Miss Nina and I had goosebumps during your student-led conferences this week.  It was an honor to see the children supported and encouraged by incredibly loving families.  We hope you enjoyed this opportunity to see the children in their classroom environment.  In some ways, this space is their second home, so it is especially important to celebrate their achievements at school.  The children have made magnificent progress since the beginning of the year, and this is just the beginning of their learning lives.   Thank you!
On April 12 and 13, the elementary school will dismiss at 11:30 AM to provide time for Student-Led Conferences.  Sign-up sheets will be placed near the elementary entrance April 4 - 6.  After that, the sign-up sheet will be outside our classroom door.

Student-led conferences are an exciting opportunity for the children to take responsibility for their learning and to celebrate their progress.  They will do this by showing you various samples of their work and sharing some of our classroom routines.  In our class, the children will have a menu of stations to share with you during your conference time.  I have scheduled 40 minute blocks, so you will have ample time to enjoy each station. 

During the conference, please remember that this is a celebration of your child's growth and progress.   You might want to ask your child open-ended questions about their work like:
    -  What was your favorite part of this project?
    -  What are you most proud of in this subject?
     -  What has surprised you in your learning?

If you have lingering questions regarding your child's academic or social progress after the student-led conference, please contact me for an additional conference time.  I would be happy to meet with you. 
It was wonderful to see all of the parents for our Hopes & Dreams conferences this past week.  You demonstrate that education is a priority in your family.  The power of that message is amazing.  Thank you!

One question that recurred was:  How can we help our child at home?

Of course, we all know the value of staying in touch with our child's teacher and the activities in our child's class.  For you, this means - perhaps - checking your child's homework folder, confirming that your child has mastered our word wall words, and encouraging your child to read and write as much as possible.  Is there something more?

We know that children at this age need a lot of sleep.  They also need a lot of time for unstructured, imaginative play.  Our children learn so much from play - how to take turns, how to work together with a friend, and how to visualize their dreams, for example.

I invite you to consider your family routines that help your first grader develop a sense of independence.  Does your son tie his own shoes?  Does your daughter carry her own backpack?  These may seem like simple tasks, or as my dad would say, "no-brainers."  But I truly believe that a child who feels confident in her ability to take care of herself will transfer that confidence to new and challenging tasks at school.  Learning anything new is made easier if one approaches the challenge with confidence.

How do you help your first grader practice independence?  What are your memories of learning confidence as a child?