Saturday, January 17, 2015

always amazed after these parent meetings!

This past Thursday, our third grade team held their second of three Academic Parent Teacher Team (APTT) meetings. Parents were invited to come in for a quick hour on Thursday to learn about what students are learning about at this point in the year.

Our Third Grade Team! :-)

APTT Meetings were created by Maria Paredes of my former district in Phoenix, Arizona. I had heard about them the year I left Phoenix, and then last year, tried them out with a kinder teacher here at my elementary school. For more of an explanatory description of the APTT meeting, please start here and then read here.

In our district, these kinds of meetings aren't required, and so they are just one more thing that the teachers who choose to do them have to plan for. That being said, once the parents get into the meetings and they begin, I'm always reminded, "Oh, so that's why we do this."

These meetings get all the parents together at one time. One big idea of these meetings is that parents will network with one another and build collaborative relationships to support each other. That couldn't have been more true in one of the meetings I sat in on - it was the classroom teacher and a room full of moms, sharing about how they are doing everything they possibly can, but the work still isn't transferring to the assessment the children are taking. This led to a great discussion about how all kids develop on different paths, and that if we just do what we know is best, we're doing the right thing.

In addition to the networking, the parents are given activities to support their children at home. At this time in the year, the third grade teachers want the kids to elaborate more, especially with higher-order thinking questions. So, they shared these two activities with them:

The first....Why?

Teachers are hoping that parents can have natural conversations about anything that a child might have an opinion on - so this activity of asking why is perfect to get them to elaborate on their opinions in a variety of ways.

The second activity was book reviews:

Third grade students write letters to their teachers each week about books, but teachers noticed that the students need to put more specific reasoning in to evaluate the text. So they shared this book review activity, plus a list of questions and a link where students can review books online. By sharing all of this with parents, they are much more likely to practice these activities at home!

With any APTT meeting, three things have to happen: sharing of class-wide data, goal-setting, and aligned activities. The third grade team hit them all and also shared about Standards Based Grading, which our district will be moving to in the coming months.

All of that, plus collaborative conversations with parents. Even in the cold weather, we had 8-10 parents in each of the three rooms! It was great!

If you are looking for a way to share more with parents, this method works so well. I mean, if you're not in education, does running record mean anything to you? Or Standards Based Grading? or the CCSS of RL3.4? All of this teacher jargon is shared with parents so they can be more informed of what we do each day with their children, and they can support us at home with specific strategies!

And I can't speak enough as to how much our parents appreciated what we planned and shared with them. I believe that many times parents want to be engaged with their child's education, but don't even know where to begin. These meetings share many things about education that parents are unaware of.

Anyone else out there holding APTT meetings? What do you do that is similar or different? Please leave a comment so we can keep the conversation going!

Just a reminder before I go: My "What I'm Loving" Linky will be up this coming Wednesday if you want to link up! Just get together a list of things you love and share with your readers!

That is all for today. Have a great 3 day weekend!


  1. These meetings sound like a great idea! I think I'd have a difficult time "selling" them to the rest of the staff in our building, but I think they could be so beneficial to our parents! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your weekend!

    A Very Curious Class

  2. Sounds like a math night that my fifth grade team used to be a part of. We always finished the night feeling so happy that we did it, even though it was more work!

    My Teacher Friend

  3. Our kindergarten team is doing something like this next week. I will share your ideas with them, too! Thanks!

  4. Great idea! I will pin it and maybe next year...


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