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Parent engagement

How to read a report card

In a typical school year, report cards come home every nine weeks or so. The purpose of report cards is to communicate about a child's progress across subject areas. Most report cards also include a Work Habits, Social Skills, or similar section.

Some kids, especially those having difficulty in school, dread report card time. Here are some suggestions for making report card time a little less scary and a little more productive.

What teachers say, what parents hear

The first nine weeks of school have passed, and in our district, this marks the time when parents sit down at the Parent-Teacher Conference to talk about their child and progress in school. Other similar meetings can be had throughout the year on an as-needed basis.

I've had several parents talk to me about what they heard from the teacher. In most cases, I'm almost sure that the teacher had a different intended meaning, but I thought it was interesting to hear what the parents took away. Names are pseudonyms.

Bake sale burn out

I got an email from a close friend of mine about a committee meeting. "I am available during the day but I need to get the girls off the bus at 2:40. I am trying NOT to have to pay a sitter or ask neighbors to help out while I am busy volunteering for the school. Ironic that I am volunteering to get involved with my children's education but that seems to take me away from my children."

7 posts to consider

It's Back to School time, which means more first-timers may be coming to this Sound it Out blog than before. Because of that, I decided to take on the 7 Link Challenge described by Problogger . By taking the challenge, I'm able to highlight some posts from my archives and revisit some of the resources I've gathered through blog posts. So, here goes! (Challenge category is in bold)

Share a Story Shape a Future 2010

Don't miss a day of this year's Share a Story — Shape a Future 2010 Blog Tour. This year the theme is "It takes a village to raise a reader." Each day you can start your "tour" from the homepage of the blog tour.

The tour runs from March 8 — 12, 2010.

The homepage of the blog tour outlines the schedule (excerpted below), and includes many links and read aloud resources. Enjoy!

Homework blues

Homework

Do your kids ever feel this way? This was written by a 7 year old, a student facing many years of homework.

Homework has been around a long time, and has had its supporters and critics since the very beginning. Critics say homework cuts into quality family time and leaves students with no down time or time to pursue non-school interests. Proponents believe that homework teaches responsibility and provides important time to reinforce what is taught during the day.

The "Mystery Reader" needs a book

My daughter's third-grade teacher does something called The Mystery Reader, which involves a surprise visit by an adult who comes in to read with the class. I'm the Mystery this Friday (shhhh...don't tell Molly!)

I'm looking for funny and engaging picture book read alouds for third graders. I've asked around my neighborhood and my teacher friends, and combed our own bookcases. I have a few ideas, but would love to hear yours!

Can't volunteer in the classroom?

Question: My son's teacher doesn't allow parent volunteers in the classroom. She says she has her schedule worked out and another adult in the room would make things too disruptive for the kids. I want to help in the room and like working with the kids, so now what do I do?

Some advice for those about to start kindergarten

Well, really this advice is for FAMILIES whose first-born child is about to start kindergarten. Two of my close friends fall into this category, and have been talking to me about their transitions. It's a big one! Some of the advice I've shared is below:

What is the parents' role in teacher assignment?

"What teacher do you want this year?"

That's the question heard over and over again in my neighborhood. Moms asking Moms, Moms asking kids, and even kids asking kids: Who do you hope you get this year?

At the core of parent requests, of course, are parent hopes that their child spends the year with a teacher who helps their child thrive cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Parents whose kids have spent a year in a less than optimal environment can tell you that a school year can be a VERY long time when the teacher-child match was bad.

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"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." — Margaret Fuller