I just finished 1st quarter report cards and want to share a few tips to help make report cards less stressful for teachers. While all schools and districts have their own guidelines, I gathered information based on my experience.
Keep in mind that teachers should already have an existing relationship with parents or guardians. You should be communicating throughout the quarter about successes or challenges you are observing in and out of the classroom. Report cards should not be the first time a parent is made aware of any concerns.
-Update grade book throughout the quarter. I use Google Docs and have a tab for each subject.
-When to start completing report cards:
-Add grades throughout the quarter when a student meets a standard.
-Start a week before they are due. I completed 3-5 students a day. I gathered work samples and folder for each students so I had everything in one place.
-While you have each student's folder, use a post it note or GoogleDoc to write down bullet points of what to include in the personal narrative.
-We all know I like being organized. Along with this skill, teachers need to have appropriate documentation for each student. If anyone would question a grade, how would you respond? Observation is one way to learn about our students, but we need to show administrators or parents documentation to back up our claims.
-One tip I strong recommend is to have a parent communication log for each student. I typically record phone calls, requested conferences, or special circumstances.
PERSONAL NARRATIVE (COMMENTS):
-This is not a place to copy and paste the same comment for every student.
-Comments should be personalized. Yes, this is time consuming. Plan accordingly.
-When writing comments, they should be thorough. Discuss what the child is learning and how the parents can help at home.
Even though I believe in being positive, it is the teacher's responsibility to accurately portray how the student is performing. With 1st quarter report cards, remind yourself that this is a starting point and students will make progress throughout the year.