Page 31 - Alaksa Parent - Fall 2020
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   TECH CHECK. Whether your child is in an actual classroom or
a virtual one, not understanding how to use the technology or how to access available resources can frustrate any learner.
“Regardless of learning mode, make sure your kids know how
to use whatever technology they have available. Whether they
are accessing resources, keeping a calendar, engaging in virtual meetings or note-taking with their devices, kids may need some guidance,” Kristen says.
The process will also help you determine where assignments and grades are posted, how teachers are communicating with their students day to day, and how to tell if/when assignments are turned in.
TEACHER. Even if your child is learning remotely, teachers generally make themselves available to address student or parent questions and concerns.
“Our teachers have ‘office hours.’ They’ll have time during the day when they can read emails from parents and take phone calls,” says Michelle Fitzgerald, Ed.D., an assistant superintendent
of curriculum, instruction and professional development.
Younger children may not be able to articulate why they are struggling
in a particular subject or in general. Don’t wait until parent-teacher conferences to reach out for support and ideas.
“Communicate with the teacher to help understand why exactly the grade came out the way it came out,” she says.
Ask questions like:
• What specifically caused this grade to be low?
• Were assignments not turned in?
• Did my child not do well on assessments?
• Are they having trouble with the content?
Conversations with your child’s instructor can help you understand
what they’re seeing from their perspective. Oftentimes they can suggest ideas for helpful interventions.
“It’s not so much about ‘my child got an A, B, C, D or F.’ It’s about figuring out ‘who my child is as a learner,’ ” Michelle says.
When you have that information, you can work with the teacher to create strategies that support your child’s learning ability at school and at home.
For example, if your child
struggles to focus during testing
or assessments, ask the school if accommodations can be made for your student to test in an area with fewer distractions. At home, make sure your child is fueled with quality sleep, healthy food and time to focus on concepts where they need additional help.
ADVOCACY. Beginning from when they are young students, encourage your child to advocate for themselves in the classroom.
Tell them to “ask your teacher for more help, raise your hand
in class — and celebrate your accomplishments,” Michelle says.
As your child gets older, include them in parent-teacher conferences, which will empower them to take personal responsibility for their learning, monitor their progress and set future goals.
“If a plan needs to be created for moving forward, having the student, parent and teacher work together is best,” Kristen says.
BE PROACTIVE. Help your student enjoy a stronger second quarter by remaining aware of upcoming assessments, as well as ongoing assignment deadlines. Most teachers post grades in digital grade books. Check those periodically to stay on top of your child’s progress throughout the quarter.
“Watch them when they’re doing their homework to see if they’re struggling and then communicate with the teacher on a regular basis,” Michelle advises.
Try to connect with your child’s teacher before the conference to avoid surprises.
Approach the conference from a collaborative perspective.
Ask questions like:
• Does my child struggle with the content?
• How can we address poor test performance?
• What does their organization/time management look like?
• Does my child seem happy/sad/frustrated/ lonely?
• My child’s grades are good, but how I can support their continued growth?
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