beginning of a beautiful blog

We would like to officially welcome you to our blog! (I promise that, that will be the only exclamation point I will use in this post, no one likes to be yelled at… even if it is with excitement.) When Jee Young approached me with the idea of co-authoring a teaching blog last September, I am pretty sure I agreed before she finished her sentence. For one thing, we both love blogging, for another, we are incredibly talented teachers (okay… Jee Young may be the brains of the operation, but I bring my own special charm- as people like to tell me… I also bring a LOT of parentheses), and lastly, we are excited to share our ideas.

Our main goal is to tap into the international community. We know there are a lot of amazing things happening in classrooms around the world. Teachers are continually finding ways to build their daily lessons around culture differences; teachers are continually looking for ways to work with these culture differences instead of against them. We want to be a part of that.

At the moment, both Jee Young and I are working at an international school near the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea. Next year, Jee Young will be teaching fifth grade in Singapore, and I will (hopefully) be teaching in a second grade classroom in the heart of Seoul. Join the ride and enjoy! (shoot, one last exclamation point…)

Ready for the world to be a part of twoapplesaday.org!

The Global Read Aloud Project

One of the things that I love about technology is that as an international teacher it allows me to connect with classrooms all over the world! One of my professional goals this year was to find more opportunities to connect and build relationships with other teachers and classes outside Korea through the use of technology.

This past September, through the Global Read Aloud Project, I connected with classes from Canada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Australia, and more. It was really fun for my students to connect with all these different students while reading the same book, Tuck Everlasting. We communicated through edmodo, skype, wikispaces and blogging.

I know it’s a bit early, but I would highly recommend you start thinking about whether you want to join and sign up for the Global Read Aloud Project 2012 here!