Ideas and resources for parent conferences

These reviewed resources offer information so share with parents at conferences or suggested activities to share at conference time. Read "In the Classroom" ideas to display and other creative approaches for parent conferences. Parents will appreciate your sharing of educator-reviewed resources at conferences and on your TeachersFirst public page so you can work as a team in support of their child's learning.

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Handsonscotland - Playfield Institute

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This site, designed in Scotland, is primarily for use by adults who have concerns about the behavior or emotional well being of children and teens. As it describes itself, it ...more
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This site, designed in Scotland, is primarily for use by adults who have concerns about the behavior or emotional well being of children and teens. As it describes itself, it is a "Toolkit of helpful responses to encourage children and young people's emotional wellbeing." It could also be useful for a high school health class, psychology class, or child development course. A newer section includes strategies to help children "flourish," specifically to "Learn how to: Build confidence; encourage gratitude; promote optimism; nurture good relationships; foster a sense of purpose; develop emotional balance...and much more!" This area is organized by specific positive characteristics and skills parents and others want to develop in children.

The "Troubling Behaviors" area follows a problem-solution format: first describing the behavior, pointing out things to consider, questions for further self-understanding, ways to help, and signals that a mental health professional ought to be involved. There are video clips with many of the topics. The site is notable for its straightforward and non-judgmental tone.

tag(s): behavior (46), mental health (26)

In the Classroom

Consider sharing the video clips (relevant to your class) on an interactive whiteboard or projector. In health (or psychology) class have students investigate one topic and present their findings to the class in a multimedia format: wiki, blog, podcast, or video. How about having students create a podcast using Podomatic (reviewed here). They might even role-play some of the scenarios. If students create a video, share the videos using a site such as Teachertube (explained here).

While this site might be useful as a resource for a high school health, psychology, or child development class, its main benefit is for teachers, parents, and other adults who care for and work with children and teens. Consider adding this link to your class web page as a resource for parents or sharing specific ideas with parents at conferences.

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Helping Children Cope in Unsettling Times:The Economic Crisis; Tips for Parents and Teachers - NASP

Grades
K to 12
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This informative and friendly article from the National Association of School Psychologists provides easy-to-implement suggestions for teacher and parents in helping children and teens...more
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This informative and friendly article from the National Association of School Psychologists provides easy-to-implement suggestions for teacher and parents in helping children and teens cope tough economic times. Many of the tips are similar to what we may already know about helping students in times of stress, but this article refocuses adults to tune into the economic crisis from the point of view of the child/teen.

tag(s): recession (3), stress (14)

In the Classroom

Take the time to read and implement the classroom suggestions for all ages, including taking time to note any signs of students "at risk." Share this printable pdf with your colleagues and with parents via a link from your teacher web page or as an insert in a school or classroom newsletter. If you have an information table at PTO/PTA functions or in your conference waiting area, this is a good handout to include.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Lexile - MetaMetrics, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Whether or not your school uses the Lexile system to measure reading levels, you will want to become familiar with it as one way to measure the reading level ...more
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Whether or not your school uses the Lexile system to measure reading levels, you will want to become familiar with it as one way to measure the reading level of a book. Lexile level information, along with the student's own participation in the choice, can make book selection a positive experience for any reader. Many publishers are now offering Lexiles to measure the reading levels of their materials. Many schools use Lexile measuring to determine the precise reading level of their students. Explore "About Lexiles" menu for more information on 'how' the measuring is done. On the homepage, click on the Tools menu to find a Lexile Analyzer that allows you to cut and paste text into an entry box to determine its Lexile readability level. (You will need to register for the free use of the Analyzer.) Choose English (or another language) book database to find the Lexile level of your classroom books. The Lexile Calculator lets you figure out the rate of comprehension based upon Lexile scores. Lexile leveling is also available for Spanish text. Explore the variety of tools to help analyze and match books for your students.

Registration is free. An email address is required, as is some other information. Some materials on this site require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

Another helpful resource in understanding Lexile levels is this pdf comparison chart from Harcourt (opens in Acrobat Reader).

tag(s): readability (8)

In the Classroom

Make Lexiles one of the tools you use to make reading a positive experience for your students. The more you know about the student and the actual content of the books, the more helpful the Lexiles can be in assisting a match. If your school reports data to parents using Lexile scoring, download the white papers to give to them at conferences to explain Lexile scores in 'parent friendly' language. Include this link on your classroom web page. If your students know their Lexile level, you will want Lexile levels on your classroom library materials so students can match a book to both their reading level and their interests. As an FYI, SOME books listed on Barnes and Noble's online site include Lexile levels in the descriptions (just after age level). Lexile connects to Barnes and Noble directly from this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Every Child Ready to Read - Public Library Association

Grades
K to 2
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This group of pdf printable brochures suggests behaviors and activities that can assist parents, preschool teachers, and early elementary teachers in getting children ready to read....more
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This group of pdf printable brochures suggests behaviors and activities that can assist parents, preschool teachers, and early elementary teachers in getting children ready to read. Available in both color and black and white formats, the brochures are also downloadable in Spanish. The brochures encourage people to use books, songs, stories, and word games to reinforce the importance of reading in education. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Make these brochures available to parents of the very young. The added bonus of having some of the brochures available in Spanish makes the development of good readers a task shared by parents and educators alike. PLace some on the table in your conference waiting area or send them home in backpacks!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ed Pubs - US Department of Education

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers free publications about teaching, literacy, reading instruction, child development, math, and school safety. The offerings include materials for all levels (brochures,...more
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This site offers free publications about teaching, literacy, reading instruction, child development, math, and school safety. The offerings include materials for all levels (brochures, posters, videotapes, newsletters, and more). The intended audiences include students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Many publications and also site information come in Spanish and English.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your class website so parents can learn about this free resource. Include links to specific publications tha fit your class' needs. Or choose helpful information with your particular parents/students and share the pdf files as print-outs at conferences or via email to help parents.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kids' Vid - Mike Keating

Grades
3 to 8
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Leap into video production with help from the Kids' Vid site! Kids' Vid steps you and your students through the process with tips on scripting, storyboarding, shooting video, and editing...more
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Leap into video production with help from the Kids' Vid site! Kids' Vid steps you and your students through the process with tips on scripting, storyboarding, shooting video, and editing it into a visual masterpiece. The site has classroom ideas, short exercises for story writing and learning video shots, an online storyboard creator, and lots of useful help from experts and kids on how to make the whole process an exciting educational experience. Some of the activities require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): tutorials (47)

In the Classroom

Start the activity by showing the student-produced videos on the web site. Use the resources on the site for a whole class jig-saw exercise. Assign small groups the task of learning one aspect of the process and then reporting and showing it to the rest of the class. Share the knowledge by creating working groups, which contain an expert from each aspect of the process. Use one of the many class ideas as practice activities for students to learn the finer points of video production before they start their masterpieces.

Video is a great tool for authentic assessment - especially for ESL, ELL, and Special Education students. Think about letting each of your students create a short video about what they know for their parent conference meeting or Open House. Explore the realm of possibilities by having students develop and ask peers a "Question of the Week" and document the responses on video. Let students produce a walking tour of the school and key personnel as an introduction for new students. Post this video on the school website, but check the district and students' Acceptable Use Policies before videoing any student faces. You may want to ask your school's funding sources to consider purchasing a few USB plug-in "flip" video cameras that cost about $100 each so students can do these projects with an "indestructible" tool.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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English for All - US Department of Education

Grades
7 to 12
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This multimedia online program allows teachers to set up English classes for ESL/ELL students from all language groups. The website includes online stories, accompanying print materials,...more
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This multimedia online program allows teachers to set up English classes for ESL/ELL students from all language groups. The website includes online stories, accompanying print materials, videos, and optional videos and CDs for purchase. Teachers can set up this FREE program (including 20 lessons) for unlimited classes. Each lesson has vocabulary, a video, support work, listening requirements, grammar, and a test. Students go through a series of activities; results are reported back to the teacher. Videos are available as downloads or podcasts. Teacher guides are provided. This site requires Flash and Quicktime. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): pronunciation (44)

In the Classroom

Be sure to take advantage of this FREE website to help your ESL/ELL students improve their English. For older students, this program can help them prepare for the world of work. Some parents of ESL/ELL students may even appreciate the resource for their own learning. ESL teachers may want to share the site at an open house or conferences as a non-invasive way of drawing parents into the process.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mem Fox: Teaching, Learning, Living - Mem Fox

Grades
K to 7
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This author page features plenty of ideas about how to help kids enjoy reading and includes many stories. Hear Mem Fox reading her own stories (click Hear Mem Read ...more
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This author page features plenty of ideas about how to help kids enjoy reading and includes many stories. Hear Mem Fox reading her own stories (click Hear Mem Read Aloud). She gives advice on how to read to children and gives great examples. This author page has many good suggestions for promoting literacy and love of reading. There is also a section of advice on writing your own picture book for children, an excellent writing activity for upper elementary and middle school students. Parts of this site require Quick Time. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): authors (120), literacy (103)

In the Classroom

Create shortcut to Mem reading aloud on your classroom computer for a center activity for primary grades, and place a copy of Mem's book there for students to follow along. Print out Mem's suggestions for reading aloud to give to parents at conferences or share this site on your teacher home page for parent and students to access from home. For older students, this site is an excellent resource for planning cross-grade reading activities for Read Across America or other special times, including having middle school students write picture books for young students, then share them at an in-person visit or on a podcast recording.PowerPoint slides are an easy way to "create" and share large format picture books electronically.

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Animals of the World - Circle 1 Network

Grades
1 to 4
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Animals of the World is a game where elementary students can guess the correct animal by using written and picture clues that are provided. The clues are based on ...more
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Animals of the World is a game where elementary students can guess the correct animal by using written and picture clues that are provided. The clues are based on various animal characteristics such as habitats, eating habits, protection and size. The range of topics goes from reptiles and amphibians to mammals and birds, with many more. The site builds understanding of animals by characteristic, an excellent way to build the higher level thinking skills of attribute listing and comparison.

tag(s): amphibians (20), birds (50), fish (24), insects (69), mammals (32), reptiles (11)

In the Classroom

Since students must correctly type the name of the animal, teachers should provide an animal picture dictionary, word wall or some other type of resource for animal names. Early spellers may struggle with some names such as giraffe or scorpion. This site would be a great option for a center or activity on a computer cluster in your classroom, especially since it has MANY different "who am I" quizzes so answers will vary.

After your students have mastered the animal concepts, have them make a "Who am I?" quiz of their own for others to try on two PowerPoint slides: one with the questions (with answers hidden under draggable "autoshape" boxes), and a second with the answer. You can combine the slide pairs into a whole class challenge for parents to try while waiting in the hallway for conferences!

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Safe Kids - safekids.com

Grades
1 to 12
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This site offers information to children, teens, and parents about how to stay safe online and keep your computer safe. It contains information sheets for various levels, downloadable...more
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This site offers information to children, teens, and parents about how to stay safe online and keep your computer safe. It contains information sheets for various levels, downloadable parent and child online safety pledges, and slide shows about Internet safety. The slide shows do require the user to register at myspace.com, so this requirement may preclude usage at school. There is even a SafeKids song, but it downloads slowly, even on a fast connection (opt for the dial-up version). Younger children will also enjoy the online safety quiz. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): internet safety (109), resources (112), safety (92)

In the Classroom

Include this site on your teacher web page for students and parents to access as a reference. Share the printables with parents at open house or conferences. As you introduce web-based activities in your classroom, pause to rmind students of these safety rules, even if someone else is supposed to "cover" them in their classroom. Parts of this site require the use of myspace, so be sure to preview it and match the requirements to your school's regulations.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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New Teacher Hotline Podcasts: Phone Conferences - Glen Moulton and Mike Kelley

Grades
K to 12
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Nothing is more frightening than the first time you have to call a parent. New teachers, pre-service teacher candidates, student teachers, substitutes, or any teacher seeking advice...more
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Nothing is more frightening than the first time you have to call a parent. New teachers, pre-service teacher candidates, student teachers, substitutes, or any teacher seeking advice on phone conferences will enjoy the humor and practicality of these podcasts by an experienced teacher and an experienced teacher/supervisor/administrator. Those who join the site (free) can also submit questions that will be addressed in the twice-monthly podcasts spanning many new-teacher topics. Visit the site to listen on your computer or subscribe to the entire podcast series through iTunes syndication.

tag(s): parents (56)

In the Classroom

Listen to this podcast before you make that first parent call-- or afterward to find out what you could do to make the next oe better! Get together with other newbie teachers for munchies and a beverage as you listen --and maybe talk about the ideas and your related experiences. Make it a ritual to beat the isolation and frustration of being a new teacher as you relax together twice monthly with Mike, Glen, and some in-person peers for the entire podcast series. You will find the collaboration really helpful in making teaching the career you had hoped it would be. You choose the location to listen, and the podcasts will help with the rest.

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Play Grow Read - Kent District Library

Grades
K to 2
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This library-prepared website is all about helping parents develop early literacy skills. Options include video demonstrations of how to read books to kids and many developmental activities...more
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This library-prepared website is all about helping parents develop early literacy skills. Options include video demonstrations of how to read books to kids and many developmental activities including things to do around the house, pre-reading activities, early reading skills information available in TWENTY-SEVEN languages, and many printable reading activities. Check out the Make and Take section: hands-on activities that help children develop the habit of using books. Activities include Activities for Print Motivation, Print Awareness, Phonological Awareness, Vocabulary, Narrative Skills, Letter Knowledge etc. These well-explained activities are fun and original. Many parts of the site are available in Spanish as well as English. Videos on this site require RealPlayer and Windows Media Player. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): literacy (103), preK (281)

In the Classroom

Share the printables and information about the website with parents at open house or conferences and include the link on your teacher web page. Spanish-speaking families will enjoy hearing about this site as well.

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103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading - Reading Rockets

Grades
K to 8
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This site has an (almost) endless supply of suggestions for what students, parents, and teachers can do to encourage more and more reading and literary involvement. Students participate...more
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This site has an (almost) endless supply of suggestions for what students, parents, and teachers can do to encourage more and more reading and literary involvement. Students participate in reading, dramatic, discussion, and artistic activities to reinforce their connection to the printed word and build comprehension in a very active way!

In the Classroom

Use this list as an idea generator for book report alternatives or even for lesson ideas. Share the link or some of the ideas on your tecaher web page for students to choose a book report product/project/performance. Print these suggestions out and share all or some of them with parents in a newsletter,at conference times, or before summer vacation. Give credit for your source, of course!

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Authors and Illustrators on the Web - Children's Literature Web Guide

Grades
K to 12
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Authors and Illustrators on the Web provides a large quantity of author and illustrator homepage links. Simply find the author/illustrator (listed in alphabetical order) and click...more
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Authors and Illustrators on the Web provides a large quantity of author and illustrator homepage links. Simply find the author/illustrator (listed in alphabetical order) and click on their homepage link. Watch out for the sites that are maintained by fans as opposed to authentic author/illustrator homepages. This is a great resource for Author Spotlight curricula.

tag(s): authors (120)

In the Classroom

Share this on your teacher web page for students doing book reports or research on authors. When your students have completed creative writing book projects, have them create a mock-up site about themselves as authors! they can use PowerPoint or create an offline web page, depending on the resources available in your school. If you use PowerPoint, be sure to set it on a computer running automaically for parents waiting at conference time. If you display the student books on a nearby table, parents can learn "about the authors"!

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Math Worksheet Generator - The Canadian Teacher

Grades
1 to 8
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Use this set of simple online tools to generate worksheets for everything from magic squares to converting fractions, decimals, and percents. You set the requirements for the worksheet,...more
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Use this set of simple online tools to generate worksheets for everything from magic squares to converting fractions, decimals, and percents. You set the requirements for the worksheet, add a title and directions, and the generator "makes" the sheet, ready for you to print and copy for classroom use. Topics include: premade sheets from Gr 1-4, flashcards, math bingo, metric conversion, multiplication charts, Least Common Multiple,Greatest Common Factor, Exponents, and more. Teachers from Gr 1 to pre-algebra can use this one!

In the Classroom

After you print the worksheet and before you close the page, be sure you click to generate the answer sheet! Share this link on your teacher web page for parents and students to make practice activities for at-home review. Be sure to include directions on your web page for what settings students should use (number of decimal places, for example).

Younger students will love "playing teacher" and making sheets at home for their parents or for each other at school. If they check the answers manually, they will practice, too! Suggest this idea to elementary parents at conferences and give your students some stickers to "correct" their parents work!

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Protect Your Child from Cyberbullying - PTA

Grades
3 to 12
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As if traditional bullying were not enough, we know have cyberbullying! This web page offers a great explanation and examples of cyberbullying. It also lists strategies by which to...more
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As if traditional bullying were not enough, we know have cyberbullying! This web page offers a great explanation and examples of cyberbullying. It also lists strategies by which to help children who are being cyberbullied. Do not forget to visit the link provided that helps to locate cyberbullies and their web pages.

tag(s): internet safety (109), safety (92)

In the Classroom

Include this link on your on classroom web page or share the information at conferences with parents. As an Internet safety activity, teach about the cyberbullying, then have students create pamphlets based on cyberbullying information to send home to parents. Or have them create posters to hang around school about cyberbullying, using terminology you teach from the web site.

Students will need you to present the information, since the site is directed toward parents, not students. Use scenarios such as those described in the article to spark discussion.

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Helping Your Child Series - US Department of Education

Grades
K to 8
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Encourage parents to become involved with their children's education using these helpful, downloadable booklets on helping your child with science, history, math, reading, homework,...more
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Encourage parents to become involved with their children's education using these helpful, downloadable booklets on helping your child with science, history, math, reading, homework, early adolescence, preschool, general success in school, and being a responsible citizen. Some are geared for elementary only and others extend through middle school. Most are also available in Spanish version. Download as a pdf (Acrobat file) or Word document. You can order copies, but it may be easier and faster to simply print your own. Remember that you need Acrobat Reader to open pdf files. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): adolescence (11), homework (44)

In the Classroom

Hand these booklets out at back to school night, open house, or conferences. Encourage parents to become involved supportively.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Tips for Parents of Third Graders - Reading Rockets

Grades
3 to 3
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Read the tips on this web page or download a single sheet of suggestions to make reading together fun and funny for parents and kids together, while encouraging the skills ...more
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Read the tips on this web page or download a single sheet of suggestions to make reading together fun and funny for parents and kids together, while encouraging the skills to make a lifelong reader. Teachers can download the tips for third grade in NINE languages in addition to English to print out and send home with your ESL/ELL students. Their parents will appreciate the opportunity to participate in their learning, and everyone wins. Printables require Acrobat Reader.

tag(s): literacy (103)

In the Classroom

As students approach their first high-stakes testing, every little bit helps. Give these tips out at conferences, in backpacks, or as a link on your teacher web page.
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Tips for Parents of Second Graders - Reading Rockets

Grades
2 to 2
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Read this web page or download a single sheet of suggestions to make reading together fun and funny for parents and kids together, while encouraging the skills to make a ...more
Here is the direct link to share this resource review. Feel free to copy and paste this URL into an email or place it on your web page or blog so others can read this TeachersFirst review:

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Read this web page or download a single sheet of suggestions to make reading together fun and funny for parents and kids together, while encouraging the skills to make a lifelong reader. Teachers can download the tips for th in NINE languages in addition to English to print out and send home with your ESL/ELL students. Their parents will appreciate the opportunity to participate in their learning, and everyone wins. Printables require Acrobat Reader.

In the Classroom

Bring in the parents to help prepare children for third grade reading testing by getting them involved. Send home the printable, give it out at conferences, and/or include the link on your teacher web page. Everyone will win!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Internet Safety Education Foundation

Grades
3 to 12
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This site has extensive resources on internet safety for adults and students alike. Visit the Xblock section where kids and teens can become "i-mentors," helping their peers and adults...more
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This site has extensive resources on internet safety for adults and students alike. Visit the Xblock section where kids and teens can become "i-mentors," helping their peers and adults to better understanding Internet safety or go to the iLearn section for tutorial modules for kids, parents, and even senior citizens. You have to join, but it is free. The site may be good for schools looking to develop rules and policies for safe classroom internet use. It also discusses some of the information sharing risks children should be aware of when using internet resources.

tag(s): safety (92)

In the Classroom

Share this resource with parents at open house or conferences. They will thank you for it!
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