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ClassTag Stories: How Tara Transformed Parent Teacher Conferences with ClassTag

 

Tara Torok is a 4th grade teacher at Success Academy in South Bend, Indiana. In her first five years of teaching, she’s taught kindergarten, 3rd grade and K-6th grade art.  She recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a Masters in STEAM. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Art) and interested in applying her interdisciplinary perspective in the classroom.

I love teaching and I love learning with the students.  I love the way students get me excited about life and show me how to look at the world through a different lens.

This is why interacting with parents is so important to me. The more connected the parents are, the more connected the students are. You could say that parents play the most critical role in any classroom.

The more connected the parents are, the more connected the students are. Click To Tweet

tara-torok-and-her-students

As a teacher with conferences right around the corner, I was hoping to eliminate the complexities and processes of paper forms for parent conferences.  I didn’t think twice about choosing ClassTag!

I primarily use a paper format for communication and coordination of parent teacher conferences. My primary concern when using a paper format is that forms that are sent home are often misplaced resulting in delayed communication. The challenges of using paper format also include coordination of sibling conferences. This process is stressful because many students have siblings in several different grade levels.

I was sick on the day conference forms were passed out and so I wanted to find a way from home to effectively communicate the process in case a student forgot to bring their forms home. I was relieved when many parents signed up the same night I sent the ClassTag invites via e-mail. I could organize and communicate dates and times from home as well as from school. ClassTag was also useful when I was not available to collaborate with other teachers after school. Finding time to meet and discuss possible times with other teachers after school is difficult because many teachers are involved with programs after school.

ClassTag allowed me to effectively streamline conference times, quickly provide information to other teachers with siblings, and change times slots as needed. Furthermore, I did not have to sift through papers and organize forms saving me hours of time. I had around 90 % of parents attend conferences and 10% of parents had phone conferences or re-scheduled. I was able to use ClassTag to sign up 73% of parents within a week before conferences.

As a parent, I have felt overwhelmed and helpless during conferences when my child’s teacher delivered negative information about behaviors and grades. Student-led conferences are a way for students to set and monitor long term academic and behavior goals as well as promote self-efficacy.

Student-led conferences help students to set and monitor long-term academic and behavior goals Click To Tweet

Providing opportunities for students to have a voice during conferences is an essential way to promote ownership of learning. Students who can understand and interpret their data and create goals become active participants which improve overall academic growth and confidence.

I have not used any other “coordination” apps before and I am extremely interested in creating a learning management system which encompasses the multitude of layers needed in a school environment. I was concerned that we’d have to use many different platforms to meet our technological needs.

I am a teacher who fails every day! It’s part of the job. It’s how I learn. The motto in our classroom is that through our failures, we learn how to succeed.  The misconception of being a teacher is that we own and disperse all information. I want my students to think of me as a facilitator or learning instead of their “teacher”. I always tell my students they have not mastered a concept until they can teach it successfully to their peers.

student-led-learning

Students mastered a concept when can teach it to their peers. Click To Tweet

21st-Century classrooms are beginning to transform educational experiences and expectations. As we move towards a collaborative approach to learning, we are expanding the possibilities of learning and growing together and can take ownership of our progress. To increase student participation and positive behaviors we must partner with our students and parents. ClassTag allows parents, students, and teachers to digitally connect and collaborate in the 21st-Century.  

To increase student participation, we must partner with our students and parents Click To Tweet

Have a minute? Learn how to set up your parent teacher conference on ClassTag. It really is that easy! Watch the video of follow this step-by-step guide.

 

 

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